Governance Reform in Political Transition: The Case of Nepal’s Civil Service Reform

The democratic movements of 1990 and 2006 brought significant changes in political system in Nepal. Now, the civil service has to work in new political system embedded with many values which are not so much accustomed to the prevailed bureaucratic culture. Constituting Administrative Reform Commission (ARC) in 1992, agenda of National Development Forum in 2002, and the ADB’s Governance Reform Program Support in 2000/2007 were some of the major efforts to streamline administrative system in line with the sprit and mandate of political changes in Nepal. But there are challenges ahead in undertaking governance reform agenda for the improvement of the efficiency of civil service and for reducing corruption by enhancing the competence and motivation of the civil service in the governance matters. Despite expectations from the changes, the transition witnessed painful political turbulence emanating from inter-party conflict and intra-party feuds which has been reflective in the administrative efficiency. Frequent changes in the government and the political instability have been consequential on the reform endeavors. As a result, the administration could not nurture the democratic administrative culture to overcome the existing governance issues and the task of transforming the civil service from a non responsive to a responsive one is, therefore, in stake.
Main Article: 

1. Introduction

Nepal has undergone two popular uprisings within a short span of sixteen years. The first popular movement of 1990 overthrew the King-led undemocratic Panchayat System and reinstated parliamentary democracy, which had been abrogated by the King in 1960. The second movement of 2006 caused the end of the kingship, the unitary system of government and the parliamentary constitution of 1990. The period in between the two popular movements is marked by political instability and turbulences erupted apparently due to inter-party conflict, intra-party feuds and the insurgency (people’s war) launched by the Nepal Communist Party–Maoist (NCP-M). This resulted in a painful and prolonged political transition—actual and perceived.

Usually, transition is an opportunity to reform. So, after regaining democracy in 1990, successive governments had taken various governance reform measures. This paper describes the civil service reforms, and assesses the major component of the governance reform agenda in Nepal.

The paper begins with highlighting the nature of political transition. Then, it identifies the conceptual framework of Nepalese civil service reform. This is followed by a brief description of reform initiatives and their implementation.

2. Nature of Political Transition

Prior to 1990, Nepal was never governed under a democratic regime; the period between 1959-60 was an exception. During this short period, popularly elected representatives had governed the country under a constitution, which was patterned after the West Minister model. However, in 1960, the then king through an army coup abrogated the parliamentary system, imprisoned the first elected prime minister, ministers, the law makers and a large number of politicians of the first ever elected government. The king imposed a political system called Panchayat system that banned the political parties and deprived the people of their democratic rights. The Panchayat system did not accept any leader except the king himself. Prominent leaders of the formally banned political parties, particularly those belonging to Nepali Congress, a liberal democratic party, whose elected government was dethroned from power, and the communist parties went on launching various forms of movements (violent and non-violent) for the restoration of democracy. But, the movement was never a united one until 1990.

In 1990, the Nepali Congress called for a non-violent movement to reinstate democratic governance. The communist forces also came together and the movement turned into a joint struggle. The popular uprising received support from all segments of the Nepalese society. This compelled the king to reach an agreement on the minimum demands of the political leaders. e.g. restoration of the multi-party democratic polity, dismissal of the Panchayat system, and formation of a caretaker government. Thus, a government comprised representatives of the revolutionary political forces along with the king’s nominees was formed. K.P Bhattarai, a senior leader of Nepali Congress, headed this government. The government was entrusted with the responsibility of making arrangements for drafting a democratic constitution and to conduct the general elections.

The interim (caretaker) government completed its task of bringing out a new Constitution based on West Minister Parliamentary model, managed the general elections in 14 months and handed over the power to a single party majority government of Nepali Congress (NC). G.P.Koirala headed the government. Despite its comfortable majority in the Parliament, owing to intra-party power struggle in the ruling party, the country was faced with a mid-term poll in November 1994.

The mid-term election led to a hung parliament, making the opposing Nepal Communist Party- United Marxist Leninist (UML) as the single largest party. The Nepali Congress (NC), which was the ruling party earlier, was trimmed to become the second largest party and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), which mainly comprised the cadres and leaders of the erstwhile Panchayat system obtained sizable seats with the strength to tilt the balance in the Parliament. Failing to work out a coalition, the UML formed a minority government, which faced the same fate in its nine months tenure. After six months, the opposition parties made attempts to bring down the communist government by calling for a special session of the Parliament to table a no-confidence motion. The King had declared the mid-term elections as per the recommendation of the prime minister. However, on the plea of the opposition parties, the Supreme Court reinstated the Parliament in September 1995 and the no-confidence motion was passed in the Parliament resulting in the Communist government falling, and the formation of a three-party coalition. The coalition was led by Nepali Congress (SB Deuba), but it comprised stalwarts of the king-led Panchayat regime- the leaders of RPP, and Nepal Sadvabana Party (NSP), a Terai based regional party.

Following the formation of this coalition government, the political scenario went on changing dramatically with permutations and combinations within and between the political parties. This led to the formation of yet another coalition. This time the government was led by a RPP leader (LB Chand), who was the last prime minister during the king-led regime. The UML and the NSP were the partners of the coalition. Very soon, this government was toppled. Again another Panchayat stalwart (SB Thapa), who had been the prime minister many times during the Panchayat days, was successful to become the PM of a democratic era, with the support of NC. This coalition also did not last much. It was succeeded by yet another coalition headed by GP Koirala of NC. This time the partner of the coalition had been a partner of the popular movement - a breakaway faction of the UML (led by BD Gautam). This coalition also did not last long, and another coalition came into power. This time the mainstream of the UML extended its support to a NC led coalition.

It was during the second parliament that the country witnessed shifting coalitions, frequent motions of no-confidence, intra-party factional splits and alliances, and the use of money and other unsavory methods to win parliamentary votes…Open horse-trading and defections became part of the parliamentary behaviour …such a parliamentary equation had a direct bearing upon governance. (Mahat: 2005:154) The Maoist insurgency to do away with the parliamentary system, the kingship and all other feudal institutions and practices also came into operation during this period.

In May 1999, the third parliamentary election was held. It brought the Nepali Congress back to power with a simple majority. There was hope that since the parliament was not a hung one, the political turbulence and the dirty game of horse-trading would not be repeated. K P Bhattarai, who had headed the caretaker government during 1990-91, became the PM. However, after nine months he was forced to resign to pave the way for another leader of the same party and the former PM, GP Koirala to occupy the post of PM again. But political events took a different turn. The reasons are many.

Firstly, growing rivalry among the mainstream parties, intra-party conflict, and continuation of rampant corruption, making and breaking of governments led to political instability. This kind of political environment helped the CPN-M intensify the insurgency, which in turn caused deterioration of the law and order situation and service delivery in the rural areas.

