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Bhutan: Civil Service
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > Structure of the Government > Civil Service


Bhutan's government employees have been under the authority of the Royal Civil Service Commission since its establishment in 1982. Part of the commission's mandate was to reform government service. With assistance from the UNDP, the commission held a conference in 1986 and assessed the civil service. Plans were laid out for providing in-country and foreign training, improving training effectiveness, and organizing a system by which personnel and training management would be linked within departments. Civil service rules adopted in 1989 established procedures for government employment and prohibited civil servants from being assigned to their home districts. Starting in 1989, candidates for government service were given only one opportunity to pass the civil service selection examination. Once they were selected, promotions were available through seventeen grades, from the lowest clerk to just below the deputy minister level.

In an efficiency drive in the late 1980s, the civil service was reduced through reorganization (the government was scaled down from thirty-three entities at and above the department level in 1985 to nineteen in 1989), reassignment to local government, retirements, and "voluntary resignations." In 1987 there were 13,182 civil service workers, but by 1989 the number of regular civil service employees had dropped to 11,099. An additional 3,855 persons worked under government contract or as "wage" employees throughout all parts of the government. More than 1,650 of them, however, were employed by government-run industries, and another 848 worked for the Chhukha Hydel Project. The total number of persons working under the civil service in July 1989 was 15,802. Later in 1989, however, all public and joint sector corporation employees were removed from the civil service rolls. Because of the national shortage of skilled workers, 3,137 members of the civil service in 1989 were reportedly "nonnationals," mostly ethnic Nepalese.

Data as of September 1991

Last Updated: September 1991

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Bhutan was first published in 1991. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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