Lilamani Paudel was appointed acting chief secretary, after a protracted standoff between the ruling coalition partners, with the understanding that he would automatically become the chief secretary on August 6 when incumbent Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire retires. That it took so long to appoint the Chief Secretary and the modalities to do so seemed for all purposes out of place and left much scope for disenchantment. Agreed, you cannot please all the people all the time, but the way the chief secretary was appointed was a blatant interference in the functioning of the bureaucracy. The appointment of the chief secretary has to be preferably made on the basis of competence, performance, seniority and qualifications, among other things. If these were the criteria for appointing the Chief Secretary, there would be little room for discontentment amongst those vying for the post for only the deserving candidate would be appointed to the lofty post that involves many responsibilities.
Were this known then it would be known well in advance as to who would be the chief secretary and when. This would leave no room for complaint and bad feelings among the contenders. As far as the appointment of Paudel is concerned, there were as many as a dozen candidates vying for the post. This present appointment as far as can be seen has led to an upheaval in the bureaucracy. As a matter of fact, there was chaos in the bureaucracy with many discontented with the appointment process.
There is a lesson from this episode. The bureaucracy should be independent with its provisions binding. The appointments in the bureaucracy would be such that there should be no doubt as to who is the fit candidate for the post. The appointments are often made on the basis of the political affiliations of the candidates, and they are often made on their backing. The bureaucracy is an independent institution and there should be no obstructions on its functioning, just because some political leaders decide to put his or her people in the various posts. As is often happening in Nepal, the appointments are made at the last moment, and even that after prolonged wrangling among the ruling partners thereby affecting the day-to-day running of the bureaucracy. Under no circumstances must the bureaucracy be politicized. The bureaucrats are civil servants whose duty is to serve the people and get their work done. They are paid with the taxpayers’ money for their services. An inefficient bureaucracy would mean that the people’s money would go to waste. Such a situation would be very unfortunate. In this, the role played by the Chief Secretary would be of pivotal importance. Therefore, the delay in appointing the Chief Secretary would mean that the functioning of the bureaucracy would be lacklustre. Political affiliation must not the be criteria for appointing the Chief Secretary. The present scenario in appointing the chief secretary is something that needs pondering about. This calls for preparations well in advance so that the new Chief Secretary’s appointment does not create a lot of confusion.
When it comes to vegetable, more than anything the thoughts flick from the producer or the farmers to the end consumers or the customers. But, those at both ends have nothing to be happy about. The farmers receive very little cash for their produce, whereas the consumers are fleeced to the greatest degree. In all this the middle-men and the wholesalers have the last laugh, that is to say they earn more than what they are supposed to. Just check out the price of vegetables in Kalimati Fruit and Vegetable Market, and your own locality. The price may vary by almost 100 per cent. That shows the amount of profiteering indulged in by the retail sellers.
This particular fact has been acknowledged by the Department of Commerce and Supply Management. Though nothing has been done of late, yet the department wants to overhaul the whole supply
system in a bid to benefit both the farmers and the consumers. The department has to make every
effort to check the pricing system so that there is a
fair share for everyone from the producers to the consumers. That will promote the whole concept of the free market.