Ex-country trainings grabbed by a senior few and most trainings are irrelevant

During the Joint-Sitting in the National Assembly, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) presented the Performance Audit report on ex-country travels and short-term training in 2020. The Committee’s Chairperson, National Council’s MP Ugyen Tshering presented the report in the house. 

Royal Audit Authority (RAA) had conducted the performance audit on ex-country travels with twelve agencies of RGoB in 2020.

He said, “There are two components of the ex-country travels, Short Term Travels (STT) and Long Term Travels (LTT). Both are given to the civil servants to enhance their capacity and maintain competency to improve the output and the outcome while delivering their duties.”

The audit was done focusing on the concerns raised by the civil servants while availing STT. He presented that some significant observations were RCSC’s initiative on HRD Budget Information for the whole Civil Service by developing a SOP among MoF, GNHC and RCSC to review HRD Proposals and development of Competency Based Framework (CBF).

The previous Civil Service Information System (CSIS) was replaced by Zhiyog Electronic System and in order to ensure that STTs were availed purposefully, the agencies were required to develop CBF for each profession.

All the ten Ministries, GNHC and NEC were audited along the subject line, he added.

Sharing some of the key finding, he said, “RAA found that agencies audited did not have the CBF developed as required by RCSC and no proper HRD plans and lack of SoP in delegating the ex-country trainings.”

He further said that the poor economic prudence like taking the long and expensive routes to and from the destinations was practiced while availing such trainings.

As per the PAC’s observations, it was learnt that many agencies did not honor the Human Resource Committee (HRC)’s decision and the head of the agencies went on to endorse the STTs single handedly.

All the travel rules set by the Government like using the direct and most economic routes were not honored, CBF was not being practiced across agencies and new systems developed by RCSC like the CSIS and later replaced by Zhiyog Electronic System (ZEST) were not properly utilized despite making it mandatory.

Moreover, “Training need assessment, relevance and impact study of the trainings were found not being done by the agencies and the highest expenditure in the STT was in payment of the DSA at 59% as against air ticket at 24% and Course Fees, at a mere 17%.”

The PAC’s observation also states that the civil servants in the higher career ladder like the EX/ES was found to have travelled the highest unlike the lower rungs. Most training availed by the civil servants were found irrelevant to their professional and administrative backgrounds and no agencies have maintained their annual HR plans.

In line to this, the house also deliberated and adopted PAC’s recommendations. He said that PAC recommends the agencies to ensure strict compliance with the rules and regulations related to STTs.

RCSC being the central personnel agency should conduct HR auditing of the agencies on an annual basis and rectify the deficiencies in the HR planning and system and hold the official concerned accountable, he added.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Namgay Tshering said, “I agree to what the committee have done but I worry if we will face inconvenience while working on it with no concrete decision. The committee has presented 9 observations while there are only two recommendations. I wonder if those two are matching.”

RCSC have been following the two recommendations made by the committee, he said, adding that there is need and importance of identifying on spending on the productive trainings.

NC’s MP Tirtha Man Rai said, “There is no fairness and justice while nominating a candidate for ex-country trainings in every agency.”

He shared that there is need of giving equal opportunities irrespective of their post. In addition, he also said that there is need of detailed information on who is responsible and if everything is being monitored accordingly.

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