Employees’ fate hangs in the balance as deadline looms


As the deadline of June 30 approaches for the devolution of all subjects that are a part of the concurrent list, the fate of thousands of employees working in subsidiaries of the devolved ministries hangs in the balance, with the implementation commission working hard to secure their future jobs. An official source told Pakistan Today that the commission had evolved a comprehensive strategy to deal with any hiccups in the devolution process, including the issue of adjustment of the employees who had been affected by the transfer of devolved ministries to the provinces.
“The Establishment Division is working on a bill to safeguard the future of those employees who have been disturbed because of the devolution process. The government will table the bill in parliament at the earliest,” said the source, adding that the provincial chief secretaries had also held a meeting with the implementation commission on Thursday to give final touches to matters regarding the devolution. The source said the implementation commission would hold its last meeting probably on June 23 to finalise its recommendations vis-à-vis the devolution plan, while the federal cabinet would have a special meeting to approve the commission’s recommendations on June 26 or 27.
“With the approval of cabinet, all the ministries on the concurrent list would be devolved while the commission would also be abolished on June 30. However, the commission would advise the government to form a special cabinet committee on devolution which would be the forum to sort out any issues arising about devolution in future,” added the source.
The source said around 30,000 employees would be affected in the third phase of the devolution and out of those, 20,000 who were already working in the provinces would continue working there. However, the source said, the fate of the remaining 10,000 employees was yet to be determined as they would be pushed into the surplus pool for the time being.
“Since the government has banned new recruitment, all the ministries have been conveyed to take the employees from the surplus pool if they seek NoC for new recruitment,” said the official, adding that the commission had recommended the government not to allow any ministry to recruit new employees till the adjustment of the surplus pool employees. The source said that all employees affected in the first and second phase of the devolution had already been adjusted either in the provinces or federal government departments, and no employee would be affected permanently.
Around 44,000 employees were affected in the second phase of the devolution as the Ministries of Education, Culture, Social Welfare and Special Education, and Tourism were devolved to the provinces.
“Out of the total, the strength of the Ministry of Education stood at 22,573, Ministry of Tourism at 1,022, Ministry of Culture at 1,581 and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education at 4,866 employees,” the source added.
Moreover, the source added, a total of 13,216 educational institutions having 1,463,554 students were working under the Ministry of Education in the Islamabad Capital Territory, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The number of employees in these institutions had risen to 79,744 teaching staff and 18,555 non-teaching staff, added the source.
In the first phase of the devolution plan, some 3,769 employees had been affected by the devolution of population welfare, special initiatives, zakat and ushr, youth affairs, and local government and rural development, which were adjusted by the provinces.
Establishment Secretary Abdur Rauf Chaudhry declined to comment on the fate of the remaining affected employees of the devolved ministries. “I am busy and I cannot share all this information with you at the moment. I don’t have this information all the time,” he told Pakistan Today, leaving a huge question mark on the fate of the employees of the ministries and attached departments devolved to the provinces.