Secondly, on June 1, 2001 the whole family and many other close relatives of the then King Birendra were massacred inside the Royal Palace. His brother Gyanendera became the new king. He began to search for an active role in state affairs.

Thirdly, the hostility between parliamentary political parties went on increasing and reached its climax. The main opposition party UML started demanding the resignation of PM Koirala over his alleged involvement in a corruption case regarding the purchase of Laura’s aircraft by the Nepal’s flag carrier. To exert pressure in support of its demand, the opposition went on using physical force to obstruct the proceeding of the parliament for fifty-seven scheduled sessions.

Fourthly, the army did not obey the PM’s order to counter attack the Maoist insurgent. Such order was given following the massive attack by the Maoists at Hollery- a remote area in Mid-Western Nepal. It is widely believed that the King influenced the army’s non-compliance. So, PM Koirla resigned from his post.

Fifthly, when SB Deuba became the PM, the Maoists suddenly declared a cease-fire. They also sat together with the government for a peaceful negotiation. But, the two parties could not reach an agreement over the major issues which included replacing the constitution of 1991 by a new one and for holding the election of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution

The Maoists further intensified their armed struggle. The government declared a state of emergency in November 2001 and mobilized the army. As required by the constitution, the parliament endorsed this decision. As the situation did not improve in six months, the government once again sought the parliament’s consent to extend the emergency. The opposition parties declined to support this move. The ruling party instructed the PM to withdraw the extension motion. The PM disobeying his party’s instruction asked the king to dissolve the House of Representatives and call for a fresh election. The king did so. Nepali Congress-the ruling party-suspended the PM from the party’s primary membership as an action against his indiscipline. This led to the split of the NC into two parties.

Election to the parliament could not be held in the stipulated time. The deteriorating law and order situation owing to the Maoist insurgency was the main cause for it. This provided a pretext to the king to materialize his ambition to grab power. On October 4, 2002, the king surprisingly sacked the PM charging him to be ‘incompetent’ as he could not hold the elections. The king began to ignore the role of the major political parties. Taking advantage of the inter- and intra- party conflicts, he started making and breaking governments. From October 2002 to October 2004, three caretaker governments were changed. In February 2005, the king imposed direct rule and seized all powers with the army’s support. He tried to justify his step by saying it was necessary due to the ground reality –mainly the failure of successive governments to contain the ever-expanding terrorists, and to maintain law and order and save the country from the danger of turning into a failed state. He imposed a state of emergency, scrapped democratic rights, imprisoned many political leaders and constituted a council of ministers under his own chairmanship. It is interesting to note that the prominent members of his hand-picked ministry were those who had helped his father in 1960 to scrap parliamentary democracy. At this juncture, on September 3, 2005, the CPN-M declared a unilateral truce. But, the King did not reciprocate.

The parliamentary political forces once again came together against the despotic rule of the king. Annoyed by the king’s non-response to their unilateral ceasefire the Maoists signed a12-point MOU with the seven parliamentary party alliances (SPA). The understanding among the parties resulted in the declaration of the joint popular movement. In April 2006, hundreds of thousands people from all walks of life spontaneously came out on the streets for nineteen successive days despite the government's suppressive actions. The civil society, professionals including civil servants and the international community also extended full support.

The people’s power compelled the king to bow down. He handed the power back by reinstating parliament, which was dissolved by him two years ago. He also accepted publicly that people are sovereign and source of all power. Following this, a seven-party coalition government was formed with GP Koirala of Nepali Congress as the prime minister. The reinstated parliament stripped the king of all kinds of role.

Following this agreement, the SPA and the Maoists reached to an agreement on a interim constitution, which has already been amended five times by now.

As per the promise made in the interim constitution, the election for the constituent assembly was held in April 2008. In this election, the CPN-M secured 230 seats out of 601 and hence is 71 seats short of an absolute majority. The Nepali Congress got 118 and the UML has third position with 108 seats. The fourth and fifth places are occupied by two regional parties of the Terai Madheshi Forum and Terai-Madhesh Loktantrik Party.

3. The Conceptual Framework of Reform

With the regaining of democracy after thirty years in 1990, the civil service had to serve the new political system that had many values contrary to the bureaucratic culture they were accustomed to. The civil service was developed in a system that believed in active role of the King making the Palace as the nerve center of political and administrative system. Now, the civil service was required to serve a system that emphasized the rule of law, the people’s sovereignty, human rights, multi-party parliamentary system e.g. competitive politics and constitutional monarchy as cardinal virtues of the system. This called for a drastic change in the governance ideas relating to civil service management.

To suggest changes in the administrative system in congruence with the new governance ideas, an Administrative Reform Commission (ARC) headed by the Prime Minister was constituted in 1992. The ODA/UK, UNDP and ILO had provided services of advisors to the Commission. In its recommendations, the ARC pointed out the need to make the civil service accountable, transparent, result-oriented, efficient, downsized, highly motivated and free from the disease of corruption. It had proposed more than 100 recommendations to overcome the problems facing the civil service. The key recommendations, immensely interrelated, are as follows:

(i) Redefine Government’s own role so that it can gradually confine itself chiefly to promotional and motivational activities; (ii) Downsize the civil service and inject the culture of competition by transferring many of the service delivery functions hitherto carried out by government through the civil service or public enterprises to non-governmental organizations (NGO), community organizations, private sector, and cooperatives; (iii) Take measures such as: contracting out, lease out, gradual deregulation and disinvestments (privatization).;(iv)Improve efficiency of the civil service so that it can facilitate, monitor, regulate and enable the non-governmental sectors to deliver services efficiently; (v) Make civil service more capable /efficient and effective to carry on activities which are required to be performed by the government itself; (vi) Ensure job security; and (vii) infuse new blood in the higher civil service through open competitive examinations (through lateral entry).

The ARC 1992 had also prepared an implementation plan, which had stipulated the time frame and the organization' responsible for undertaking various reform activities and also suggested constituting a high level Administrative Reform Monitoring Commission (ARMC), directly under the Prime Minister for a term of three years.

The Ninth Plan (1997-2002) and the Priority Reform Program presented at the National Development Forum held in Paris in 2002 identified civil service reform along with gender equity as the key priority area. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) responded to it by accepting to provide program loan of 30 million dollars in the name of The Governance Reform Program. This project, implemented from 31st December 2001 to 15th June 2007, was a package of many inter-related activities – interventions and changes that were believed to contribute towards high economic growth and poverty reduction. The key reform agenda were: ( i) developing an internal capacity within the government to led and undertake the governance reform agenda; (ii) improving the efficiency of the civil service; (iii) improving governance and reducing corruption in the government; (iv) enhancing the competence and motivation of the civil servants; and (v) establishing the process for improving performance in key ministries.

