Learner’s Submission: Data Protection – Provision and Practice

24/12/2012

“Data can be defined as both the qualitative and quantitative facts or the points of observations and, if contextualized, they are the primary source of information. Data or collection of data without their connection to time or space do not make information. But such data with some context or connection to time or space make information. Both the management of data and information are two of the significant components of knowledge management in government and other organizations. Government organizations usually manipulate data derived from two major process: creating data themselves from observations, monitoring and from daily decision making with reference to different policies and second is the reception of data from other organizations or individuals. Self-generated or received from others, the government organizations use data in different forms such as electronic copies, hard copies and verbal signals. As data in context have meaning and signified implications, they help for making generalizations, fact based rational decisions, projection of trends and consequently innovations to tackle with potential problems. Because of these points of significance, government organizations, being based on laws or other standard conventional practice, usually protect the created, collected or received data in the organizations. But despite the intention of the protection of the data as envisaged by varieties of prevailing laws, their misplace or loss cannot be ignored due to different causes such as blurred responsibility, organizational culture of not sharing data or policy of ultra-secrecy, or lack of physical drawers and folders or as a whole available infrastructure. For the protection of data, the government of Nepal has formed different acts, rules and policies.

The Act on Right to Information, 2064 BS (2007) writes on its preamble that the act has been brought to promote the public accountability, transparency and access of people towards the information of public significance as well as to protect the sensitive information negatively affecting the state and the welfare of the people. Ensuring the right of people to information, it has also identified and mentioned some areas and nature of information that are protected or not disseminated by the public organizations at all. Such information includes as creating disturbances to sovereignty, national integrity, peace, international relations, fraternity among the castes and ethnic groups, and other information that tends to endanger personal privacy, and body, life, health and security of a person. Stating that the public institution has to ensure that the data and information related to some particular person is not leaked or published or disseminated without written approval of the person, the act writes that the personal information available in the office can be used only if it is demanded by law or in case of controlling corruption.

It has also made the provisions of Information Officer in each government office to deliver the information to the public and National Information Commission to overall protect and promote the right to information. It has provisioned to frame a committee in the chair of the chief secretary of the Government of Nepal to classify the information and fix the protection period as well as method as per the nature and sensitivity of the information.

Similarly, though it is not targeted to the management of data and information, there is the Civil Service Act, 2049 BS (1993) that states that  civil employee should not, without being authorized by Government of Nepal, directly or indirectly provide or divulge, to any other unauthorized employee or non-governmental person or press, any confidential matter or any other document or news prohibited by law which was /is known to him/her in the course of performing the governmental duty.

In addition to these acts, the Electronic Transaction Act 2063 BS (2006) has made different provisions regarding the protection of electronic data. It has forbidden the unauthorized access to computer materials. The act ensures legal validity of the electronic data, documents, information or records kept safely and exactly in the same format as originally generated or transmitted. It has also stated that if any person accesses any program, information or data of any computer without the permission of the owner or performs any act contrary to the authorization; such a person is liable to punishment.

The Prevention of Corruption Act, 2059 (2002 A.D) has different provisions on safeguarding the public documents. According to the act, it is punishable if a public servant or any other person, corrects, adds or changes in documents belonging to a government or public institution without authority. Similarly, damaging or destroying or concealing the documents belonging to the government or the public institution is defined to be punishable.

Besides the legal provisions, the role of the corresponding practice is also significant to protect the available data. Generally, in the offices, the practice of keeping data safe and utilizing them in appropriate time is influenced by a variety of factors. They include available furniture, drives, folders, office space, office layout, as well as the trends of filing and indexing, keeping the data or the documents in hard drives or sharing them among the co-workers are significant for the protection of the data in government organizations.

