The current gaydrungs will complete their contract on April 2 

MB Subba 

The Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) has rejected the proposal of the Department of the Local Governance (DLG) to recruit gaydrungs (gewog clerks) on consolidated contract under the civil service to retain the post.

The DLG had written to the RCSC on March 4 following a stakeholders’ meeting chaired by the home minister. The DLG’s proposal was not about extending the contract but making gaydrungs part of the civil service.

The current gaydrungs will complete their contract on April 2, 2022.

However, the RCSC on March 8 wrote to the DLG that the commission had discussed the proposal at length and that “after a careful consideration concluded that it is not possible to recruit gaydrung under any category of civil service since gaydrung position is not under the civil service”.

“Reviewing this position, at this juncture, to bring it under Civil Service is also not appropriate when we have already embarked on the Civil Service Reforms in a big way,” RCSC Chairperson Karma Hamu Dorjee wrote to the DLG.

However, the RCSC added that perhaps the position of the gaydrung could be subsequently reviewed along with other positions in the local government machinery when we revisit to refine the concept of decentralisation with the Ministry (of Home Cultural Affairs) as part of civil service reforms.

DLG Director Kado Zangpo cited Article 22(19) of the Constitution, which states that local governments shall be supported by administrative machinery staffed by civil servants.

The successive governments have extended the gaydrungs contract in the past years. The Cabinet in April 2019 had extended the gaydrung’s contract as per the resolution of the National Assembly.

The current proposal, according to DLG, implied that the present gaydrungs would complete their term and would be able to apply for the post again upon fulfilling the criteria.

DLG’s proposal to RCSC was to recruit gaydrungs under the category of administrative assistant II (S4).

According to the DLG, the proposal to recruit gaydrungs under the civil service was based on the department’s study, which has concluded that gaydrungs were an important part of the local government machinery.

There are about 194 gaydrungs in the country, according to DLG.

The gaydrungs, LG officials said, have been facing issues related to the entitlement, professional development and retirement benefits as their service is not covered by the RCSC employment rules.

According to DLG, the implementation of the proposal would strengthen the local governance system.

“There are many advantages of bringing gaydrungs under the RCSC. For instance, it would be easier to fix accountability,” the DLG director said.

A study carried out by the DLG in 2019 had also recommended retaining and regularising the post of gaydrung. The study report stated that gaydrungs play a key role in the gewog administration.

The DLG’s study had recommended that gaydrung post be fixed at class 12 with proficiency in Dzongkha (able to draft agreement and applications) with adequate years of training in office management.

A gup said that local governments had recommended to the government repeatedly about the need to retain the post in view of the services they render to the public.

A gaydrung said that he had no option but to abide by the decision of the government and RCSC. “Gaydrungs had been part of the local government machinery for a long time,” he said.