MOSCOW, JAN. 21 -- About half of the millions of government bureaucrats working in ministries in the 15 Soviet republics will lose their jobs under a Kremlin efficiency drive, a Soviet official was quoted as saying today.

Igor Prostyakov, a deputy chairman of the government's Bureau for Social Development, told the Communist Party newspaper Pravda that people laid off would be given new jobs. Some could work in industry, he said.

Unemployment, which he said had not existed in the Soviet Union since the early 1930s, would not be restored.

{Prostyakov said that according to current estimates, "before the year 2000 some 16 million people will be laid off" because of higher labor productivity and incentives granted for better work, The Associated Press reported.

{Pravda was the first official organ to publish the number of workers authorities believe will lose their jobs as a result of the Kremlin's drive for greater labor efficiency and discipline, the AP said.}

"The task has been set to cut down the unjustifiably large number of ministries and reduce the management apparatus," Prostyakov said.

"We estimated that we will have to cut about 50 percent of the workers of republican ministries and agencies, and 30 to 35 percent {of workers} at the regional level," he added.

He said there were millions of bureaucrats working in thousands of government ministries, agencies and organizations.