May 13, 2010

Way to the top

The promotion procedure, from BPS-17 to BPS-22

By Babar Dogar

There are 13 occupational groups in the Central Superior Service of Pakistan. On the basis of CSS Competitive Examination, officers, granted BPS-17, join these groups as probationers that are selected on merit; who then get their initial training at the Academy for Administrative Training, Walton Campus Lahore. After completing their training, they are posted as officers in their respective groups.

From BPS-17 to 21, the promotions are regulated by the Civil Servants Act, 1973 and Civil Servants Rules 1974. A minimum of five years of service is required for promotion from BPS-17 to BPS-18; 12 years for BPS-19; 17 years for BPS 20; and a total of 22 years for promotion to BPS-21.

Additionally, a minimum quantification score on account of Performance Evaluation Report (PER) from 17 to 18 is 40 marks; from grade 18 to 19, 60 marks; from grade 19 to 20, 70 marks and; from grade 20 to 21, 73 marks.

Officers are further trained at the National Institute for Public Administration -- a short course for Grade 18 to 19 and three months for Grade19 to 20. Grade 20 to 21 officers are required to sit for a ten-month course at National Defense University, Islamabad and National School of Public Policy, Lahore. For officers recommended for promotions or deferments, reasons have to be recorded by the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) and Central Selection Board (CSB) in their respective meetings.

However, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in his last days in power devised a new promotion policy, especially for Grade 20 and 21 officers, to supposedly accommodate his blue-eyed boys. Out of the quantification score of 100 marks 73 were granted for PERs, 15 to members of the Central Selection Board and rest of the 12 marks to the Training Courses from National Institute of Public Administration and the National School of Public Policy. 15 marks were given to the members of the Board without conducting interview to give a wide range of leverage for accommodating blue-eyed boys on account of like or dislike.

Additionally, many ifs and buts are involved in the method devised for evaluating the annual confidential reports (ACRs), which is not based on performance and delivery rather on loyalty and obedience to the chief executives.

Unfortunately, the system favours the fittest --ones without the right connections have to run from pillar to post for promotion from BPS-17 to 22. Policies formulated are need-based and their implementation interest-based.

As for promotions from Grade 21 to 22, the chief executive enjoys discretionary/unfettered powers. Although there is no Central Selection Board, yet the chief executive is expected to consider all the officers who are due for promotion and provide in writing reasons for their promotion to Grade-22.

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