Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Empower Home Administration in Nepal

By Krishna Hari Pushkar

The empowerment of Home Administration is now became a most crucial challenge to the new Government since the effectiveness and efficiency of the Home Administration are just limited in paper only. People may ask that why the Home Administration is pushed in such pitiable situation? The expert explains there are problems and difficulties in few basic areas of Home Administration e.g. functional, legal, procedural, structural, & personnel etc. The political causes include frequent changes in constitution, political interference, spoil and tenders system in transfer, promotion and postings etc. The legal causes include weakness in administrative and security laws, absent of proper civil administration and security polices. The procedural causes include bad practices in service delivery, hello effect, political prejudices and ill governance. Similarly, the structural causes include the poor and conventional structure in Home organizations and its responsibilities. Likewise, the personnel causes include wrong man in wrong place, haphazard posting and job responsibilities, deep rooted nepotism and favoritism, discretionary, immoral and illogical ways for personnel administration etc that are found beyond the rules and regulation, though it is very normal for Home Administration. Specially, the Home Ministry often acts against Civil Service Laws which is most panic factors.

The proficiency of the Ministry may simply explain through following practical questions: why should Police Chief follow the order of Chief District Officer in local level or Home Secretary’s order in central level? What are the controlling, supervisory and monitoring mechanism of Civil and Security Administration inside the system of Home Administration? Do we feel Civil Supremacy in local level? Why Prime Minister or Home Minister should gives more important to the Police Chiefs rather than Home Secretary? Legally, the Home Secretary should responsible in official ways for whole Home Administration, however the role of Ministry is ineffective and very limited in over all Security Administration.

In Nepal the political leadership derisively ignore the role and significances of Home Secretary, Chief District Officers or Civil Administrators in Security Management, and they give over important to the polices hakims exclusively, which is beyond the norms of hierarchical chain of command and abuse of legally provided span. Perhaps such politicians are regressive people and willing to promote and impose their personal interest over Home Administration system, as they trust arm holders are efficient for all the wrongs or influential things that they want such as corruption, murder, torture, smuggling, and other use-misuse of authorities that may be individually productive to respective the politicians and parties.

In legal provisions, the CDOs have plenty of authorities without power, so, they cannot able to implement or enforce anything properly till police or intelligence helps them into practices. Also, all corrupt politicians and criminal polices it-self want to see Home Administration or Civil Supremacy weak to enjoy illegal privileges and impose individual ruling system over the Nation. Consequently, general public have to suffer and face various trouble even in routine life such as bad governance, corruption, criminality, lawlessness, violence, exploitations, attack, kidnaps, force donation, discrimination, and more. Further, the Ministry has also bad impression in various sectors e.g. immigration, boarder security and other associated issue that are kept under the responsibilities of Home Affairs, etc.

The democratic ruling system believes that Civil Supremacy is the best systems which provides Good Governance and impose Rule of Laws as per interest of its citizens and democratic norms. Though, whatever the provisions are mentioned in constitution, laws or speeches that are delivered by politicians of New Nepal will not be materialized till Civil Supremacy or the Home Affairs will empowered properly as per desire of New Nepal.

One more example concerning the disaster works, in Ministry of Home Affairs, there are central disaster task force; however there are no any disaster specialists, though it has high marketing in Medias without having any significant positive impacts in grassroots level, because the resource and funds are being misused and officials are being individually rich. The causes behind such position is absent of proper officials and organism. People charge, how can such units may effective if people deputed as experts in this section are only experienced in delivering citizenship, passport or something else throughout job periods, so how can be disaster affected people or victim will be benefited from such laymen people? The similar situation exists in drug control unit, arms and weapons section, egovernance and other too.

It is depressing to say; there are no any training, research or development units for the Home Ministry. The Home Ministry does not formulate any official policies, neither any contemporary strategy to cope with any emerging challenges and situation of Nepal e.g. security issues, intelligence, human trafficking, terrorism, immigration, border security, terrorism, cross border, refugee etc; they do not generate any specific ideas, except to force or implement either traditional manner or just the enforce the haphazard orders or intentions of politicians. In practice, Home Ministry is just a CC desk of CDOs, Polices, Intelligence, Jail and Immigration etc. Frankly speaking, the Home Ministry is the poorest one in the sense of inland or outland training opportunity, career development perspective, foreign visit trip, or any opportunity concerning the development, research, workshop, seminars etc.