The reform interventions proposed under GRP has many features similar to ARC's recommendations. However, it was also in favor of gender sensitive civil service. In fact, gender sensitive civil service was a major agenda of Mainstreaming Gender Equity Program (MGEP) of the government, which was launched under the UNDP’s financial support. Thus, GRP interventions along with MGEP intended to infuse elements supporting the concepts of New Public Administration (NPA), Responsive Governance and Representative Bureaucracy. The new public administration movement emphasizes equity and social justice. It seeks to change those policies and structure that systematically inhibit social equity and, hence, it is supportive to gender equity.

From the above description it can be safely said that the conceptual framework of the civil service reform was an amalgam of certain features of the NPM, the NPA, representative bureaucracy and the responsive governance.

4. Key Reform Activities and their Implementation

4.1 Capacity Building to Lead Reform Management

Institutional capacity for the management and coordinate of change initiatives are very important for successful reform. In Nepal, the Ministry of General Administration- a central ministry is responsible to lead, enhance, coordinate and implement civil service reform. MOGA was therefore made the implementing agency. Moreover, as recommended by the ARC an Administrative Reform Monitoring Commission directly in the Prime Minister’s office was created in October 1992 and was assigned the role to oversee and monitor the implementation of the reform proposal.

ARC was constituted at a time when a UN support project "Strengthening Institutional Capacity Building of the Ministry of General Administration" was in operation. Its major thrust was to strengthen the institutional capacity of MoGA. This project got fully involved in the work of the ARC also.

The UNDP supported a new project "Assistance to the Ministry of General Administration and the Administration Reform Monitoring Committee for the Implementation of Administration Reform". It began building the database of civil servants, and made a good beginning in preparing job description of employees, apart from providing training to selected personnel in MoGA. Likewise, it also provided assistance to ARCM to undertake its responsibilities.

The G.R.P. introduced under the ADB (2001-07) also envisaged a coordinating body i.e. Governance Reform Coordination Unit (GRCU) within the Ministry of General Administration (MoGA). The GRCU was headed by a Joint Secretary of MoGA, who was required to report to the Secretary of his ministry. With a view to develop the ownership of reform the GRP extend the reform management and capacity building functions beyond MoGA. Accordingly, an Efficiency Unit in Ministry of Finance (MoF) and Change Units were created in the ministries e.g. health, education and agriculture. These Change Units were viewed as lead organizations because they were given the task to make necessary arrangement for implementing the Performance Based Management System on a pilot basis. So, they were called Pilot Minister. The GRCU was comprised of the representatives of change units and efficiency units.

The G.R.P document had expected deputation of full time officers for the change management units, well-defined roles and measurable targets to the possible extent. The willingness of these staff members to work for change was also emphasized. Moreover, they were expected to be visible by publishing their targets and activities within and outside the organization.

The creation of these reform management units in different ministries had the intention to inculcate a sense of ownership of reform among the civil servants. It has, however, shown that more than one-third of the civil servants working in the piloting ministries and the MoGA were found unaware of the formation of such units in their organizations. Those who were aware also complained about the non-transparency in the functioning of these units. ( Tiwari, 2004:8). Further enquiry revealed a general impression that since the G.R.P was a donor-assisted project, aiming at bringing transparency in the operation of the civil service, they had expected these units to inform about these activities as well as budget. But such was never done. Those working with the units had their own grievances. According to them, there was paucity of budget to undertake the activities of these units. Moreover, no incentive was attached to the additional job.

 No full time officer was deputed to these units, as promised. The formal requirement was made only in paper-just to satisfy (eye wash). Neither the authority nor the responsibility of these units was clearly laid down. No extra incentive was given except for the opportunity to undertake a few foreign visits, and meetings, orientations and seminars often at hotels. The big amount of money was, however, spent in hiring the services of expensive consultants. This led to negative motivation on the part of the regular officials.

4.2 Rightsizing the Bureaucracy

The ARMC, immediately after its formation in 1992, constituted different task forces to study work loads of various government organizations. When this process was in full swing government dismissed a large number of civil servants abruptly without mentioning any charge.

4.2.1. Direct Measures for Downsizing the Civil Service

Reduction of retirement age: The Civil Service Act (CSA) of 1993, which replaced the old Civil Service Act of 1956, reduced the compulsory retirement age from 60 to 58 years. It also incorporated the provision to make retirement mandatory after 30 years of service. When the new Act was implemented more than 3,000 civil servants including the then Chief Secretary and many secretaries were separated from service. Thus, at one stroke the size of civil service was reduced by about three percent. But, civil servants showed their dissatisfaction to the provision of contract and also the two retirement outlets i.e. 58 years of age or 30 years of service. The reason for the dissatisfaction for the first one was that it blocked the promotion opportunity of the younger generation. They were dissatisfied with the second one because benefits after retirement were negligible.

Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme (VERS): The Government’s policy to right size the civil service, however, did not change. When the G.R.P (2001-07) was implemented, it once again gave top priority to reduce the size of the civil service. So, the period for voluntary retirement was extended. In 2001, the government invited applications for Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme (VERS). The target was to give retirement to 10,000 employees, (mainly the classless and clerical staffs) within three years and eliminate positions of those so retired. Again, the response was very poor. Only about 2300 took voluntary retirement.

Therefore, in September 2002 the government eliminated 7,350 positions lying vacant, took the decision to freeze appointment of non-gazetted (class iii and iv), which was implemented from May 2003 onwards. It is interesting to note that though the positions were frozen, the position holders are still working. These employees are termed as Fazil Ko karmachari (employees belonging to redundant positions)

Contract out: The cabinet approved a service contract directive in January 2003 this had allowed a number of services such as security, maintenance, mail delivery transportation, survey, veterinary , design etc. to be contracted out. The cases of contracting out of these services particularly security, maintenance and photocopy is gradually increasing but detailed information is not available.

Lease out: As a means for decreasing the government’s size, and thereby, increasing efficiency the ARC 1991 had suggested leasing out horticulture farms and other activities. As per this suggestion, in 1992/93 the government leased out to private contractors four horticulture farms and two sheep farms situated in different parts of the country e.g. mountains, hills and the Terai. The lease was for a period of 10 years.

Information furnished by the concerned officials revealed that the failure of the lease-out scheme was caused due to two major factors. Firstly, the conditions set for the lease-out did not allow any flexibility for the lessee to manage in a flexible way. The centripetal attitude of the bureaucracy was found mainly responsible for such impractical arrangement. Secondly, the private sector was also not competent enough to understand the consequences of the conditions set by the civil servant.

4.2.2 Indirect Measures for Downsizing:

Liberalization: In response to ARC’s recommendation, the government has gradually taken measures such as delicensing, import export liberalization and deregulation. The process of full convertibility was also introduced. Restrictions on direct foreign investment had been waived out. Some selected sensitive industries being exceptions. Open and general licensing has also been introduced in the trade sector.

