Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat
Event Date: 2021-08-10
A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Division was held under the chairmanship of Senator Rana Maqbool at the Parliament House on Tuesday.
The Chair welcomed the participants and observed that NEPRA and OGRA had shown some progress after repetitive instructions from the Senate Standing Committee to address the problems of overbilling and overpricing on electricity and petrol.
At the outset of the meeting, a detailed briefing from the secretary FPSC on the working and performance of the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) was received by the committee.
While taking a briefing on the composition of the commission of the FPSC, The FPSC informed the committee that 8 members out of 11 have been appointed in the commission. The Chair questioned the unfilled vacancies of the commission and stressed that the vacancies be filled by the eligible candidates not only on the criteria of qualification but also on the criteria of experience, reputation, skills, image and professionalism. The chair directed the committee to outline the requirements for selecting the commission candidates and also sought a summary on the initiation process regarding the filing of the vacant slots within a fortnight.
While taking briefing from the secretary FPSC on the CSS (Central Superior Services) competitive examination, it has been observed that from 2015 to 2020, only 13 out of 421 vacancies have been filled by the Minorities for the civil services. The Ministry gave their observations that the educated members of the minorities do not prioritize civil services as a career choice. The Ministry was also advised to carry out a study as to why the minorities do not opt for civil services.
Senator Saadia Abbasi, along with the committee members, emphasised revising policies and enabling minorities to join the civil services. “Minorities produce one of the finest doctors and engineers than why not they join the civil services” underscored Senator Saadia Abbasi showing dismay on the lack of awareness for the minorities to motivate them to join the civil services.
During the briefing, the matter of unfilled vacancies of Baluchistan and Sindh Provinces and other underprivileged areas also came under discussion. The officials of the FPSC apprised the committee that if the vacancies of the provinces of Sindh, Baluchistan and minorities remain unfilled, the representation cannot be filled by any other province and are carried forward to next year in addition to the new vacancies.
The committee members raised the question of why steps are not being taken on serious grounds to fill these vacancies. In response, the Ministry informed the committee that the passing percentage of the CSS exams was brought down by 3 per cent for the underprivileged areas. The committee was informed that campaigns were also conducted to bring awareness amongst the students, inviting them to join the civil services.
Senator Talha Mehmood and Senator Kamil Agha Ali also raised the question regarding the time duration of the recruitment process by the FPSC. The Secretary FPSC responded that the time duration of the recruitment process from 18-20 months has been reduced by seven weeks. Senator Agha Ali stressed that a seven weeks reduction in the processing time is no reduction at all. Twenty months is a lot of time in one’s life for waiting to take a career decision. Senator Agha Ali noted that the time duration of the process is also one of the reasons for the vacancies to remain unfilled.
The FPSC informed the committee that the general Recruitment process under goes different stages of advertisement, syllabus, application, written exams, written results, scrutiny of documents, interview, and final results. Final merit list is based on marks obtained in the screening test, interview as per quota.
The committee was informed that with regards to the General Recruitment (BS-16 & above) 2,327 vacancies were advertised 621,157 applications were received out of which 1,016 applicants recommended for appointment. It also informed that for each vacancy at least 3 to 5 Candidates have been short listed for interview.
While briefing on the new initiatives the committee was informed that the CE 2021 written result is due in September as compared to last year's declaration in November. Computer based testing project of the PSDP is also in progress.
The total number of unfilled vacancies in the civil services is 226 out of which 98 unfilled vacancies for the minorities, 47 for woman and 81 on open merit has remained unfilled, FPSC officials apprised the committee.
The committee members were of the view that the entire infrastructure of the recruitment process of the FPSC should be revised to address the problem. It was further said that the committee would give full assistance if any change were required in the legislation.
The Chairman committee recommended that for the ease of the public, the vacancies should also be advertised in the local newspaper and regional cable TV.
The chairman committee sought a report to review and revise the recruitment policies, time duration and make a mechanism to motivate the students, especially from the provinces of Sindh Baluchistan and minorities, to join the civil services.
The committee also received a briefing from OGRA officials and sought an investigation report on the untimely booking of the LNG. The chairman committee stressed that why the LNG was not booked when it was worth 7 dollars and why it got booked on 16-17 dollars. The chairman committee emphasised tracking down the responsible for halting the booking process with malafide intentions, causing a loss of billions of dollars to the country.
The chairman also issued instructions to constitute a 5 member subcommittee along with the members of the attached department to probe into the matter and unveil those responsible for such an immense loss in the larger interest of the country.
The Chairman Committee also recommended that the Parliament be given the authority to decide the rise in oil pricing.
Senator Kamil Agha Ali also raised the question as to why the gas production for the general public is ceased and been given to the industries? The chairman committee instructed the OGRA to look into the matter and stressed that consumer rights should not be violated at any cost.
While addressing the officials of the NEPRA on the investigation against K-electric fatal accidents, Senator Rukhsana Zuberi emphasised that there are significant lapse and loopholes in the investigation.
The committee also sought tabulated reports from NEPRA officials on the number of casualties, grant of compensation and the grounds on which the cause of death has been determined. Senator Rukhsana lamented the fact how the NEPRA report showed unceremonious behavior on death of an insane amongst the causalities of the incident.
The meeting was attended by Senators Saifullah Sarwar Khan Niyaze, Kamil Ali Agha, Prince Ahmed Omer Ahmed Zai, Khalida Ateeb, Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi, Saadia Abbasi, Naseebullah Bazai, and Senator Muhammad Talha Mahmood. Advisor to PM Cabinet Division, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Senior Officials of the Cabinet Division, Establishment Division, Ministry of Law and Justice, Secretary FPSC, Chairman OGRA And Chairman NEPRA also participated in the meeting.