By Muhammad Zubair (Concluded)
2.5. Administrative operability
There should be the adequate authority, capability, institutional commitment, organizational support and resources of the administrative system to implement the Policy. The departments and autonomous bodies enjoy the requisite power and ability to implement the Contract Appointment Policy. They have the institutional and organizational capacity to comply with it. Its implementation may save their resources in the long run. But political interference does not let it happen. The Government instituted the contract appointment regime also due to administrative considerations. As for regular employees, there were complaints of absenteeism, deteriorating performance and substantial administrative costs on transfers/promotions. Their accountability or disciplinary procedures were not serving as deterrence against poor performance.
Thus the contract mode opted to tap better human resources on the analogy of private enterprises. As such, the paradigm shift to contract mode aimed at improving administrative operability. However, as this significant change from regular to contract mode could not be adequately managed, the administration could not achieve the organizational objectives. The norms of change management, monitoring, evaluation and correction, i.e. the whole policy cycle, were never followed; hence, the entire exercise failed severely.
2.6. Robustness and Improvability
Certain features of the Contract Appointment Policy prove it as a robust document. For instance, the Policy has laid down conditions which ensure merit-based appointments, equality, consistent treatment and inclusiveness. No relaxation of prescribed qualification, experience, physical criteria etc., is allowed. A contract employee in accordance with the standard terms and conditions of contract appointment cannot claim conversion of his contract appointment into regular appointment. The Policy under review is a comprehensive document able to perform or work well across a range of situations or scenarios. But, and it is a big BUT, the instant Policy is not consistent with the existing laws, especially the Punjab Civil Servants Act 1974 and the rules framed thereunder.
A robust policy should provide consistency to the existing laws, rules and policies and allow room for improvement besides ensuring high public participation rate. Thus the Contract Appointment Policy 2004 has not been capable of maintaining functionality and effectiveness. It does not enjoy the robustness to make sure that the Policy continues to deliver, over time, its intended functions, purposes and objectives, even under negative circumstances. It could not withstand the opposition against it or stood the test of time.
The Policy should result in the achievement of the valued outcome (merit). Any policy short of this outcome is ineffective and requires fundamental change to improve the matters. The contract employment involves appointing or hiring a person for a specific job under particular terms for a fixed period of time. However, the intended outcomes of financial benefits and good management practices could not be achieved through the Policy in question. Conversion of contract appointments into regular ones has maintained pension liabilities as before. The dream of improved administration or efficient service delivery could not be realized.
It is hard to categorically state whether or not the Contract Appointment Policy 2004 is a successful policy. Success is a moving target, which is not attainable, but if we chase success we can catch excellence. The Policy per se is not to blame, but, unfortunately, successive governments have resorted to ad-hoc and short-term measures. Introduced by a preceding government, the Contract Appointment Policy has not been owned by the subsequent governments. It failed at the implementation stage because the coming governments did not feel obligated to stick to it. The available data points finger at weak institutions and the gap between Policy and action.
The policy implementation was not monitored or its impact evaluated. It was not determined how the Policy had fared during implementation. The results and recommendations from evaluation were not fed back into further rounds of policy process. No tinkering has been made or incremental adjustments effected to ensure smooth policy implementation.
Ours is a populist model and public opinion is translated into public Policy. Elections serve as mandates. Politicians are re-election driven and political parties mobilize opinion. Intending public representatives win the support of people in the general election by promising them jobs. Though recruitment quotas for MPs stood abolished after a Supreme Court judgment in a human rights case, public representatives still influence the recruitment process, manage recruitment of some candidates and their subsequent regularization.
The existing administrative system is capable of delivering the Contract Appointment Policy which in itself a robust document and allows room for improvements but political expediency is the major obstacle.
The general perception is that the Contract Appointment Policy 2004 compromises the principle of equity as regular employees compared to contract employees have more job security and have pensionable service. Such a discriminatory climate demoralizes contract employees who consider themselves justified in lobbying for regularization of their services. Thus the Policy could not earn the Government any credibility, given its perception of being against equity, justice and fair play.
The Policy could not achieve its objective of reducing financial and administrative costs to the Government. It could have significantly reduced the pension liabilities, had the Government not subsequently regularized the services of the contract employees. Thus the efficiency envisaged in the Contract Appointment Policy 2004 has been totally undermined for want of its strict implementation. As the intended outcomes of financial benefits and good management practices could not be achieved, so is the improved administration or efficient service delivery.
