Pakistan

Govt announces major civil service reforms aimed at improving governance

civil service reforms

Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training has announced major reforms to the Civil Service of Pakistan in order to improve the system of governance and create ease for the nation. 

On Wednesday, while addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the head of the Cabinet Committee on Institutional Reforms, Shafqat Mahmood unveiled major reforms to the Civil Service of Pakistan. While addressing he said, many factors can improve the system of governance but “one very important part is reform of civil services.”

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had a “personal interest” in the reforms and contributed to them along with the help of his office. He added that there were six parts to the civil service reforms which were decided upon yesterday.  

Read more: Major reshuffle of civil officers, secretaries by Punjab government

He outlined reforms in the following major areas: 

  • Civil Servants Promotion (BS-18 to BS-21) Rules, 2019 
  • Civil Servants (Directory Retirement from Service) Rules, 2020 
  • Efficiency and Discipline Rules, 2020 
  • Revised MP Scale Policy, 2020 
  • Rotation Policy, 2020 
  • Rationalization of cadre strength — induction in PAS 

The Minister said a major problem in promotions in the civil service was confusion about who held the authority to promote and that “on many aspects, there wasn’t clarity on who was the appointing authority.”

He said that there would no longer be confusion and ambiguity about who could promote employees as “For the first time, the appointing authorities have been categorically defined.”  

Moreover, promotion boards will be allowed to consider the promotions of those officers who hadn’t been promoted due to pending cases against them for three or more years. 

The minister then highlighted an issue of promoting government officers was that of a “tradition that everyone gets a good [evaluation] report. So it becomes difficult to evaluate [employees].”

To rectify this problem, Mahmood stated that the weightage for different aspects of a promotion appraisal would be changed with the civil service reforms. 

  • Annual performance reports to have 40 percent weightage 
  • Training reports of officers to have 30 percent weightage 
  • Interview of the evaluation board to have 30 percent weightage 

According to the federal minister, the chairman of the Federal Public Service Commission would have the authority to direct retirements for grades BS-20 and above, the secretary for grades BS-17 to BS-19 and the senior joint secretary for grades BS-16 and below. 

Mahmood further said that according to an observation, in the civil services, once people got hired in government jobs, they spent their whole lives in them whether they worked or not and “there are many people who don’t work.” 

The policy he outlined for such individuals is that grounds for their retirement will be possible in the following cases: 

  • Three annual reports of average or below-average performance 
  • Officers who reach grade BS-21 but are passed over for promotion three times by the promotion board and not found worthwhile for promotion 
  • Officers who claim plea bargain and voluntarily return money in corruption references against them 
  • Deficiency and weakness of character 

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