Civil service setbacks

Call it one’s disinterest or the stringent rules and regulations, but not many seem to be swayed in setting foot in politics, especially civil servants.

The civil servants are dubbed as the cream of the nation, albeit for a good reason too. We have many capable heads of government agencies – the bureaucrats such as the secretaries, directors and et al. And while they are chosen amongst hundreds as the most deserving people, the least they want to do is get into politics.

The reasons are obvious too, and it’s all the stringent rules which they are chained with. It is never free and it wasn’t. It is foremost the hardest decision of having to relinquish a well secure job, a timely pay, trainings, workshops, other perks and incentives. But even if someone wants to, it would tantamount to slamming your door to all these benefits.

All said and done, we just can’t ignore that there are loopholes in the civil service rules and regulations. Why would a civil servant resign, deliberately knowing that he/she will never be able to join back? Such conditions are already stipulated in the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations 2010. How do we overcome this?civil service

Then there is the three-year cooling period a person affiliated with a political party must serve to vie for any civil service openings. This applies to the candidates too, meaning that a former civil servant after losing the elections cannot just go back and serve in the civil service.

And while how it would be taken up is a different issue, a political party outside the Parliament suggested last week that civil servants should be allowed to take leave to contest in apolitical offices like the National Council and Local Government elections. Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party president, Sonam Tobgay, says if they (civil servants) do not win the elections, they should be allowed to go back and serve as civil servants.

Stringent rules should be relaxed if it would only contribute in the creation of a more compact, small and efficient civil service. It’s only then that the bureaucracy can grow and the civil servants can grow too. It should have the best and the most capable candidates, and if need be allow those to join the civil service fraternity through open selections rather than reshuffling people within the same fraternity.

We are a young democracy. And a strong bureaucracy is an important component of it. Civil servants must be encouraged to play a good role in democracy. There must be congenial environment for them to join politics, and if need be allow them to join the civil service. Both ways, it will do good – for deepening democracy and bureaucracy as well.

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