“To falsify the impression that no one recognizes an honest government official is why I’m working tirelessly as an example.”
Kajiman Rai started his journey in government services as a section officer. He is currently working as Chief Administrative Officer at Chulachuli Rural Municipality, Illam. After entering government service, he spent a long time working at the local level. Wherever he has been posted he has left a mark.
Before anyone even enters the office, Kajiman Rai has all his tasks well-planned for the day and allocates those tasks by visiting each department when office hours begin. There is not a single day that his staff members have seen him late for work and by now, everyone knows that he visits all the departments before he starts his own work. His self-discipline and time management have encouraged other staff members to be on time at the office as well.
He has created an identity for himself as an employee who can take on a leadership role that strengthens the organization as well as take on any challenges at hand. During his time in Pacchthar, Fidim VDC transformed into a Municipality. His field of work widened along with his responsibilities with the same resources and manpower.
He needed to increase these resources so he imposed a unified property tax in the hilly district for the first time in Nepal. Before his arrival, the tax collection would be approximately NRs. 12 lakhs per annum but for the first time it crossed over NRs. 50 lakhs annually. He emphasized the education tax that made all residents automatically fall under the tax category.
Working as the Head of Office, he had the habit of completing all tasks that he could do by himself and would give opportunities to his subordinates to be creative in their work. Under his leadership, the work yielded better results every time.
First priority to development
Kajiman has a great deal of experience working at the local level. Before he came to Chulachuli Rural Municipality, major physical development work was at a standstill but shortly after his arrival, all the work was back in progress. Thanks to Kajiman, the infrastructure of the Rural Municipality is expected to be finished before the deadline.
For the first time in Chulachuli, 500 meters of road was introduced as a project and the residents there no longer have to travel to Jhapa to see those roads. The DPR plan to surround the entirety of Chulachuli with a ring road has now succeeded. Even before his arrival, the rural municipality had attempted to take those initiatives ahead but they were in need of someone who would take the lead with strong will power and experience. After Kajiman Rai came in as the Chief Administrative Officer, those needs were fulfilled.
Technology Friendly Thinking
Kajiman pushed for everyone to keep the electronic attendance records in the office. Similarly, 21 community schools in Chulachuli Rural Municipality, 8 secondary and 13 primary, also received the electronic attendance system for the teachers. Due to this, the attendance rate of teachers increased in schools and with more learning time, the impact on the students can be seen through the positive results. The Rural Municipality has also arranged for optical fiber in order to provide internet facilities to every community school.
To keep all of the work conducted by health institutions, they are also working on separate software that would remove the hassles of using paper every time people visited a health office after registration. People will also be able to find their details online and update their details easily. After his arrival, he began the practice of publishing information, decisions, budgets, and plans to the public using digital boards in the rural municipality. He also understands that utilizing the development of technology properly can help complete tasks quickly and effectively using less time and resources.
Public Participation in local development
During his time as the Chief Administrative Officer at Bhadrapur Municipality, he was able to bring more than 100 community development organizations into effect. Until now, these community development committees have been actively participating in local development. He believes that as long as there is no local interest and participation in local development, there will only be an atmosphere of resentment towards each other. Without a sense of belonging, the concerned parties would do what they believe is right individually and development will not take place in these areas. Nor would the plans be in the best interest of the majority.
Although the concept of a Community Development Committee is not new, Rai has placed special emphasis on meaningful implementation. Before Rai arrived, there were no Community Development Committees established in the Chulachuli Rural Municipality. He formed Community Development Committees in all six wards and included them in community based planning for the financial year of 2076/2077. Locals are also astonished to see local government hearing them for the first time.
Though very necessary, it is not an easy task to formulate and implement policies and maintain order. However, Kajiman’s transparent attitude and practice have helped him maintain order. He has recently implemented a new procurement process to make it clearer and more transparent, and change the trend of purchasing the products from the same store and clearing the bill accordingly. As per the new rule, from this year, it is important to estimate the purchase cost for the entire year and receive approval from the Rural Municipality to proceed accordingly. The same has been followed at the local level as well. This has not only increased the economic discipline among the staff members and residents, but also improved trust in local government.
“They say there is no honesty in the government service, but there is room for honesty for the honest worker. Government service is the most appropriate place for those who have the desire to work sincerely and contribute to the nation. But due to a select few individuals, this sector is not seen in a positive manner. To remove this illusion, I have been working whole-heartedly in the government service” said Rai.