Let’s face it, Nepal’s civil service is not held in very high regard by Nepalis themselves. But in the past seven years after the affirmative action policies of the new Constitution, there are signs that the bureaucracy is more inclusive and efficient.

Take Manmaya Bhattarai Pangeni, who entered Nepal’s civil service as a junior branch officer in 2006. She rose up the ranks, serving as Chief District Officer (CDO) of Nawalparasi and is now secretary at the Gandaki Province Chief Minister’s office.

As CDO, Pangeni was committed to curbing illegal sand extraction and quarrying that worsened floods in the district. Serious crime, including violence against women, went down during her tenure. She completed stalled infrastructure projects.

“My experience has taught me that no matter what professional capacity we might work under, it is possible to change our society for the better if us civil servants are seriously committed to transformation,” says Pangeni, who was one of five civil servants  to be honoured at the ‘Integrity Icon Nepal 2021’ last year.

Article originally published in Nepali Times