Cabinet committee: Govt officials unhappy with suggestions for PSC

Say recommendations are unsubstantiated, not result-oriented


Sohail Khattak April 02, 2016
Cabinet committee chairman and Minister for Local Government Inayatullah Khan. PHOTO: IQBAL HAIDER/EXPRESS

PESHAWAR:


For those in the know, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Cabinet committee’s recommendations to improve the workings of the Public Service Commission (PSC) are unsubstantiated and lack result orientation.


Government officials remain sceptical after the Cabinet approved recommendations aimed at strengthening the PSC, which is the province’s main recruiting body for top civil service posts.

The commission has been on the receiving-end of criticisms by the government and opposition members for its slow pace of work.

Jobseekers said they often forget about applications they have submitted when they receive a call for an interview or written test—that is how long the process takes.

Senior government officials were of the view the government needs to appoint fresh people from the market rather than search for retired individuals.

“You need to appoint innovative minds as members of the commission,” said an official who has been part of several interview panels. “[These] people must have knowledge about the requirements of the modern world.”

The official added the government should increase the commission’s members on temporary basis to clear the backlog. “They can make more panels for interviews on a single day,” he said.

The committee comprises six members of the Cabinet under the chairmanship of Minister for Local Government Inayatullah Khan. Other ministers include Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Information Mushtaq Ghani, Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said and Minister for Education Muhammad Atif Khan.

The committee was constituted on March 30, 2015 and it was scheduled to submit recommendations within 15 days, but the recommendations were taken up in the Cabinet meeting after a year.

The PSC conducts the recruitment of civil service posts in the province for basic pay scales 16 and above or the equivalent, along with posts in BPS 11 to 15 or equivalent in specific departments of the provincial government. It also serves as adviser to the governor on matters related to qualifications, recruitment and services in the posts of the mentioned categories.

A copy of the report, which is available with The Express Tribune, shows the committee’s terms of reference are geared towards examining the overall recruitment cycle, compare it with the National Testing Services (NTS) and give suggestions to strengthen the commission.

The committee held meetings on April 8 and May 6, 2015 and was briefed on the workings of the commission, causes of delays and remedial measures.

One of the main problems was the lack of suitable candidates for several posts and the positions were advertised repeatedly.  Another issue was the failure of the automation of PCS and development of its data bank.

The report also stated departments placed defective requisitions that were untimely and rectification required more time. In addition, a number of recruitments were delayed due to court stay orders, delays in appointments of commission’s members and low remunerations due to which examiners reluctantly completed their assigned tasks on time.

Recommendations

After deliberations with the commission, the Cabinet committee has recommended the formation of a search committee with the K-P chief secretary, a former chief secretary, planning and development additional chief secretary, University of Peshawar vice chancellor and a member of the K-P Assembly.

The chairperson of the cabinet committee can also participate in the selection of members. It emphasised on the completion of the automation project of the data bank by July 1 and creation of a post for it.

Furthermore, it recommends that post of the secretary of the commission be upgraded to BS-20 and a position for director research (BS-19) be created with the increased remuneration equal to that of the federal PSC.

The selection process for non-syllabus posts shall be completed in six to eight months and syllabus posts shall be filled in a year. The committee also recommended the establishment of three branch offices of the commission in DI Khan, Abbottabad and Batkhela.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2016.

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