Rs 132 billion just for civil servant salaries and allowances this fiscal year
KATHMANDU, Aug 3: After almost all the ministries, departments, commissions and courts of law started demanding additional perks and incentives for their civil servants apart from the salaries, the government has started working on clear criteria as to which government bodies need additional perks and incentives and which do not.
As of now, civil servants working at the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs, the Ministry of General Administration and bodies under these entities have been enjoying allowances equivalent to as much as 100 percent of their salaries on a blanket basis. Administration experts have been saying that such allowances should only be provided to civil servants at the service delivery bodies that deal directly with the public and only on the basis of their performance and work load.
Likewise, around 280 civil servants at the Parliament Secretariat are getting allowances equivalent to 80 percent of their salaries. Staff at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the President's Office and the Vice President's office have also been getting allowances of up to 100 percent of salary.
According to an OPMCM source, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has demanded allowances for its staff equal to100 percent of their salaries. The government is yet to decide on their demand.
Last year, civil servants had refused to work at the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) until the government provided them with handsome perks and incentives. Later on, the government was compelled to provide allowances equal to 50 percent of their salaries. Over 200 civil servants are currently working at NRA.
Similarly, VDC secretaries in the 11 quake-affected districts had refused to cooperate in the quake grant distribution process until they were given additional allowances, apart from salary. The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development later decided to announce incentives of up to 50 percent of salary to the VDC secretaries.
"Almost all the ministries, departments, commissions and courts of law have been demanding perks and facilities even though these bodies do not have a commensurate work load or any other good reason to justify the allowances. The demand for perks and incentives by civil servants at all the government bodies is intended only to further milk the state coffers," said Secretary at the Ministry of General Administration (MoGA) Tanka Mani Sharma.
He also said that the trend of providing perks and incentives to civil servants at top-tier state organs is already placing a huge financial burden on state coffers. "And now all other bodies are also demanding perks and incentives for no good reason. The government cannot afford blanket perks and incentives for all the government bodies. So, we are working on a clear policy to stem the rot," said Secretary Sharma.
Chairman of the High-Level Administration Reform Monitoring Committee Kashi Raj Dahal criticized the government's practice of providing allowances of up to 100 percent of salary to civil servants at top-tier government organs and the bodies under them. "Our committee has been asking the government to stop the trend of providing allowances on blanket basis. The government should provide the allowances against certain criteria such as working hours, work load, work station (remoteness) and performance," he added.
He said that the government should provide such allowances not to civil servants at top-tier state organs but to those working at service-delivery entities that deal directly with the public. "The allowances are not for any particular organization but for civil servants who work for more than the number of hours set by the government," he added.
Last fiscal year, the government spent Rs 104 billion for the salaries and allowances of civil servants. And in the current fiscal year, the government has allocated Rs 132 billion under this head, which is 12 percent of the total national budget.