l Usha Drukpa/Sonam Dorji Thimphu
From a “small, efficient and compact,” civil service, the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) is now going for a “drug free civil service.” A Committee with representative from the Ministry of Health (MoH), RCSC and the Bhutan Narcotics Commission Authority (BNCA), will be conducting the test for those sitting for the Bhutan Civil Service Examination (BCSE) and in-Service candidates.
The RCSC in support of the national effort to deter drug use and maintain a drug free civil service will institute a drug testing system for both the pre-service and in-service Civil Servants.
Those who test positive will be rejected for the civil service. However, they will be given a chance to start all over the next year which means they will have to start with the BCSE preliminary examinations (PE) while those in the service would be allowed to continue service but under corrective measures.
Replying to questions about reliability of the tests, BNCA officials said there are two types of testing kit, Multiple Testing Kit and Single Testing Kit. The Single Testing Kit, tests particular drugs while the Multiple Testing Kit, can test ten different drugs which includes Tramadol, Morphine, Benzodizepines, Cannabis, Dextropropoxyphine, Methamphetamine, Ketamine, Opiod, Cocaine and MDMA.
A sum of Nu 55 is incurred for every Single Test and Nu. 350 for every single Multiple Test. The testing kits are imported from China. A BNCA officer also said that during the screening of drug test for the qualified graduates, they will be using the Multiple Testing Kit. “We test the content of the drug such as ultracet which contains tramadol. During the test if the results are positive, concerned authority would question them and ask them for medical prescriptions if they are under medication,” he said.
Director Tashi Pem, RCSC responded through email that the need for such a test is also promulgated under Section 38 and 39 of the code of Conduct of Civil Servant in the CSAB 2010 and further under Chapter 3-Civil Service Code of Conduct and Ethics.
She said that the Section 3.2.25 of the BCSR 2012- states that: “A civil servant shall refrain from imbibing intoxicating substances within the duty premises and consuming alcoholic drinks and related intoxicants after office hours that may affect his normal behavior or endanger the safety of other people.”
“As a civil servant we must be responsible and accountable in our decisions and actions. We cannot place our self under such situations that may influence or hamper the service delivery,” said Director Tashi Pem.
She also said they will use the BNCA Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) and have necessary protocol to differentiate the cases of psychotropic or habit forming drugs and that of drugs prescribed by a competent medical officer.
RCSC is also coming up with random drug testing for in-service civil servants from January 1, 2018.
The notification was issued following the decision of the 105th commission meeting on August 8 this year.
Sangay Choden, a civil servant said that testing the graduates before RCSE examination is another hurdle for the new graduates. “The rules are becoming tighter and tighter but not to improve anything, not to nurture young minds but to tame and reject them in every possible way out there.”
She said it is not less than a staged video game, with every level becoming tougher and tougher. She underlined that the PE itself was enough to segregate the so called “intellectually sound” and “not so sound” graduates. “And now we have the drug test,” she said, adding that though she is personally not an abuser, she believes that everyone must be given a chance to realize their mistake, and rectify it at their own pace, as long as it doesn’t affect the service delivered.
Another graduate said testing graduates and in-service candidates are good, if RCSE is going to provide counseling and rehabilitation before they join services. He said it will not be fair to disqualify someone. “Abusers can work. So together with work, counseling and others can be done,” he said.