The public administration is the legitimate instrument to implement the policies of government. It does not only manage the public programmes and policies but work effectively to ‘translate politics into the reality that citizens see every day.’ It is run by the unelected employees, who are selected based on their meritocracy and academic credentials. Efficient, clean, fair and dynamic public administration forms the basis of democratic governance. Its bureaucratisation and politicisation alienate the people, who choose the government through periodic elections. The common lots view that their elected representatives will work in tandem with the civil servants to deliver public goods and services. There should be a healthy symbiosis relation between the elected office-bearers and selected civil servants to fulfill the common objective of the nation. It requires that both components should demonstrate sincerity, discipline and ethics. Their sound relations are a must. If they lock horns over administrative and development issues or work in collusion to fulfill their own vested interests, the public administration fails to deliver and lose the people’s faith. After the political transformation, Nepal moves towards the administrative restructuring and economic revolution under the federal setup. It is obvious fact that only a people-oriented and competent public administration can meet the overarching development goals of the new government. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has rightly noted that the government needs a public-oriented, capable, clean and fair public administration to move the country towards the path of speedy development, prosperity and equality. He made the remark while receiving a report submitted by the high-powered Federal Administrative Restructuring Committee. PM Oli has also called for an inclusive, cultured, disciplined and law-abiding state. There is a huge challenge to oil the engine of administration at the three levels that is grappled with teething troubles. Arranging fiscal and human resources for them is a tall order.
Against this backdrop, the 17-point recommendations and suggestions of the Committee can highly be useful in revamping the federal administrative structure. Its suggestions are about orienting the public administration into a responsible, transparent, effective and accountable entity so that it will be able to provide quality services to the people smoothly. The Committee has suggested the government to make the federal government smarter and sound, and the provincial governments act as a coordinator, and the local government be strengthened. Nepal’s constitution has granted sweeping rights and powers to the local level units and the Committee has offered suggestions accordingly. It has also recommended determining the vacancies of employees required for the federal, provincial and local governments and a prompt formulation of the required laws for the government employees in the three-tier governments. Likewise, the government should stop quick transfer of project chiefs and introduce the compulsory provision of work performance agreement with the project chief. In order to remove confusion, the government should introduce a provision specifying the functions carried out by the provincial and local level governments. It is imperative to bring a national policy on public service delivery and its effective implementation. In the past, many similar committees and commissions were formed to suggest the government to ensure good governance but most of them were barely implemented. This time the majority government is in a better position to implement the pragmatic suggestions to make public administration efficient, responsive and result-oriented.