Punjab mulling massive overhaul of govt machinery

Punjab mulling massive overhaul of govt machinery
Punjab mulling massive overhaul of govt machinery

The Punjab government is deliberating on slashing its massive workforce and a probable merger of various departments, all being carried under the supervision of a high-powered commission, Media has learnt.

The commission for “rationalisation” of the Punjab government has been tasked with assessing the efficiency of the government machinery, its structure and the workforce. The commission is being chaired by Justice (r) Amir Raza Khan and has on board province’s top bureaucrats – the chief secretary, the finance secretary, the services secretary and experts from the academia as well.

Sources on good authority have revealed that the commission has all powers to reconsider the structure of the government from the scratch and can propose any changes, including slashing of the workforce and merger of the departments to achieve the desired goals and increase efficiency.What forms the Punjab government is 0.8 million large workforce working in 40 administrative departments, nine divisions, 36 districts, more than 200 autonomous bodies and special institutions, and the commission has 60 days to rationalise the entire machinery and submit proposals.

The step comes in the wake of pressure coming from international donors who have been pointing towards the inefficiency of the government machinery in carrying out said tasks. One of the major reasons for taking the decision came after the failure of the government machinery in carrying out routine immunisation across the province, resulting in outbreaks of deadly epidemics.The first meeting of the commission, held on Thursday, was chaired by Justice (r) Khan with all officers concerned present. It looked into the basic structure of the administration.

Sources privy to the development revealed that the commission was informed about the basic structure of working in a department with secretary on the top and additional secretary(ies), deputy secretary(ies) and section officers each having a staff consisting of stenographers, peons, assistants and clerks.Then secretary literacy department also gave a presentation on his department and how it could improve its working and function.

“It is an uphill task and 60 days is very little time. Even a small department like literacy took an entire day for the participants to deliberate upon, when departments such as higher education or health will come under discussion it can take days… not to speak of district formation of the government,” an official on the condition of anonymity said.

Talking to Media , Finance Secretary Tariq Bajwa however said the entire exercise was in a nascent stage while the purpose was not necessarily to slash the workforce. “The exercise is being done to define the goals of each department and assess its efficiency accordingly which can also mean hiring more people for some departments as well,” Bajwa added. – PT