In a major departure from how civil servants are paid, the Prime Minister Lyonchhen (Dr) Lotay Tshering said that he has asked the 4th Pay Commission to come up with a performance based pay hike for civil servants.
“I said (to the Pay Commission) that I will not be happy for everyone to be taking a flat cheque at the end of the month. There has to some surprises and something to look forward to. Something that would encourage every one of us, and, without putting in that extra effort, you will not be assured to get that amount at the end of the month,” said Lyonchhen.
He said that he told the pay commission that he wanted this wow factor and something unique.
“We insisted that there should be certain packages for extra skills, extra knowledge and anything different that he or she is able to contribute to the system- should be monetized,” added the PM.
The PM gave an example of differentiated pay saying that if all P I officers earn Nu 15,000 a month and get a five percent hike then it is not fair. He said that they all do not shoulder the same responsibility and have different capacities.
He said that the pay should be performance based, expertise based, passion based as the present system is not encouraging. “Whether you work or not, you get a fixed amount at the end of the month,” said the PM.
When this reporter asked the PM on how the government would judge performance, the PM said that it is actually an easy question, but that he had no answer and that he is really doubtful if anybody has an answer.
“How will one judge somebody’s performance? A formula is needed. We will wait for them to advise us,” said the PM.
He said that there are constitutional stakeholders, and for the civil service, the RCSC has done a good job. He said that the government would sit with them and review the scheme and try to come come up with the nearest possible solution as there is no ideal solution.
The PM welcomed other to also share ideas on how to measure performance.
The PM also said that in line with its election pledges it recommended to the pay commission to give fortnightly (every two weeks) pay to civil servants instead of a monthly pay.
“This is doable with a little financial implication,” said the PM.
He said that he was confident that the Pay Commission will consider this and not advise against this. He said that the Foreign Minister Lyonpo Tandin Dorji had highlighted advantages of paying civil servants on a fortnightly basis and how it would be good for the economy and even encourage more shopping.
“Unofficially, there did not seem be any problem. If it is what the public servants want then I don’t think there will be problems,” he said.
He said, on the financial matters, he would take a cue from what the expert committee tells the government. He said that the government is passionate about fulfilling this pledge like it is passionate about its other pledges.
The PM also indicated that the pay hike percentages would not be uniform. “A five percent (hike) for someone getting Nu 5,000 and a five percent hike for someone getting 50,000 is not the same,” said the PM.
Lyonchhen said that the pay commission had also been told that ‘narrowing the gap’ is the way forward as the government had fought an election on the issue and the people gave them the mandate.
He said that the commission has also been asked to meet and consult with the different stakeholders so that their recommendations are not baseless.
The PM said that he has informally heard that the commission is going around and meeting with teachers, the private sector, drivers and support staff and had even visited the JDWNRH and Haa.
Lyonchhen said that while the pay commission is autonomous under the Constitution, its recommendations would come to the cabinet, which would have the final say on what can be implemented or not as the whole report cannot be implemented.
He said the commission had been asked to come up with the ‘wow factor’ otherwise the government would not hesitate to constitute another pay commission.