The Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) issued a notification this week stating that anyone joining the civil service will now have to undergo a mandatory drug test.
“In addition to the medical certificate of fitness that is required for recruitment into the civil service, drug testing (for non-permissible drugs as listed under BNCA) will also be mandatory requirement for all new recruitment into the civil service from January 1, 2018 onwards,” states the notification.
According to RCSC, this is to uphold section 3.2.25 of the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations 2012, which states, “a civil servant shall totally abstain from use of psychotropic or habit forming drugs, unless prescribed by a competent medical officer,” as well as to support the national effort to deter drug abuse.
A drug testing laboratory recognized and approved by the Bhutan Narcotics Control Agency (BNCA) will conduct the drug test. The expenses related to drug testing and the medical certificate of fitness will have to be borne by the candidates.
Talking to Business Bhutan, an official from BNCA said the main reason for the mandatory drug test is to avoid recruitment of drug users into civil service.
The official said drug tests would also be carried out for those who are already in service and if found positive, they will be asked to get counseling or go to rehabilitation centers.
“However, if they are found to be using drugs again they will be dealt according to the law,” said the official.
The medical certificates of fitness and mandatory drug testing will have to be submitted by only those who have successfully completed the Bhutan Civil Service Examination (BCSE) before appointment.
The notification also states that candidates selected through BCSE main examination for appointment into civil service shall be required to undergo mandatory pre-employment drug testing, which would be conducted after confirmation of BCSE selection result and before appointment into the civil service.
If any of the candidates selected for appointment into the civil service is found to have tested positive or refuses to produce the medical certificate, the candidate will be disqualified for employment for that particular year.
The vacancy for the position will then be offered to the next candidate in accordance to the BCSE ranking.
“Further, his or her appearance in the BCSE shall be counted as one of the two permissible attempts in the main exam,” states the notification.
However, the candidate tested positive will be allowed to appear the next BCSE but appointment into the civil service will also be subject to clearing medical fitness and drug test again.
A total of 3,409 University graduates appeared for this year’s Preliminary Examination of the BCSE.
Only 927 university graduates have qualified for the main BCSE to be held in October this year with a pass percentage of 27%.
These 927 university graduates will compete for the 494 vacancies in the civil service.
Lucky Wangmo from Thimphu