Civil service reforms in limbo as govt fails to implement proposals


ISLAMABAD: The incumbent government has failed to implement the Civil Services Reforms’ proposals despite the passage of four and a half years.

A senior official of Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms told Pakistan Today that there is no substantial progress on the civil service reforms proposals from last one year.

“We briefed the former premier Nawaz Sharif on this matter. Subsequently, the cabinet gave the approval to extend the age limit to appear in CSS exam from 28 to 30 years and education qualification had also been increased from 14 years to 16 years,” he said and added that after that, no development has been witnessed yet.

He further added that Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz was also briefed on the matter but silence is prevailing everywhere.

The ministry had proposed to make certain changes including improvement of the compensation packages of federal employees, Executive Learning Management Course (ELMC) for 1,000 civil service officers, modernisation of curriculum according to contemporary needs, and autonomy for Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) and Provincial Public Service Commissions (PPSCs).

In addition to this, the documents stated that the reforms talked about Mandatory Training Reform (MTR), Office Management and Performance Training (OMPT) of 5,000 employees ranging from grade 1 to 16, and civil service training policy. The reforms also proposed the transformation of establishment division into Human Resource Management and Organisation Development Division (HRM&OD).

“The incumbent Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi did not take any briefing yet as we have been asked to prepare a briefing on this topic again,” the official added.

Officials further said that the Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS) officers, previously known as DMG officers, sitting in Prime Minister’s Secretariat, are creating hurdles for implementation of the reforms. They do not want to change the name of Establishment Division and the system of promotions.

The manifesto of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) for 2013 elections talked about the civil service reforms and depicted that the government will promote a merit-based system at all levels. In addition, the manifesto also mentioned that “we will harness new technologies for efficiency and effectiveness by deepening e-governance with a focus on leveraging Information and Communication Technology (ICT).”

It is worth mentioning here that the acting Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal on various occasions stated that the government wants to bring reforms to civil services but no practical steps have been made in this regard.

Planning and Development Division Secretary Shoaib Siddique while talking to Pakistan Today said that the ministry is preparing comprehensive proposals pertaining to the reforms in civil service. “We will give a briefing to prime minister once work is completed on it,” he added.