The positive impact of the open and liberal policy of the government is evident from the rise in private sector investment in various sectors. In this regard, air services, banking and financial institution provides glaring example of positive impact.

 Privatization: The government took a phase-wise approach for privatizing public enterprises. The method to be adopted for transferring the public enterprises to private sector are: (a) sale of shares of the enterprises; (b) formation of cooperatives; (c) sale of the assets of the enterprises; (d) leasing out of the assets of the enterprises; (e) involving private sector in the management of enterprises; and (f) any other modalities considered appropriate by government. The first elected government of Nepali Congress had promised to privatize all 79 public enterprises. But there was (still is) lack of consensus not only among the different political parties but also among the leaders of the same party. The CPN (UML) formed a minority government for a short period after the mid-term poll of 1994. It was also a partner in various coalition government formed afterwards. Its policy statement said that corporations with sensitive social roles and operating in profit need not be privatized at all. It is widely held that many public enterprises have been sold out at a throw away price, while on the others, the process of the sale are not properly utilized. (The Rising Nepal: Oct 26, 1998). So, there was a speed break. Owing to such phenomena, out of the 79 public enterprises only 30 have been privatized by 2008.

NGO participation: The government has been taking various policy measures to facilitate entry and growth of non-governmental organizations for delivery of goods and services in areas and sectors where they could contribute more effectively with their expertise, comparative advantage and track record. Due to this there have been tremendous growths in the size of NGO. It is estimated that at present there are about sixty thousands NGO’s in Nepal. Since 1990 NGO has developed as a prominent force with considerable influence on government policy making. (ESP: 2001: 30)

Community management: In the past, the management of forest resources was founded on the negative attitude towards the local communities or beneficiaries. They were assumed to be the destroyers of forest resources. The government officials working at various, sub-national levels were considered the protectors, promoters and mangers of the forest resource. But now communities are encouraged to manage forest resources. Immediately after the political change of 1990, the interim government issued instructions for the hand-over of forest management responsibilities to user groups. Since then the forest management is based on a partnership (agreement) between the government and the users. Under Community Forest Development Programs, 14,389 consumer groups have been formed so far and 1,225,993 ha forest area has been handed over. From this, 1,654,529 households have been benefited. By mid-March of FY 2007/08, 81 percent physical progress has been achieved. (GoN: Economic Survey: 2008:167)

4.3 Enhancing Efficiency / Capacity

Rightsizing the civil service in fact was intended to generate efficiency by bringing fiscal saving and utilizing the resources so saved for improving personnel management. Moreover, Infusions of talented personnel through lateral entry and talent hunting, imparting appropriate training were also considered as important activities for enhancing the efficiency in terms of capacity enhancement of the civil servants.

Introduction of lateral entry (Fast stream): Efficiency is virtually unimaginable without having a hiring policy, which encouraged highly qualified, experienced and efficient people to reach to the top level. Nepal’s civil service was founded in traditional closed career model. Accordingly, in the higher civil service (gazetted categories) selection through open competition was permitted only in class III, which was the entry point. The ARC had suggested making provisions for filling 20% of the vacancies in the higher civil service through open competitive examinations. The Commission had clearly stated that this will pave the way for the entry of highly qualified experienced and efficient people working at the non-governmental sector to enter the civil service so that the infusion of competent and efficient people who can carry on new ideas as per the change in governance ideas will be possible.

The new CSA of 1993 has made provision to only ten percentages of vacancies at the higher level – Class II and I fill through open competition. Thus, the concept of open career is now accepted in a limited scale. From the prospective of the working civil servant it is a fast stream or fast track to climb the career ladder.

The syllabus of written examination has heavily incorporated the inter-related concepts of NPM. Good governance and other contemporary issues. Thus, the successful candidates are found to have a sound and up-to-date theoretical knowledge about the development in the field of public affairs.

Improvement in training: The political change demanded a different type of competency in the civil service. They were now required to work under a pluralistic political environment with respect for human rights. So inculcation of values to commitment for the policies and program of the government in power at the same time keeping them neutral from the patrician politics became essential. They were also required to have ability to create enabling conditions through enacting new rules and regulations to encourage the non-governmental actors. Likewise, capacity to facilitate, monitor and regulate the quality of the services delivered by the non-governmental sectors was also desired. The training policy was therefore revised with the objective of making it need based, dynamic and better utilized.

Civil servants are unable to fully utilize whatever knowledge and skills acquired through training because of resistance to change and lack of a well-founded democratic culture. (Pant and Shai: 2007).

The above mentioned functions intended to improve employees efficiency and capability are however, almost totally ignored. Under such circumstances motivating factor to go for training is:

  1. To score marks for promotion.
  2. Economic gain through saving.
  3. Getting rid of monotony of work.
  4. Visit to foreign countries to see new places.

The goal to enhance of efficiency through acquiring new knowledge, skill thus exists only in paper, not in deed.

Personnel information system: The Civil Service Record Department had started the office automation by preparing a database of gazetted civil servants belonging to various services in early 1990s. This was made public by publishing the information so obtained in various volumes. It has facilitated increasing efficiency by making possible to use these records for making decisions relating to personnel management of the civil service. Researchers were also benefited by such information. But surprisingly despite the positive result the task of updating the personnel records was not continued. After a few years, even the records entered in the computer were not available.

The GRP again made a fresh effort to develop effectiveness in record management. It was hoped that the government would link the information with important aspects of civil service management.

4.4 Performance Based Management System (PBMS)

Job description and work Plan: As a measure to improve performance of the civil servants the ARC 1992 had pointed out the urgency of introducing systematic job description of each and every post. It had also suggested to make legal provision so that every civil servant will be required to prepare a performance plan (work plan) and summit it to his boss. It was hoped that this would provide the basis for supervisors and subordinates to understand what is expected of each employee in terms of the quality, quantity and standards of the output. Such situation in turn will make it possible to measure their performance objectively. The commission further suggested using performance evaluation as a measure to provide feedback to the employees about their strengths and weaknesses relating to job performance. These suggestions, besides infusing transparency in the civil service management, intended to start the performance based management system in the civil service, which were completely lacking in the past.

Improving performance in the key ministries: Apparently, learning lessons from the failure of the earlier effort to initiate the process of the performance improvement program in a civil service wise scale, the GRP took an incremental approach in this regard. The GRP aimed to enhance the service delivery to the citizens by reinforcing a management culture and work procedures that are related to performance based management. Accordingly, ADB made available the services of consultants to provide technical support to help the piloting of Performance Based Management System (PBMS) in three ministries viz. Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), Ministry of Culture Education and Sports (MoESC) and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC). The main objective of the technical assistance was to support in development and implementation of annual Performance Improvement Plans (PIP), including a performance improvement fund. The focus was on delivering services by sub- health posts in case of MoHP, district education office and government schools in case of MoES and two distinct Agriculture offices in case of MoAC.

