Govt stalls bill after strong PSC objection

Published On: January 3, 2019 09:16 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, Jan 3: The government has stalled the registration of a Public Service Commission (PSC) Amendment Bill at the parliament at the eleventh hour following serious objections from the constitutional body. The PSC said the proposed amendment will seriously undermine its autonomy.

Although the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had taken a draft bill to parliament for registration nearly a week ago, PMO officials asked the parliament secretariat not to register the bill after strong reservations by the PSC.

The PSC has expressed its discontent in writing to the PMO, which works as line ministry of the constitutional bodies. “We have informed the PMO in writing about the PSC’s discontent over the bill. 

The bill aims to curtail the administrative and financial autonomy of the PSC and such thing had not happened even during the Panchayat era,” PSC Chairperson Umesh Prasad Mainali told Republica. 

“Endorsement of the proposed amendment will severely affect the impartiality and accountability of the commission.”

The amendment if passed will allow the government to transfer PSC staffers as and when needed without seeking approval from the commission. But as per the existing law, the government needs prior consent of the PSC for transferring PSC staffers.

“If the proposed amendment is endorsed, the government can transfer PSC staffers working in sensitive areas such as the question-making process without seeking consent from the PSC. This will affect the PSC work and compromise on the confidentiality,” Mainali added.

If the government is given free hand on PSC staff transfers then things at the PSC will go out of hand because the staffers will be more accountable toward the government instead of the commission, said a member of the commission.

Similarly, the amendment will also curtail the PSC’s privilege to spend the annual budget independently. If the amendment is passed, the PSC will need prior approval from the Ministry of Finance to spend the budget.

According to the PSC, it has on its roster over 26,000 experts who can be hired for different purposes as and when needed and the new amendment will hamper the appointment process. Also, the process of fixing examination halls and making payments will be affected, according to PSC officials. The amendment bill also proposes stopping additional perks and benefits to PSC staffers and payment for working extra hours.

The amendment bill will also disallow the PSC from rewarding its best staffers.

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