Max Weber is the pioneer in the field of bureaucracy. The academic study of public administration and bureaucracy developed a lot in the twentieth century. The academic study of bureaucracy can make the bureaucracy more vibrant in practical manner. Third world countries are lagging behind in terms of academic research on bureaucracy. Polarization of bureaucracy, dominance of quota system and corruption make bureaucracy inefficient, ineffective in third world countries.
Developed countries have systemic bureaucracy in their administration. USA followed spoils system in making effective bureaucracy in their administration. Spoils system means political appointment of bureaucrats by winning political party. The newly elected president appointed the bureaucrats in various positions of the administration. The tenure of these bureaucrats in office will linger as long as the President remains in office. This is a legal system of political appointment in bureaucracy.
Bangladesh has been following British style of bureaucracy since her independence. British bureaucracy is a permanent system which prioritizes merit in the appointment, promotion and all other affairs. But in practice, Bangladesh cannot follow the British system of bureaucracy properly.
The problem of Bangladesh's bureaucracy is politicization in terms of party loyalty, and political support of the government. The most important problem is that political government makes competent officers OSD (Officers with Special Duty) if they are supporters of opposition party.
The politicization is too much acute that promotion, higher education and other extra facilities are given under political consideration. There are examples that officers are promoted to higher posts without any change in their duty. There is also evidence that the government promotes more officers than the actual number of posts. This may lessen the competency of the civil bureaucracy.
Politicization of bureaucracy delivers us incompetent civil service officials, which leads to poorer services. The incompetent person gets higher position while competent person made OSD on the basis of political consideration. The country has been deprived of best talents for years due to insouciance of political governments.
It's a very shocking that quota dominates the recruitment in our civil service. Almost 56 percent of the posts in the civil services are preserved for various quotas. The dominance of quota system degrades the quality civil service. This practice has been going on in the country since Bangladesh's independence. The dominance of quota should be limited to increase the quality and competency of the civil service.
The bad trend of politicization should be avoided because it makes the civil bureaucracy incompetent. Competent officers under one political government become worthless under another political government. It makes the officers fearful with their duties. They are always in fear of regime change. If they are not affiliated with the party in power, their career fall in trouble and sometimes ruined.
After 46 years of independence, the country is yet to get an act for the civil servant. There was a draft of Civil Servants Act-2010, but the act has not been finalized in 8 years yet. The draft law is still waiting for final approval. Both the government and senior bureaucrats are reluctant to finalizing the act since they fear of losing their dominance over the bureaucracy after the passage of the act. The spoils system is a very good example of politicization where the government makes political appointments after winning the election.
The political governments in Bangladesh don't show any interest to make any act for the bureaucracy because all the governments want to use the bureaucracy politically. The political willingness is a must for enacting Civil Service Act. The political leaders should understand the systematic way of recruitment, promotion without being motivated with politics. A competent bureaucracy will increase their efficiency and the Government will do better under a competent bureaucracy.
The civil servants should be given freedom for their work. No one can deliver his best output remaining in fear. If bureaucrats become fearful of regime change, he cannot make justice with his duties. A good Civil Service Act can give solution to this problem. Competent civil servants should not be made OSD anymore only in consideration of political belief. Best bureaucrats should be given place to their best suited positions.
Bangladesh's bureaucracy should be run with own policy. Following the age-old traditional British bureaucracy cannot give best output to our bureaucracy. We have some administrative history similar to that of the British since we were a colony of Britain. Britain had updated its administrative system but we have failed to do so. However, our country cannot run with the traditional age-old British administrative system. Bangladesh should make a down to earth administrative policy which will match our own culture of politics and administration.
Political governments should understand the importance of an administrative policy. A policy cannot be finalized without the consent of political leaders. The politicians of our country think narrowly about administration. Their thinking horizon about administration should widen. A best practice will develop both the administration and governance system. Administrative act will put a bar to politicization of bureaucracy. Politicization of bureaucracy should be stopped at any cost for the betterment of our country.
The writer is a member of Jahangirnagar University Journalist Association.
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