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April 24, 2019

Plan out to wrap up 'superior services'

Top Story

April 24, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The government is working on a civil service reform aimed at eliminating the colonial concept of “superior services” in the country.

The proposal, which has been prepared by Dr Ishrat Hussain-led Task Force on Civil Service Reforms for cabinet consideration, will do away with the Central Superior Services, commonly known as CSS, system.

In a presentation made at a donors meeting in Islamabad last week by the government’s reforms body, it was said the concept of “Superior Services” is being replaced by equality among all cadres and non-cadres of public servants.

According to informed sources, the present CSS exam system would be changed in a manner that instead of one general examination for all cadres and services, the concept of specialised bureaucracy would be introduced.

Initially, four streams or clusters would be introduced to ensure that the candidates with specialised qualification join the specialised streams.

The proposal finalised by the Task Force for cabinet’s consideration suggests revised induction process for the entry level for civil service to test analytical ability, domain specific knowledge and aptitude of candidates.

The proposed recruitment system will have four stages. Stage 1 would be the Screening Test; cluster based specialized recruitment will be done at Stage 2; Stage 3 to involve psychometric evaluation, and; in Stage 4 – interviews of the candidates who qualify Stages 1-3 will be done for final selection. It is said that the civil reforms’ agenda of the present government is based on the following principles:

Open, transparent, merit-based recruitment at all levels; performance–based career progression for all public sector employees; equality of opportunities for career advancement to all employees; replacement of the concept of Superior Services by equality among all cadres and non-cadres of public servants; grant of living wage and compensation package including decent retirement benefits to all civil servants, and; strict observance of security of tenure of office for a specified period of time.

On the recommendation of Dr Ishrat-led Task Force on Civil Service Reforms, the cabinet has already approved six reforms cases that include; 1) Security of tenure of civil servants. The tenure will be two years extendable to three years with six-month performance review period.

2) Appointment process for the postings of Federal Secretaries through Selection Committee comprising Ministers and Secretaries to be chaired by Adviser on Establishment. 3) Selection Process of CEOs for key public sector enterprises. These appointments will be made through open and transparent process by involving selection committees formed to propose a panel for the appointment of heads of PSEs. The Selection Committees toconsist of Minister in charge, Secretary, one to three experts with domain knowledge. 4) Secretaries Committee activated for inter ministerial coordination, resolving issues between different ministries, deliberating upon important policy matters and making recommendations to the Cabinet. 5) Appointment of Technical Advisors to the Ministers. Fifteen Ministers to have Technical Advisors for assistance in technical decision making. 6) Roadmap for implementation of E-governance by connecting all Federal Ministries through LAN (local area network), updated and responsive websites, shifting federal government communication on one domain (gov.pk), end-to-end secure E-filing system for paperless government, making the Digital Transformation Committee (DTC) effective by holding regular meetings and strengthening of the National Information Technology Board (NITB).

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