The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the richest civic body in the country, with around 1.1 lakh employees, is mulling getting a human resources (HR) policy similar to private companies. If implemented, it will be the first civic body or a public sector body to have a separate HR policy for its employees.
After ward officers raised concerns over the functioning of the civic body and its age-old method of recruitment and assessment of performance, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, in his monthly meeting, directed ward officers and deputy municipal commissioners to come up with ideas.
A case in point could be qualification for recruitment to various departments such as public relations, engineering or accounts. The BMC still accepts certificate courses in journalism/PR for a job in public relations department. The rule was made at a time when there was no degree or post-graduate course in public relations.
Employees have also raised concerns on transfers and promotion of clerical staff or ward officers decided by the general administration department of the civic body. In the absence of rules or a specific policy, the process is riddled with corruption, said an employee on condition of anonymity.
Of its Rs37,052-crore budget, 46% is allotted towards establishment cost, which includes employee salary and pensions. Through the HR policy, the BMC aims to introduce new practices of promotion, transfers and annual appraisal system, to bring in accountability and transparency in the system.
The civic chief has also introduced employee of the month award to felicitate ward officers and deputy municipal commissioners for exceptional performances.
Citizen activists and analysts have welcomed the move. “It’s high time the BMC understood they are service providers, who are responsible for providing water, open spaces and even waste management. Higher level of accountability will be beneficial in the long run,” said Milind Mhaske, project director, Praja foundation, a non-partisan organisation which works towards bringing in accountability and transparency in governance.