As a whole, the Government of Nepal has different legislation for both protection and transparency of data or information. The organizational practice on the protection of data is guided by the legislation. As being guided by the relevant acts, it is necessary for the officials to protect as well as provide the received data to other organizations or stakeholders. As no non-official can search or use records or files in the government offices, the possibility of leaking data or document is minimal through outsiders. Similarly, the digital data have legal validity like the hard copy data and unauthorized access to others’ computer or program, alteration, or deletion of others’ data is punishable by law. The concept of Government Integrated Data Center (GIDC) has also been introduced. From these all dimensions of prevailing laws, organizational general practice, officials’ moral and legal observance, the trends of managing hard data and soft data, the status of ensuring the protection of data can be said satisfactory.” – Yuba Raj Guragain – Kathmandu, Nepal

Advertisements

Learner’s Submission: Development Visions of Nepal

18/12/2012

“Nepal, being a developing country, is also experiencing the impact of the changes of the 21st century. However, as all the organizations, sectors and its operations are still done as per traditional and conventional means, the globalization and modernization is not yet imprinted in almost all sectors. Public sectors of the country is also not untouched by such problems.

Three Year Plan (2010/11 – 2012/13)
Three Year Plan (2010/11 – 2012/13) in its Social Development Policies defines its objective as:

To lay down a foundation for the overall development of the country by increasing accessibility of the local people to available resources and opportunities by providing people’s basic services and facilities in an effective manner and utilizing resources, skills and technologies under the direct involvement of the local bodies and the local people. (Three Year Plan (2010/11 – 2012/13)) – Social Development Policies

One of the objective of the Three Year Plan is to contribute in the socioeconomic development of the country by human resource development and proper management of population. The Plan visualizes to make administrative mechanism efficient, effective and disciplined by clearly defining the roles and responsibilities.

LOCAL SELF-GOVERNANCE ACT 1999
The Local Self-Governance Act 1999 is promulgated to empower local institutions, making them directly accountable to public, promote decentralization and making administration efficient. The Local Development Training Academy is involved in organizing knowledge and skills oriented training courses and workshops for public servants as well as political representatives. They are trained on administrative procedures, resource mobilization, local self-governance and leadership development, etc. As per the Act, local government bodies are encouraged to involve non-governmental organization in planning and implementation of those activities.

NEED OF CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT IN PUBLIC SECTOR
Capacity development is not about building something from the zero level but it is about improving the existing capacity. In the process of recruitment in the public sector in Nepal there is a strong scent of favouritism. Public Service Commission announces several vacancies and employees are selected on the basis of written exam and interview. But the irony is that the top level management is appointed as per political ideology and in turn, junior level employees are also selected on political pressure. Performance appraisal and evaluations of the employees are based upon the judgments and recommendations from the top level.

For any system to perform effectively capacity development in public sector is really vital. It is one of the significant factor that could assist in formulating plans and policies, making decisions and execute those plans into action. It could help in the evolution of the new work processes and can bring about a significant organizational change compatible with the environmental dynamics at the international level and as per latest upgrades. A capable and competent public servant assist in organizational strength; and his technical and managerial skills as well as positive attitude can guide an organization towards the desired position. All of the training and education make him prepared for the service; and training to improve his capacity enables him for a better job performance along with increasing his professional skills. Current Human Resource Planning focus on a systematic training need analysis at the individual, job and organizational level. But training The main objective of the Human Resource Capacity Development in the public sector is to maximize productivity also with enhancing public service delivery. It helps to improve service to the public and provide faster service by using latest technologies. It also increases the morale of the employees. Despite the fact that many capacity development training has been done in the past, evaluation and assessment of such efforts are still missing. They many have been supply-driven and not properly governed by the local governments that can link such programs with public sector plus going as per policies and development plans. Because of which it has not been able to improve the capacity of the local public service authority to enhance service delivery to the entire population and has hampered a sustainable capacity development of human resources.

CONCLUSION
In a nutshell, even though the leadership and development visions of Nepal promotes the capacity development of the human resources in the public sector; envisioning an efficient state of equilibrium, the impact of politics and the current bureaucracy in the public sector is a serious concern for a proper human resource management and capacity development.” – Sandesh Poudel – Chitwan District, Nepal


%d bloggers like this: