Right professionals in wrong positions?

The transfer of three Directors in the agriculture ministry leads to questions over the efficacy of RCSC’s transfer rules

The recent transfer of three directors in the agriculture ministry to different departments that do not match their expertise has led to some debate on the Royal Civil Service Commission’s transfer rules.

The current director of agriculture department, Chencho Norbu, will replace Director Karma Dukpa of Forest and Park Services Department.  Karma Dukpa will take over the livestock department. And the present director of the livestock department, Tenzin Dhendup, is the new director of agriculture department.

Most civil servants, especially in the agriculture ministry, The Bhutanese talked to say the transfer does not bode well with the RCSC’s mandate to ensure an efficient civil service.

They say the directors have been taking care of the departments they know best and they are professionals the departments need in terms of their training and expertise.

The Position Classification System (PCS) manual that RCSC follows requires the qualifications of civil servants to match their job requirement based on the principle of “right person for the right position.”

One of the foresters with the ministry said it would be difficult to convey certain technical messages to the head that would have no professional background.

There are also officials in the ministry who support the transfer of the directors. They say if a boss holds on to the same position for a long time he becomes a dictator. This might lead to mismanagement of an organization.

A civil servant said some bosses with right training and knowledge are usually arrogant, do not listen to their subordinates, and think they own the departments they head. He said time to time transfer of department heads should take place.

However, another official with the ministry argues that, at the management level, it would help if the head has professional background related to the mandates of the department he takes care of.

The agriculture secretary, Sherub Gyaltshen, said at the executive level civil servants can be transferred anywhere within the civil service.

He said the ministry would have preferred to have the directors in their current positions, but the civil service Act had to be honored. He added that the ministry is not losing them as they will still be with the ministry.

RCSC Commissioner Kinley Yangzom said the law is clear. She said the Civil Service Act of 2010 states that all inter-ministerial or inter-agency or inter-occupational transfers shall be carried out by the commission.

However, intra-ministerial or intra-agency or intra-occupational transfers shall be carried out by the ministries and agencies themselves as per Bhutan Civil Service Rule (BCSR), she said.

The commissioner said the first option is to transfer civil servants within the ministry. If it is not possible the RCSC steps in and the transfer can be made inter -ministerial depending on the posts available.

The transfer of the directors was discussed among the committee of secretaries chaired by the cabinet secretary in the past, said the commissioner.

She said once a civil servant moves to the executive level, the most important thing is their leadership quality. “Here we are emphasizing more on the leadership and nowhere does it say that their background is important. Moreover, it is not really a loss of professionals,” she added.





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One comment

  1. RCSC Commissioner Kinley Yangzom’s statement made lot of sense! Indeed these directors should have been transferred to other ministries on inter-ministerial transfers rather than on this soft- eye washing tailor made internal transfers.If people at the executive level makes noise based on their professional standings, RCSC should keep them as a Specialist in their current departments and offer these director posts to others – swapping exercise.

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