Dr. Bhusal, can you please introduce yourself both personally and professionally.
Well, personally, I am a stubborn boy from a peasant family of a far hinterland of western Nepal where educating one’s child was a matter of luxury. I love to work with grass-root people, involved in campaigns for women’s rights, social equity and socio-economic reform. I am also a strong advocate of protecting the mother earth and promoting sustainable human.
Professionally, I am a crusader of good governance and zero tolerance to corruption and striving to have a transparent and robust planning, monitoring and financial management system at NRA. Recently, I have joined Birgunj Metropolitan City in capacity of Chief Administrative Officer.
What most attracted you in civil services and what are the major
strengths of Nepalese civil service sector?
Truly speaking, journey toward Nepalese civil service begun with hand to mouth problem. However, once I entered it, I found lots of areas to improve. There was a lack of enough empathy and compassion toward the service seekers from government offices. Finding all those discrepancies, I firmly set my resolutions to improve it, shine it and make it a profession of real dignity.
Major strengths of civil service are that there is the high level of job security (perhaps, the highest in the world!). Secondly, Nepalese bureaucracy is highly adaptive to any kind of regime change. Thirdly, there is a high appreciation of civil service among public (though the dignity may be corroborated by the behavior of incumbent once someone joins this service). Lastly, civil service sector is the real and permanent government that may lead toward a prosperous and dignified Nepal if every member of this service really wants to make it happen.
What are the most commendable achievements you have achieved as a civil servant of the country. What were key factors that supported, you to achieve that success and what changes are you felt after that achievement?
I don’t think I have done any commendable deed indeed. However, I have a bit different working style. I don’t do my job rather I am always in a mission. That’s why I don’t have office hours, I have not delimited my job description, I don’t bind myself by ordained responsibilities. I am just doing my duty with the fullest level of honesty. That is the only thing why people commend me.
Having said that, I should not forget the appreciation of people and accolades that different institutions have awarded me with. Being one of Integrity Idols of Nepal awarded by Accountability Lab, recipient of Chief of Army Staff Commendation Medal, Appreciation Letter of Best Performer and so on, I should prove and present myself as a role model. Wherever I go, people expect zero corruption, transparency, accountability and cordial relation of people with my office. It means, I have to be tested and retested times and again. My identity is not my designation but my integrity, result orientation and passion toward better service delivery.
How the legacy and credibility of civil service can be increased and what roles the bureaucrats can play for that?
Basically, we don’t have such a legacy that should be carried over except its adaptability. We are yet to establish commendable norms and precedents. Never-ending political transition has made it more vulnerable. In this context, we are at the critical juncture of time where bureaucracy is only the means that can stop derailing of governance and decaying of public trust toward government. Therefore, let’s forget the party doctrines and embrace professional ethics, forget the portfolio and embrace professionalism, curb the corruption and cure buck-passing. Don’t expect values from others rather set new norms and higher set of values within ourselves. That enhance the credibility of bureaucracy and makes our nation an abode of happy people.
What is one thing that every bureaucrat must stand for?
They are the real government. No government can be better than its bureaucracy. Therefore, every bureaucrats must stand as a role model so that their traits and behaviors will be replicated by general public. Honesty, integrity, transparency, spiritual leadership and compassion toward the service seekers are the inherent attributes of such role model that makes bureaucracy laudable.
What are your wishes for the best and credible service of bureaucracy of Nepal?
No political intervention, awarding professionals rather party cadres, higher remuneration and fullest delivery, transparency and accountability, severe punishment for corrupt practices and easy exit/removal of non-performers.
What are your messages to young generation who want to join the public services?
If you want to make money, this is not right place to join. If you love dignity and love from society, be well prepared for that. Hone your knowledge, don’t lose your perseverance. Endure for unique and commendable result. Never thing about being an administrator but a coordinator.
(Dr. RC Lamichhane took this interview with Dr. Bhusal for The ERIPS online.)