By professionalism how strong and weak our bureaucracy is!


Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :

The British introduced bureaucracy in the Indian subcontinent, not with any noble motive.

They wanted to create an elite class in the subcontinent who looked Indian but were British at heart.

Basically their responsibility was to rule, exploit and protect the interests of the British.

They were supposed to be trained in that way. During the last one hundred years of two hundred years of British rule, people began to hate the British.

Therefore, it would have been easier to collect taxes by the support of the lower level native bureaucrats.

The posts of Secretary-Additional Secretary-Joint Secretary level were occupied by the British and the natives were supposed to hold the lower posts only.

It was these Indian bureaucrats who worked in the field administration. Almost all of the laws and regulations that the British bureaucrats have made were against the interests of the common people.

The then liberated Pakistan did not make any significant changes in the laws and regulations created by the British bureaucrats.

The repressive laws or statutes did not change much. People have therefore lost faith in this century-old bureaucracy.

A huge change took place in power dynamics over the last few years, with bureaucrats taking all the crucial decisions and ministers executing those. Be it policy formulation or its execution, public servants are seen lording over public representatives.

In fact, the government over the years has placed incumbent and former bureaucrats at the helm of almost all state bodies, though some of those posts should have been filled by professionals with expertise.

Governance experts see this as the government’s lack of confidence in public representatives or in professionals outside the civil service.

Former bureaucrats are now leading many constitutional bodies like Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC), National Human Rights Commission, Election Commission, Information Commission, and Anti-Corruption Commission.

Professionals having solid backgrounds headed those organizations previously. Sadly, many of the measures failed to yield desired results while for some the government had to backtrack in the face of severe criticism.

As in Bangladesh, bureaucrats are appointed permanently on the basis of merit through competitive tests.

They gain proficiency in government jobs because of their education, abilities, talents, and experience.


On the flip side, factional strife, a lack of training, and a lack of experience may be seen in some of the political leadership.

The bureaucrats became stronger by degrees through using the weakness of the political leadership and their own professional skills.

Moreover, owing to the fragility of the political institutions in Bangladesh, the bureaucracy has grown to be quite sophisticated.

Weaknesses in political leadership, squabbles, weak election commission, and lack of media freedom, a weakening of the judiciary, dysfunctional anti-corruption commission and absence of an ombudsman are some of the reasons behind the extreme power of bureaucracy.

Experts say politicians do not even acknowledge the problem in the first place, which only make matters worse.

They also observe that many politicians have little governance skills needed to make decisions that would help the country ride out the crisis. “Politicians themselves have handed politics to bureaucrats. Under the present electoral system, the victory of public representatives in elections depends on public servants.

As a result, bureaucrats are dictating the public representatives whereas it should have been the opposite,” said Dr Tofail Ahmed, a local government expert.
An incident that took place in Barguna on August 15 could be cited here as an example of a politician’s helplessness.

That day, police used batons against Chhatra League men during a National Mourning Day programme, injuring at least 50 leaders and activists of the pro-AL student front.

It occurred in the presence of local AL lawmaker Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu, who was seen repeatedly asking police not to beat Chhatra League men. In a video clip that went viral on social media, some police officials were seen having an altercation with the five-time lawmaker, who was also a former state minister.

Later, the additional superintendent of Barguna police was withdrawn from the district. But how can the politicians play their due role amid such crises? Badiul Alam Majumdar opined that establishing a real democratic system and ensuring a fair system to elect people’s representatives could bring changes to this situation.

In fine, we can say that to develop the country as well as thenations, the conscious citizen and the Government shouldcome forward concertedly so that we can get a corruptionfree state. In this regard, dishonest bureaucrats should bepunished with an iron rod.

It is the duty and responsibility of all sorts of people to tackle the political crisis. Then it would be possible for us to stand upright in the global atlas with due respect and veneration. It is asserted that bureaucratic complex are the barriers of national interest.

Moreover, Present bureaucracies do not have much the capabilities to face the modern challenges of development. Even the present bureaucracy is not able to bridge with people.So bureaucracy needs to be reformed. In this regard, thefield administration should have a new set up for a short tenure. The post or appointment like DC and TNO should be changed.

These names may have substituted as Upazila coordinating officer and District coordinating officer and they should belong to any efficient and effective cadre officials. Besides, the UpazilaParishad should have a setup of representatives coming from different political platforms.

If the administration system is properly reformed, the country will achieve the desired goal and development will be ensured.

(Author: Former Deputy Director General, Bangladesh Ansar and VDP, columnist and researcher.)