4.5 Gender Mainstreaming

With a view to bring gender equity in the civil service (MoGA) and the Ministry of

Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWHSW) were called upon to devise new methods to strengthening recruitment, selection and promotion criteria, with particular attention to alleviating constraints and creating new opportunity for women.

The major activities targeted under the gender mainstreaming policy of Governance Reform Program and MGEP relating to gender equity in the civil service were as follows:

Reservation: By amending the Civil Service Act in 2007, 33% of positions to be filled through open competitions are now reserved for women candidates. Accordingly, for the first time separate examinations for such reserved positions were conducted in 2007. The result is yet to be published.

Counseling/Orientation workshop: This program aimed to encourage female candidates to think for applying for a job in the civil service. It was organized in 4 major cities of Nepal during the year 2005 and 2006. A total number of 1049 eligible applicants participated in the workshop. During the program, the participants (prospective applicants) were given information about the civil service system, the service conditions, examination schedules, and the process of applying for the job, curriculum and other important aspects of selection criteria through interactive methods. The MWCSW had organized the program with financial support from a UNDP project which is now phased out. Hence, although everyone feels the need of such programs due to its positive impact, there is no guarantee of its continuation mainly due to lack of fund.

Coaching classes: With a view to help prospective applicants to improve their knowledge and skills to participate in the competitive examination MWCSW has started conducting coaching classes since 2001 onwards. By 2006, a total number of 1674 women have participated in the program organized in fourteen batches. Out of which two were for the aspirants of Gazetted class II and I respectively, Joint Secretary and Under Secretary position. The remaining twelve for aspirants to gazetted class III. Out of that number, 58% of the participants attending these classes were able to get through in the competition and joined the civil service. Similar, coaching classes were conducted for non gazetted (non officer) employees in 25 batches at 23 out of 75 districts of the country. In totality 900 women were benefited from these classes.

Revision of curriculum of the PSC’s entry-level examination: In 1995-96, the Public Service Commission had started the process of reviewing its curriculum of the entry examination (Gazetted Class III) of higher civil service. The method adopted for evaluation was a striking departure from the past in three ways. Firstly, it was gender sensitive. Secondly, it was interactive. Finally, the job analysis of various posts was done. Workshops were organized for job analysis. This was followed by individuals and group discussions. Special interactive sessions with the women groups such as civil servants, intellectuals and college girls were also organized. The purpose was to make a gender audit of the then existing selection method and other aspects of examination system. The above programs were conducted throughout the country. After three years effort made by the Public Service Commission, the curriculum of gazetted III was revised on a scientific and gender sensitive basis. Thereafter, the success rate of female candidates increased.

Gender-friendly work environment: The code of conduct has made punishable the sexual harassment in the work place. Likewise, civil servants are required to refrain from any kind of violence against women.

Removal of age limit: The maximum age limit is waived in the case of women who have served for more than five years in the development projects on temporary basis.

Shortening of probation period: The probation period of new entrants women is reduced to six months. Previously it was one year for both the female and the male candidates.

Extension of maximum age: Women willing to join civil service are given a benefit of five more years. Accordingly, maximum age limit is now 40 for women and 35 for men.

Waiving age bar for working civil servants: The working women civil servants have exemptions from the maximum age bar to become candidate in the open competition.

One-year concession in eligibility for promotion: Women candidates are also given concession of one year to become eligible candidates for promotion to the higher posts.

Paternity leave: Men are now entitled to get paternity care leave of fifteen days. This provision can be considered as a landmark when viewed from the traditional norms and practice of considering child and maternity care a sole responsibility of women.

Gender focal point / person: A senior officer Joint Secretary or under secretary level, was appointed as gender focal person in the ministries. But discussion with the higher authorities revealed that at present no focal person is designated in many of the ministries.

Gender sensitization / orientation program: To garner interest and support from within the civil services MWSW also organized gender sensitization / orientation programs in the form of workshops. These programs were designed for general groups and specific targeted groups. The later include policy makers such as Parliamentarians, Secretaries, and Joint Secretaries. To ensure participation of the ministers, members of the PSC and other similar authorities they were invited to chair the sessions, observe the program and give their comments /opinions on gender issues.

Family-friendly transfer: In case of double bread earner one partner being transferred to a new district the transfer of the other partner is also consider as a matter of right to the possible extent.

Childcare allowances: The provision to provide a lump-sum amount of Rs 5000/- as child care allowance twice for a maximum of two children in career has been introduced.

4.6 Corruption Control

In late 1990s, with a view to obtain measures to control corruption the government constituted a task force to suggest ways to fight corruption. The GRP also endorsed its recommendations to strengthen the legal framework for combating corruption, enforcing its implementation and ensuring the evolvement of civil society in the government’s anti-corruption efforts. The major focus was on the strengthening the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in terms of enhancing the investigative capacity of its personnel and strengthening legal provisions. To ensure prompt and the decisive action against non-compliance, the government promulgated /amended various laws dealing with causes of corruption and abuse of authority by public officials. Accordingly, amendments in the CIAA acts, Prevention of Corruption Act, besides enactment of Special Court Act to expedite the hearing of the cases of corruption and Political Parties Act were undertaken. A new National Vigilance Council was created and is attached to the PM’s office. Anti-Money Laundering Act is also enacted.

The Political Parties Act 2002 has made political parties responsible to keep records of their annual income and expenditure and also get their accounts audited. The amended Prevention of Corruption Act has given special focus on preventive aspects. Consequently besides the traditional punitive actions the CIAA is undertaking following activities:

(i) For effective investigation, different types of guideline have been made and used; (ii) Ministry of Education is suggested to include “corruption control subject" in the curricula of the schools; (iii) District administration offices are asked to form anti-corruption coordination committees at the district level; (iv) Government offices are suggested to form “Good Governance Units”; (v) Working manuals of 45 departments and offices have been prepared under CIAA’s initiation; (vi) CIAA conducts training, seminars and interactions programs in close consultation with governmental and non-governmental –NGOs, civic society, journalists etc.; (vii) Community education program for raising awareness is lunched (viii) Radio programs, documentaries, folk songs, cassette are prepared and used for public awareness (ix) Basic training on corruption control is imparted to the personnel of CIAA and its co-partner; and (x) Government agencies are pursued to deliver effective services to the people.

5. Assessment-The Result

5.1 Achievements

Civil service downsized: In 1974, the size of Nepalese civil service was 55372 that reached to 100632 within seventeen years i.e.1990. Had this pace of growth continued, the size of civil service would have reached to 148716 by now (2008), with an annual growth rate of 2685.159. However, due to various efforts made for downsizing, it is reduced to 76,609. This shows a tremendous success in bringing efficiency in terms of savings in salary, benefits and other expenses for the civil servants.

Legal and Institutional Measures Developed: The reform program has to its credit various achievements with regards to legal and institutional arrangements.

