IT is satisfying that the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms, ably led by visionary Professor Ahsan Iqbal, is working on different fronts to modernize all sectors of the economy and the administration. According to reports, the Ministry is seized with the task to reform civil service and in this regard a National Consultative Workshop on ‘Implementing Civil Service Reforms’ is scheduled to be held at Bhurban on September 14 and 15.
Reforms in the civil services is part of the greater agenda of the Government, called Vision 2025, which recognises institutional reforms and modernisation of public sector as one of the seven pillars of development and growth framework. Such reforms have been on the agenda and programme of almost every Government and some of them did try to implement them but overall we are standing almost at the starting point. Civil service reforms are essential to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, professionalism, representation and democratic character of a civil service, with a view to promoting better delivery of public goods and services, with increased accountability. Presently, there is a perception that civil servants are corrupt, inefficient, arrogant and not pro-people. Government offices are unresponsive to public needs, procedures are tedious, because of lack of redressal of grievances. Citizens have little or no control over policies and service deliveries. It is also said that there is over centralisation, lack of participation, weak political institutions, bloated bureaucracy, ad-hoc or isolated policy formulation and corruption. We hope that the exercise being carried out by Ahsan Iqbal would not only focus on induction to ensure that only competent, capable and motivated souls make it to civil service but would also address issues like their in-service training, modernization, making their salaries and perks attractive, service security, devolution of power and restructuring down from local to Tehsil, District, Provincial and Federal levels.