The rationale for which the Contract Policy 2004 was formulated has been defeated after promulgation of the Punjab Regularization of Service Act 2018. Government’s general amnesty to contract employees for regularization of their services in the years 2009 and 2013 had already ditched the Policy, which is of no consequence right now. Now all contract employees are eligible for regularization upon completion of three-year contract service. Thus the Contract Appointment Policy has badly failed in achieving its objectives on account of the reasons explained above.
4. Policy Recommendations
There is a dire need for institutionalizing policy making. Policy interventions cannot be left to the sole whims of bureaucrats or to the sweat will of politicians. In isolation, both are vulnerable to extraneous pressures and their inner temptations to “domain expansion”. The institutionalized policymaking should be introduced, which may ensure that the whole policy cycle is followed and that the results and recommendations from the evaluation of a policy intervention are fed back into further rounds of policy process. Successful implementation is to be guaranteed, followed by evaluation to determine how well a policy is working.
The Punjab Public Service Commission should be strengthened and its capacity built to conduct the whole exercise of recruitment, be it is contract or regular. Meritorious people inducted through the filter of PPSC would be less prone to lobbying or wheeling and dealing as compared to those recruited through departmental committees which are susceptible to extraneous pressures. All cases of regularization as allowed under Punjab Regularization of Service Act 2018 should be processed and recommended by PPSC.
Instead of first hiring people on contract and then regularizing their services after three years, new recruitments may be made under the Punjab Civil Servants Act 1974 and the persons so recruited may undergo probation period in terms of PCS (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules 1974. Only those persons should be confirmed whose probation service was highly satisfactory and whose retention in service would for surely be beneficial to the Government. There is a need to institutionalize probation regime through the application of strict conditions and performance appraisal.
The scope of the Contract Appointment Policy may be restricted to the employees working against posts in various projects, programs, PMUs, PMOs, and other time-bound (one-time) activities and projects. The Policy may be adapted and updated to this end.
Now, coming to the fundamental question of contract appointments, the contract mode is the way forward. The public exchequer and functionality of the public sector require the implementation of qualitative contract regimes. The contract mode shall ensure transparency in the promotion, competition, and growth of civil servants and public sector officials. However, the standards of the contract regimes must be competitive and transparent. The tenure and extension of the contract appointment must be based on qualitative performance. The incentive should replace the existing perks and privileges. It will enhance financial and administrative capacity. However, it is achievable only if the whole process is revamped and ensures competition and transparency.
Contract Appointment is the way forward; Public Sector cannot bear Regular Appointmentshttp://Contract Appointment is the way forward; Public Sector cannot bear Regular Appointments
Guerrero, Laura K; Peter A. Andersen & Walid A. Afifi. (2014). Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships, 4th Edition. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.
Adams, J.S. (1965). “Inequality in Social Exchange”, Advanced Experimental Psychology
Punjab Estacode Edition 2019, updated and compiled by Regulations Wing, Services & General Administration Department, printed by Government Printing Press, Lahore.
Punjab Civil Servants Act 1974, Book 1, Punjab Estacode 2019
Punjab Civil Servants (Appointment & Conditions of Service) Rules 1974
The Contract Appointment Policy 2004, Book 3, Punjab Estacode-2019
The Recruitment Policy 2004 (Phase-II), Book 3, Punjab Estacode-2019
Data compiled by Regulations Wing in response to a Starred Assembly Question No. 6074.
Report by Mehtab Haider, The News International, June 3, 2020.
Judgment dated 19.01.1993 in Human Rights Case No. 104 of 1992, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, printed in Punjab Estacode 2019.
 Para 3 (1) of Contract Appointment Policy, Book 3, Punjab Estacode 2019.
 Guerrero, Laura K; Peter A. Andersen & Walid A. Afifi. (2014). Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships, 4th Edition. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications Inc. p. 263.
 Adams, J.S. (1965). “Inequality in Social Exchange”. Advanced Experimental Psychology. 62: 335–343.
 The said data was compiled by Regulations Wing in response to a Starred Assembly Question No. 6074. Subsequently no data was maintained or updated.
 Report by Mehtab Haider, The News International, June 3, 2020
 This Committee is constituted in the Regulations Wing of S&GAD vide notification No. SOR.IV(S&GAD) 122/2004 dated 16.04.2004.
 Judgment dated 19.01.1993 in Human Rights Case No. 104 of 1992, the Supreme Court of Pakistan.