In addition, the Home Ministry has largest responsibilities and job descriptions; however it is poorest one in the sense of resources, infrastructure, physical facilities and technological development ignoring the importance and reality. The funniest thing is, there is e-governance section, through, the deployed people are general officials and are limited in MS office only, so what kinds of e-governance system should be expected from such mechanism? We have website for our Ministry, but it has not supplied needy information or any update to supply for visitor. We have official email address for inquiry and information but it is permanently inactive. So, what are the significances of such arrangements?

In observation, the Ministry of Home Affairs should need immediate restructure, reengineering, reform and empowerment to achieve better performance or high productively, otherwise it will be collapsed or remained passive in current situation too. Everyone may see & realize the situation that police revolts, rising kidnaps, murder, smugglings, mounting corruption, captivity, attacks, insurgency, strike, unwanted blockades, capture, situation of lawlessness, etc are in daily medias and news, Although, the Home Affairs is only limited in Singh Durbar buildings and speeches. Regarding the disaster, the most panic passiveness was observed while the Flood-Tsunami of Sapt-Koshi River destroyed few VDCs of Sunsari district and far western part of Nepal but Ministry were limited in press release and radio interview. Practically and legally too, the Home Ministry are responsible for all disaster prevention preparedness, rehabilitation and relief work but there were no any proactive actions were seen till few thousands of people lost their lives, liberty, property and products. So what kinds of actions were taken for such irresponsible officials and authorities? Who are responsible for such huge causality?

Every one may face the growing influence and buoyancy of YCL, Youth Force, Forum Force, Tarun Dasta and many more self-declared paramilitary private groups, who are popular for dadagiri rules. People claim they are better and convenient with these private paramilitary forces rather than Official Governmental security system, because the private paramilitary groups are very active, economy and found quick responsive and effective for general public. The public trust over official security system does no longer exist. People blames Governmental Security people are involve behind many more criminal and other illegal activities. In such situation how can people trust on State catered Security, perhaps this is the reason, when someone is kidnapped or attacked or something like that... than sufferers use to consult criminals or stronger gang’s leaders to be prevented or protected form such situations. People are compelled for such seedy steps, it has been seen recently in many criminal incidents that were took place in Kathmandu valley, Birgunj, Biratnagar, & Pokhara etc. In short, existing Home Affairs is no more capable, reliable or effective to execute its assigned job and responsibilities accordance with the expectation of New Nepal.

To address the above discussed issues Home Affairs has to take following actions immediately to dodge from such feeble situation, otherwise, situation will be most horrible and Rule of Law or so called democratic rule will be changed into bad Governance or Rule of Crime in entire Nation.

Ministry and Home Secretary:

The Ministry should be immediately equipped with centrally coordinated civil and security data networks, Home Security Group, Service and Class should introduce separately in Civil Service Act, Home Secretary should make more centrally responsible for all security and Civil Administration accord with the job description of the Ministry, the direct controlling, supervisory, monitoring and other significant powers and authorities should be delegated to Home Ministry and its mechanisms for their assigned jobs and responsibilities.

Some technical human resources e.g. security experts, conflict management experts, data and network engineers, disaster management experts, immigration and migration experts etc should be recruited immediately as per need of the Ministry. The training, research and development division and its needy infrastructure should be provided to the Ministry. The personnel administration policy should be made more specialized, inclusive and rationale. Particularly, I am in favor to introduce a special Home nature oriented laws for Personnel Administration in Home Affairs since the nature of Home Ministry is totally different and more sensitive than others.

Further, the Ministry must introduce a central security task force under the command of Joint Secretary where representatives (at least DIG level representatives from Nepal Police, Arm Police, and NID) should be kept in the Ministry as regular unit. Further, Prime Minister, Home Minister, Chief Secretary or other channels must consult and coordinate with Home Secretary rather to make direct consultation with Police Chiefs excluding some exceptional cases. In conclusion, the Ministry and Home Secretary should make more responsible for the matter of security and other civil administration affairs. Further, the coordinative role of Ministry should be addressed in UN mission, diplomatic relation and other issues of terrorism & National Security. Concerning the National Investigation Department, the Ministry must develop a wing in the Ministry for better performance of National Investigation Department, it is now less productive and inefficient in many ways. Most of the political workers are working in this department where no expected productive is being achieved in anyways except feeding some criminals and political harvesters. However, some good cadres are also working in professional ways but they are very limited and shaded by nonprofessional flocks. Besides, organizational and position based chain of command &, span of control should be scientifically restructured with relevance to contemporary context of New Nepal.