Infusion of a Knowledgeable New Blood: Forced retirement, reduction of retirement age and lateral entry has infused a new blood with sound knowledge in high level administration.

Criteria for Transfer Codified: Criteria for the transfer have been codified for the first time.

Job Security: The civil servants have felt themselves more secure in their job. Abrupt dismissal without giving opportunity for self-defense is not possible, since the Supreme Court has emerged as the guardian of job security in case of unjust dismissal. Supreme Court verdict to reinstate employees forcibly retired by the first elected government is a glaring example.

Opportunity to Raise Voice for Professional Interest: Civil servants considered the right to organize into a union as a positive development since it provided opportunity to express professional interests in an organized manner.

Accountability: There is a favorable legal institutional framework for enhancing accountability, if they work seriously. Civil servants are now exposed to pluralistic interests, pressure groups. The parliamentary committees were also getting involved in assessing the status of important decision.

Transparency: Practices of making closed-door decisions do not exist anymore. The interaction between civil servants, politicians and professional through seminar and other interactive programs before introducing a bill having an impact on their employment conditions is growing established. Practice of public hearing of civil servants performance is also increasing.

Right to information has become a constitutional right. Emergence of pressure group called for a more transparency leading to the more visible bureaucratic functions.

Non-governmental sector encouraged: Government has given a high priority in bringing the non-governmental sector to take over many of the functions, which were traditionally carried out by it. NGOs are contributing in education, awareness raising, advocacy, community development services and economic services etc.

5.2 Problems

Civil service reform is not an end in itself. It is a means to achieve national goal-eradication of poverty, economic growth and delivering quality goods and services to the people in an efficient and effective way. The result in this regard is indicated by the following facts.

Poverty reduction goal not achieved: In 1990, about 42% of the population of Nepal was living below the poverty line. The Ninth Plan had fixed the target to bring it down to 10% by the year 2017. But, at present 30% of the population is living below the poverty line. This made it impossible to meet the target and, therefore, the government has revised this target in the interim plan.

Overall human development not satisfactory: Overall Human Development Index (HDI) with 0.035 Nepal was ranked 140th among 173 nations in 1992. Among the SAARC nations, the position of Nepal was last but one. In 2005, Nepal had 0.34 score in HDI but in terms of rank it was relegated to142nd- last position among SAARC nations.

State of overall governance not satisfactory: The six aggregate governance indicators developed by Daniel Kaufmann and Aart Kraay shows Nepal’s performance in overall governance by measuring six governance dimensions, during the years between 1996 and 2007, reveals the data as follows.

Corruption perception index not satisfactory: The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) score of Transparency International indicate the degree of public sector corruption as perceived by business people and country analysts. It ranges between 10 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt). In other words higher the CPI score lower the case of corruption. The result with regard to state corruption (CPI) in Nepal in 2004 was 2.8 and 2.5 in the next three years and again 2.7 in 2008.

The data indicate that, in 2008, perceived corruption in Nepal has slightly come down from that of the previous years. But, compared to the year 2004 it has slightly increased. Among the 180 countries of the world, the score of 2008 ranks Nepal in the 121st position, whereas in the previous year Nepal’s rank was 131. Thus, though there is some positive indication, a score of less than 3 in CPI point to countries having rampant corruption. Thus, there is no reason to be satisfied with this data, except hoping that the positive trend will continue.

6. Impediments to Reform (Why such a result?)

6.1 Political factors

Instability: The transition witnessed painful political turbulence emanating from inter-party conflict and intra-party feuds. Consequently, none of the government completed constitutionally stipulated term of five years. Within the seventeen years, after regaining democracy, there were seventeen changes in the government.

Maoist insurgency: The Maoist insurgency had impact in the functioning of civil service. Directly affecting, a few are: Killing of civil servants: According to data furnished by Nijamati Karmachari Sangathan (Civil Servants' Association), forty-five (36 from the Maoist's side, and 9 from the government side) civil servants working mainly at the delivery point e.g. villages and district levels were killed during the Maoist insurgency. Ban on entering the villages: Likewise, the Maoist had also imposed ban on civil servants and NGOs from entering the villages in many districts. Even after the Maoists joined mainstream politics, their violence did not end. In the Terai (Southern Plain) region, various political groups have intensified their demand for more inclusiveness and autonomy even by some to the extent of cessation. This has resulted in the killing of additional 37 civil servants by the various factions of the Terai movement. Many criminal groups are also taking advantage of the volatile political situation. This has led to almost non-existence of mechanism to deliver services in the rural areas. The local economic activities beside the service delivery also have come to a halt in the countryside. For example, out of about 4000 Village Development Committee (VDC) Secretaries (key officials providing services from the state side) about half are lying vacant since long.

Politicization of civil service: Politicization of bureaucracy was a major characteristic of the Panchayat regime. However, it did not end with the re-establishment of democracy as they were used in the political process such as manipulating elections, indoctrinating the leaders and workers of banned political parties to join and favor Panchayat polity, keeping vigilance on the activities of the democratic forces, and making efforts to divide the democratic forces. The concept of political neutrality, therefore, did not arise since the King was all-powerful. Formal rules and informal norms both demanded full-fledged loyalty to the King and the undemocratic Panchayat system.

Multi-party system demands commitment towards the constitution, laws, human rights etc, but neutrality in matters of partisan politics. Civil servants complained that a large number of their colleagues are not complying with this professional norm; their behavior is rather just the opposite. Surprisingly, the politicians also expect civil servants’ support not only in formulating policies and programs (as per their election manifesto) but also demand to go beyond e.g. support their self-interest and the interest of their party. A recent article written by an ex-general secretary and the powerful leader of the CPM (UML,) published in a vernacular daily, provides further proof of the politicization aspect. He has said that “there is a wide spread tendency to politicize every sector. Consequently, our government bureaucracy has been turned into a mechanical structure, which is incompetent, ineffective, dynamisms less, creativity less, worthless. An institution which is required to be imbued with the feeling of public service is itself giving trouble and creating problems to the people” (Kantipur, Oct. 26,2008 p7) .

Non-professional activities of employees' association: Report of the parliamentary committee comprising the top leaders of major political parties has shown that employees' associations are functioning like sister organizations of the political parties. The leaders of the employees’ unions have a decisive say in matters such as placement in lucrative jobs, selection of heads of the key Ministries and departments. Many civil servants say that the top leadership in the civil service is found more keen and receptive to please the union’s leaders than the general public. These bureaucrats do not hesitate to fulfill their irrational and non-professional demands.

6.2 Administrative Factors

Frequent changes of MoGA leadership: Continuation of the administrative leadership is essential for successful implementation of civil service reform, particularly in the ministries, which has to provide leadership in implementing the program. Records show that between 1992 to 2008 October the administrative leadership i.e. permanent secretary of MoGA, was changed fourteen times. The concerned officials said that the frequent change of guards adversely affected policy formulation, enactment of necessary laws and other activities needed for timely implementation of reform agenda and, thereby, achieve the stipulated goals.

