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Old Saturday, March 08, 2014
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Default No discretions: only FPSC to appoint civil servants

No discretions: only FPSC to appoint civil servants

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has once again empowered the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) to make appointments to the Civil Service of Pakistan, stripping the president of Pakistan of this authority.
The Civil Service of Pakistan (Composition and Cadre) Rules 2014, issued through a statutory regulatory order (SRO), has virtually eliminated the generally misused element of discretion in making appointments or encadrement in the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), formerly known as District Management Group (DMG), and has made it the exclusive domain of the FPSC, so as to make the process free of any influence by any governmental or political authority. Previously, it was the authority of the president to make such appointments.
Even the induction of armed forces’ officers from Balochistan will now be made through the FPSC, in adherence to the practices of transparency and meritocracy.
The previously abused notorious Section 10 of the Civil Servants Act 1973 will now only be used for deputation, hence curtailing the malpractices conducted under its garb.
Under the SRO, 30 percent quota from the existing share of PAS has been allocated for the provincial services. This was historically done in case of ICS and CSP but was abandoned in 1973 which created a genuine grouse amongst the provincial cadres. A decision to reactivate induction of provincial officers in erstwhile DMG was made in September 1993, but it is only through this SRO that the decision has been operationalised. This 30 percent quota will be in addition to the share already available with the provincial services. Moreover, the encadrement will be done through the FPSC to nullify the chances of favouritism.
The SRO has provided the Provincial Management Service officers an opportunity to get inducted into the prestigious PAS. As per decision, the PMS officers will be encadred into the PAS at the level of Grade 19. Under the encadrement policy, 30 percent posts in the PAS cadre in Grade 19 will be filled by the PMS officers who, after encadrement, will become part of the PAS. The 30 percent seats reserved for the encadrement will be further divided among the provinces on the basis of population. Punjab will thus get 56% share of the quota.
The Provincial Selection Boards of the respective provinces will select officers for these inductions to maintain high standards of quality and will send the names to the FPSC which will conduct the examinations to adjudge capability of the candidates.
The decision is in line with Article 240 of the Constitution of Pakistan and Civil Service of Pakistan (Composition& Cadre Rules) 1954, which envisage an ‘All-Pakistan Service’ common to the federation and the provinces as well as comprising both the federal and the encadred officers from the provincial services. The new encadrement policy will brighten the career prospects of the PMS officers, as this induction will be in addition to their existing quota. The time span of promotion of PMS officers from Grade 17 to Grade 18 will also be reduced due to two-pronged vertical movement in Grade 19.
Experts believe that apart from ending wrangling between the PAS and the PMS groups, the decision will also strengthen the bonds of federation.
Ample quota has been given to all the service groups, especially Commerce and Trade Group, Military Lands and Cantonment, Railways, Customs, Income Tax, Information Group and Postal Group in the federal secretariat. These posts will be in addition to the service structure and their cadres already available with these services. Obviously, the promotions of these services will get rapid as compared to the current pace.
It is through this SRO that the number of secretaries belonging to PAS has been fixed, rather curtailed. Historically, number of DMG officers serving as secretaries has been oscillating between 85 percent to 95 percent and currently stays at 93 percent. Through this SRO, the share of PAS has been set at 65 percent. This has been done to make way for all other service groups and to reform federal secretariat as it was conceived to be.
The OMG, supposedly the feeding cadre of the Secretariat Group, which in fact it is not, is generally ranked 7th or 8th in the list of priorities filed by the CSS candidates. But within secretariat, they arrogate to themselves the role of controlling all other services.
The Police Service and Foreign Service are unaffected by this SRO. They will continue to be governed under their respective PSP and FSP Rules, which are intact and undisturbed by this SRO.
As far as promotions are concerned, the 17th Common of OMG is in BS-21 and officers of 10th Common of Information, Railways, Postal and Military Land have just reached BS-21. Through this SRO, the officers of other groups have been given a better chance to rise faster and contribute more.
Even the Secretariat Group is minimally affected by the SRO as now they can be promoted against posts of additional secretary in addition to their regular share of senior joint secretaries. This opportunity was not previously available. In the last CSB, officers of secretariat group were in fact promoted against the posts of additional secretaries.
It is through this SRO that for the first time in the history of civil services the members of groups with slow promotion prospects can validly hope for an opportunity to rise to the policy making level and contribute in making policies.
This was a long overdue to enhance the federal character of PAS like the Police Service. Provincial civil servants, who would be inducted through FPSC, have been given an added advantage and they will be liable to serve in the federation or their home province. Though belatedly, but very aptly, the government has ended the exclusivity of PAS (erstwhile DMG) to the benefit of provincial civil services.
He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow (Ecclesiastes 1:18)
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