Moreover, the Home Ministry is the authority to distribute financial support for poor, helpless, or compensation as per laws and directives but we found most of financial supports and compensations are being misuses in the absence of proper laws and directives, so effective criteria should be developed to block off the misuses of the National resources. Additionally, the Helicopter is also one of the major means of corruption; therefore, Ministry should buy its own 2 or 3 Helicopters for its need based uses despite renting continuously and paying ten times more in a year than a cost of a New Helicopter.

Additionally, the Home Affairs is also often criticized for bad performance in the areas of border administration, immigration, jail administration, human rights issues, and other management and administration issues. Therefore, some performance oriented empowerment tools should be immediately brought into practices for effective and efficient administration.

CDO issues:

Basically, the Chief District Officer (CDO) is the local representative of central Government, who might have maxim authorities to exercise the power of central Government accordance with the laws and decisions of Government. However, in practice the CDOs are the one of the worst post. They are practically responsible for many things in district but they are poor in terms of need based power, budgets, manpower, & technology. For instant CDO is responsible for maintaining peace and security, to enforce law and order, development administration etc, but CDO remains powerless, if his/her issued order or request is not implemented by Police, Army, or any respective authorities or officials. In addition, CDOs are responsible for corruption control and monitoring and supervisory, though CDO has no sufficient budget to buy even adequate stationary, so every time; CDO has to ask for help to the other office In-charges. So how can a CDO morally capable to take an action against such officers or In-charges who are helping to CDO? Therefore, CDOs are compelled to be silent while they have to take heed on any cases or complains against the other officials. So, CDOs must be equipped with all types of needy resources for their effective and efficient role and duties.

Further, CDO should be professional but the tendency of CDO posting is more political and slapdash. In short, it is seen that the Home is a highly professional Ministry but it is operated by non professional people. The political leadership uses to send their harvesters as CDO instead of professional people. The outsiders’ trend to entering as CDOs through backdoor is very bad tendency. Of course, they are being failure in comparison to original cadre of Home Affairs. The main intentions of such lopsided CDOs are to earn more, enforce the order of dishonest politicians, who are doing many things for their personal interest. In such situation, Government should develop certain hard and fast indicators about the eligibility of CDOs. The CDO should equip with adequate technology and machinery. The CDO is a principle coordinator, so the CDOs role might be deployed in performance based contract. Further, it should be also incorporated with all local level authorities e.g. police, in-charges of police, arm police etc. The all In-charge level officers are kept under direct supervision and control of CDO for effective governance and optimized service delivery as per need of New Nepal. The CDO’s report should be made mandatory for promotion, posting, transfer and other things by respective authorities.

Specially, the infrastructures, privileges and other facilities of CDOs are very poor. CDOs do not have even enough trainings or specific knowledge about public service delivery, security administration, crisis management, boarder administration, corruption control, conflict management, refugee handling, boarder security, disaster management, NGO monitoring etc, so they must be empowered as per their assigned role through National and international trainings and other essential opportunities. Specially, the Ministry should conduct some need based training packages and research for its cadres. Most of the CDOs still do not have enough knowledge about internet or intranet system, CDOs have very less knowledge on how to handle the diplomatic and other issues in local level such as behavior with UN agencies, ICRC, Embassies officials etc. Hence, they must be trained in needy subjects. The CDOs recommendation should also impose as mandatory by laws in development affairs, as the CDOs is only a sole representative of central authority in local level who has to maintain balance relation with diverse people and institution.

Police & Intelligence

The Nepal Police, Arm Police and Intelligence officials’ are the employees of State not a member staffs of particular political parties or politicians. Therefore, the transparent scientific performance indicators should be developed for accountability, posting, transfer, career development, promotion, demotion, reward and action. The transformation of traditional police & intelligence administration should be immediately restructured accordance with need of contemporary affairs of the Nation. The technological advancement is required to meet the emerging challenges for better security and service delivery arrangements. The digitalization and networking technological system should be adopted for service delivery and security management.

The most pathetic issues are crisis of financial resources, technical human resource, technology and physical facilities are serious part, so the necessary facilities and developmental advantages should be addressed by laws, at least accordance with SAARC standards. The Police, Intelligence, & Nepal Army should play coordinative role and synergetic effort in local level under the direct observation and coordination of CDOs.

In conclusion, the exiting situation of Home Ministry is very weak. The Home Ministry, Secretary, Regional Administration, CDOs, Polices, Immigration, Jail and Intelligences mechanisms are poor and in highly fragile condition. Currently, the country is suffering with lawlessness, and even our Government presence is in crisis in entire rural areas. Therefore, immediate empowerment of Home Affairs through restructure, reengineering, and betterment in legal, structural, financial, physical, personnel, academic, and development areas are most essential.

(Author is affiliated with Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Nepal)

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