The important but impotent status of MoGA: According to some officials of the MoGA, although their ministry was assigned the lead role in the governance reform they had no say in the management of the budget. As mentioned earlier, every year they used to request the Finance Ministry to allocate reasonable amount of budget required to perform their role properly. This was needed for conducting various programs to sensitize civil servants, politicians, civil society and the general public about the contents and the goals of the reform programs. But, they always failed to get the needed budget. This became a reason for not getting support as well as positive pressure (such as demand for service delivery as promised) from the stakeholders, which assumes high value in making the reform effort effective. They leveled this phenomenon as “the important but impotent status of MoGA.”

Too much job security: Prior to restoration of democracy The Civil Service Act had allowed termination of service without giving chance for self-defense. The new Civil Service Act promulgated in 1992 abolished such undemocratic provision. But, now job security has reached to the extent of no action against those civil servants who do not bother to serve the people-their real master. According to one scholar, such a situation has compelled the concerned circle to ask question “Is protection of less than one percent of the population at the cost of the nation justifiable?” Who will protect the rest of the population particularly those who are very poor? (Moily, 2007:340)

Non-transparent performance evaluation system: Studies have shown that confidential performance rating system had created fear of undue discrimination among civil servants. Further, it had deprived the civil servants of knowing the rating of their performance on the job by the supervisor and also did not provide the employees opportunities to know the way of improving their performance. Moreover, the phenomenon of confidential rating had encouraged sycophancy and chakari. So, most of the employees have pointed out the discrimination in their performance rating as the major cause of low morale and motivation in the civil service.

Incentives confined to the elites: One study indicates that incentives are confined to the elite civil servants; high placed elite bureaucrats and technocrats. (Ghimire, 2008:66-67)

Rewards and punishments are not related to performance: Civil servants working at delivery point remark “....while at work if you take special care of the powerful clients, your performance in terms of quality of service, non-delivery of services and non-responsive behavior to the client-common people does not matter, it is excused. It will not meet any punitive action.” As rewards and punishments are not related to performance there will be no incentive to bring change in the working method behavior as desired by the governance reform.

Lure of power intoxication: Most civil servants suffer from the lure of power intoxication. The tendency of being protective to their self privileges caused them not to listen to their conscience. Nor do they care for the policies and promised proclamations. They are ever ready to acknowledge the illegitimate desires\orders of ministers, powerful politicians and higher officials to the extent of misuse of power so that they could either snatch lucrative jobs from their colleagues or retain such lucrative jobs. This tendency is particularly high among the higher civil servants and among those who expect only lucrative jobs.

Feudalistic mentality: Many civil servants still have feudalistic thoughts. They feel themselves as the master of the common mass particularly, the uneducated poor who do not have any connection to elites. In delivering services, their behavior indicates they are not serving the people rather showing some generosity by delivering services to them. The problem of feudalistic mentality is more acute at the top level. In this regard, the following statement of one sensible Secretary of Nepal Government is quite revealing: “I wish I had not reached to the level of Secretary to experience the feudal culture more closely. Had I been retired in a lower post I would not have been a part of many misdeeds against the people –died in a foolish paradise."

Self-centered attitude: The civil servants are well-known for their self-centered attitude. Everyone is habituated to judge reform agenda totally keeping in mind her/his narrow self-interest. A few exceptions are there, but they are lost in the huge selfish mass.

Pleasing the boss first, people last type behavior: Most civil servants confess that the tendency to see what pleases the political boss or higher officers are their prime concern rather than what benefits the people. This tendency is seen at every stage e.g. while providing advices on policy matters, decision making, ‘supervising implementation, soliciting feedback from co-workers and subordinates reviewing the progress etc. The root causes, according to them is:

Wide prevalence of eye-washing behavior at the top level: Many civil servants say: "....our bureaucracy is non-functioning; not delivering services and suffers from all sorts of bureau-pathology. They never say we have achieved this goal or that goal, we were wrong while doing this or that. They neither confess their mistakes nor promise to correct their behavior or actions. But, when the time to prepare the progress report comes, they are skilled enough to use such words “government is serious to implement this policy very soon”, “the government is ready to take action”, and so on.

Low salary and social acceptance of corruption: Nepalese civil servants are among the lowest paid in the world. Earning through illegal means is not unacceptable to the society. A person who fails to make money, when he has a chance to do so (even by illegal means) is considered a nincompoop.

Bureaucratic apathy to change: As mentioned earlier, failure of PIS in all three piloting ministries was absolutely due to the bureaucratic apathy towards change. Lack of budget for awarding monetary incentive to best performers was the apparent reason for the failure of this reform scheme.

No sense of shared responsibility: There is a system of regular (at least once a month or week) meeting of secretaries to discuss policy, agenda, review, implementation, bring coordination and resolve inter-ministerial conflict. The Chief Secretary presides over the meetings. After listening to many present and ex-secretaries, one normally reaches the conclusion that instead of showing a sense of shared responsibility, the meetings often give the impression that it is not a meeting of a group of responsible administrative leaders to resolve problems. But, it is a collection of individuals where each is trying to maximize his or her own benefits or the benefits of their relatives, friends, and patrons. Reform activities demand a group effort, a comrade spirit to fight against the rough. But, the phenomenon described here is inimical to reform process.

Lack of interactive culture: Lack of long history of democracy has had direct impact on the functioning of the civil service, which is understandable. Observation of a few formal staff meetings and informal chats in various districts and the center smacked “the boss knows best” method of working (governance). Further inquiry confirmed that higher the level of bureaucracy the greater this style of operation. A large majority of bosses, no matter what their competency level, consider themselves as the most competent person to give sermon on any subject including the reform agenda. They start preaching to the subordinate about the need for honesty, client orientation and change. They neither listen to the subordinates’ suggestions/advice nor bother about translating their words into reality.

Lack of sustainability: Despite the positive output of reform effort produced in the form of laws, institutions, policies, development of software for record management, training and foreign exposures etc they have not been implemented, utilized or updated in a proper perspective. The glaring example is the PIS system. The first effort of 1990 was totally discontinued. This resulted in the GPR starting the work from the start. But, it is learned that after the phasing out of GRP, there has been slackness in making the record system updated and functional. Lack of concern to enter the relevant information has again surfaced.

6.3 Donors’ Role

The donor’s dominance role in implementation-Consultant and report focused approach: Politicians, civil servants, academician and consultants do not forget to point out "the lack of sense of ownership”, “donor-driven program” as the major causes of reforms' failure. According to them, the donor’s perception of priority does not always confirm to that of the recipient. (Mahat, 2005: XVI)

According to one study, the civil servants perceived that “the heart of the reform was engrossed by money concerns... if there is no reforms no money is coming in from outside’’. Money and reforms often arrive together. (Ghimire, 2008: 66-67)

So far as the case of GRP is concerned, the acute problem was not with the reform agenda but it was with the implementation approach and arrangement. Though MOGA was made responsible for the implementation, it had no role in the way of carrying activities and the budget management.

