A lot leaves to be desired from labour minister’s answers

The labour and human minister Ngeema Sangay Tshenpo clarified that contract recruitment was not a new system, instead, it was in practice since the time of former government and it would not end even when the present government term ends.

The minister was responding to the question put to him by the Radhi-Sakteng MP Jigme Wangchuk, who questioned the minister on the contract recruitments in civil service. The MP asked the reason behind recruiting people on special, consolidated, and fixed contract.

“About 1,300 jobseekers were recruited on these three categories of contract from 2015 to 2016, but it is not clear whether they would receive allowances and benefits and the reason to recruit on contract,” Jigme Wangchuk said. “Could the minister clarify if they would be kept on contract with the condition to renew their contract, keep recruiting job seekers only on contract, and if they would be regularised.”

The MP also added whether the government has any plans to recruit jobseekers on a permanent basis. Most of the vacancies announced, he added, are for contract recruitment for two years.

“This would mean the contract period would end together with government’s term,” and asked for clarification. “Earlier, the teachers recruited on contract were sent as counsellors after renewing the contract, while the IT contract teachers had to leave the job after the contract period was over instead of renewing.”

Lyonpo Ngeema Sangay Tshenpo refused and said that those recruited on contract, as per the agreement if they still have contract period, they could continue to work and leave when the contract expires, which has nothing to do with political or when the government term ends.

Lyonpo said that the recruitment is done by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) that is an autonomous agency, and there was no interference from the government.

Lyonpo added that there are 26,928 civil servants in the country, of which, 1,317 are on contract that existed since last government, which are not recruited in last one year, and the contract was to create job opportunities.

“Although the special contract does not exist anymore, contract recruitments were mainly practised whenever needed or was important, and as per the requirement,” Lyonpo said.

He said the allegation that present government recruits only on contract is false. “The RCSC recruits as per their Act.”

The contract system would exist even in future based on their needs as it has been till now, Lyonpo said, where all the procedures are followed while recruiting on contract, and renew the contract if needed, but never terminates or recruit on permanent easily after the contract expires.

“It entirely depends on their capability, experience, skills, knowledge and their progress whether to recruit the employees after the contract period or not,” Lyonpo said. “The employers also have an advantage while recruiting people on contract as they could save the budget without having to pay other allowances, incentives and benefits but the salary for that particular contract period only while employees would gain experience.”

Lyonpo clarified that the 417 teachers were regularised after their contract period based on the agreement and was not cancelled, while for the IT teachers, the contract had to be cancelled since the Chiphen Rigpel project was over.

Lyonpo said that the employees receive 30 percent additional salary while working on contract and, because of the experience and skills they gain, they have choices to apply or move from one organisation to another or government jobs, and work abroad with the skills.

“But these are restricted in the government service as per code of ethics, which the civil servants have to abide,” Lyonpo said.

Yangchen C Rinzin

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