6.4 The Actions of Non-governmental Actors

Tendency of Carteling -Syndicate: One of the major theoretical assumptions of the reform is the internalization of competitive culture by all stakeholders / sectors. This requires inter alia the end of practices inhibiting competition. The Nepalese private sector has failed to a large extent, to demonstrate competency\capability in this regard. The recent case of transport syndicate system• testifies this fact.

Lack of judicious role by most NGOs: Infusing competitive culture by encouraging non-governmental sector to deliver services and undertake the development was a major concern of the reform. However, studies have shown that many of the NGOs are not doing justice to their role. Despite good performance, there is allegation that most NGOs are not transparent in terms of their budget and activities. According to one study (2001), two thousand NGOs are affiliated to political parties, of which approximately 1800 are aligned with the CPN (UML) and the rest to Nepali Congress. NGOs are formed with three objectives of getting rich quickly from donor patronage, providing an alternate platform for political parties, and benefiting the target groups. A further objective is sometimes to avoid paying taxes, as NGOs have a tax-free status. The politically aligned NGOs operate as the local representatives of the political parties and carry out many of their specific programs at local level. (ESP: 2001: 29-30)

Professional bodies not functioning as critical mass: There are a few professional organizations. These bodies in fact are engaged in organizing seminars, training, and research. But such activities are mostly guided either by ritualistic functions or arranging seminars, training with the objective of generating resources for their own operation. They have not been serious in follow-up activities with regard to the outcome of their own activities- discussion, findings etc. Moreover, at many critical junctures they have failed to show their presence as the critical mass-developing image as able and powerful bodies contributing concretely in the process of civil service reform.

7. Concluding Remarks

Despite long suffering and sacrifice for democracy, the democratic leaders are not showing the strong will to develop a “system” which will enable the civil service to assuming its responsibilities as per the norms of the democratic governance. The leaders rather prefer to make the bureaucracy a parasite. The civil servants, particularly at the top level, are also equally responsible for this phenomenon. This is understandable from the fact that instead of discouraging the politicians for such actions they rather encourage the politicians to repeat such deeds so as provides opportunity for them (bureaucrats) to favor their own relatives and friends, and at the same time make it possible to be in the good books of the political boss. The task of transforming the civil service from a non responsive to a responsive one is therefore prolonged.

The efforts for governance reform during the prolonged transition have, however, provided many lessons to learn from. These include:

  1. A reform activity which is not against the personal interest i.e. career advancement, job security, opportunity for lucrative jobs to oneself and to the nearest and dearest of the civil servants are likely to get implemented successfully despite many political turbulences and administrative behavior not overall friendly to reform - success of downsizing is a glaring example.
  2. The transition has provided opportunity for introducing new governance ideas. The conceptual framework of the governance reform and the affirmative actions for gender equity would have not been in the present form if the political changes had not occurred. But translating the ideas into reality in the form of positive impact on the general peoples’ life does not achieve much success when there is political instability, internal conflicts, self-centered attitudes of politician and bureaucrats.
  3. Politicians with a track record of long struggle for the democratic cause (people's right) do not show the same concern for people once they reach the seat of power, if the political situation is volatile and the other actors are self-centered and underdeveloped.
  4. Civil servants' exposure abroad, training and sound knowledge etc. do not guarantee their engagement with full commitment to reform and change (as a permanent government) if there is no positive pressure from the external environment and lack of proper reward and the punishment practices inside the system.
  5. Tremendous growth of NGOs is not a contributing factor to healthy competitive environment, rather it may lead to more corruption and politicization, if politicians and bureaucrats are highly self-centered and the private sector also falls in the same category (Syndicate system)
  6. If the fear of losing votes is high, the progress is possible even when the political behavior is not very responsive. (Gender Mainstreaming).
  7. The report generating (but not translating it into action) approach to reform does not help in poverty alleviation, economic growth and control of corruption rather it defames the word “reform” itself.
  8. Political transition provides pretext to civil servants to behave in an unaccountable feudalistic way.
  9. The politicians must give top priority to change the mindset of their own and that of the civil servants so that in matters of solving people's problems they may not try to escape blaming each other.


ADB (2001) Report and Recommendation of the President to the Kingdom of Nepal for the Governance Reform Programme.

Curtis, Donald (1991) Beyond Government: Organizations for Common Benefits, London Macmillan Education.

Dele, Olowu (2002) "Introduction New Public Management: An African Reform Paradigm?" Development Vol. xxvii nos., 3 and 4, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa,  p. 1-16.

ESP (2001) Pro- Poor Government Assessment Nepal.

Ghimire, Chandra (2008) "Transformation of New Public Management: Shaping A Hybrid in Nepal?", Thesis Submitted to the Department of Administration and Organization Theory in Partial Fulfillment for Award of Master of Philosophy in Public Administration.

"Governance Matters VII: World Wide Governance Indicators for 1996-2007", (June 2008), accessed from

GoN (2008) Economic Survey: Fiscal Year 2007/08.

Mahat, Ram Sharan (2005) In Defense of Democracy: Dynamics and Fault of Nepal’s Political Economy, New Delhi: ADRUIT Publishers.

McCourt, W. (1998) "The New Public Selection? Competing Approaches to the Development of the Public Service Commission of Nepal" in

Moily, M. Veerappa (2007) "Administrative Reform in India", The Indian Journal of Public Administration Vol. LIII No. 3 July-September,  p. 340 -44.

Osborne, D. and Gaebler, T. (1992) Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector, Reading, Mass: Addison –Wesley.

Pant, Sushil Kumar and Shahi, Sapana (2007) Public Administrations’ Preparedness in Carrying Out Human Rights Functions.

Rodinelli, Dennis A. (2007) “Governments Serving People: The Changing Roles of Public Administration in Democratic Governance" in Public Administration and Democratic Governance, United Nations.

Tiwari, Madhu Nidhi (1999) "Productivity in Government" in Dinesh Pant et al. (eds), Current Issue on Producitivity, Kathmandu: National Productivity and Economic Development Centre.

Tiwari, Madhu Nidhi (1996) Government Cadres in Transition: The Nepalese Experience, Paper Presented in EROPA 43rd Executive Council Meeting and Seminar, Hanoi-Vietnam.

UNDP (1992) Human Development Report.

UNDP (2007/08) Human Development Report.

UN, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2005) "Unlocking the Human Potential for Public Sector Performance", World Public Sector Report.

UN (2008) "People Matters Civic Engagement in Public Governance", World Public Sector Report 2008.