CHAPTER XXVII

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

 

27.1 Introduction

27.1.1 The Fifth Plan period is planned to be a period of reforms and development. To spearhead the process public administration will be reengineered, redesigned and reoriented. To the end of deregulation, liberalisation and privatisation and effective delivery of administrative, legal , social and economic services, public administration will be the main conduit. Merit based recruitment, rigorous training and targets for high level of performance will be the cornerstones of public administration.

27.2 Review of Past Performances

27.2.1 Creation of an efficient public administrative system was one of the major objectives pursued in the past plans. Enhancement of job knowledge and skills of the public personnel through systematic training, establishment of training institutes for such purpose, organisational development, improvement of personnel administration in the government, semi-government and autonomous bodies, streamlining of administration through simplification of accounts, budgeting and financial and administrative procedures and restructuring of government offices and agencies were some of the major efforts towards bringing in efficiency in administration.

27.2.2 As a first step towards increasing the efficiency of a newly emerged administration, the First Plan, on the recommendations of a Services Reorganisation Committee, envisaged immediate training of personnel involved in administration and management. Projects were undertaken mostly to provide institutional framework for such training. The Civil Officers' Training Academy (COTA), the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) and the Staff Training Institutes (STIs) were developed and the Bangladesh Administrative Staff College (BASC) was set up for training of senior officers at the policy level. The Plan emphasised formulation of unified administration and management training policies and programmes and constitution of a National Training Council (NTC) for providing overall direction to training for human development. The NTC was constituted in 1981 during the Second Plan period. It provided guidelines to the Ministry of Establishment for formulation of a training policy. In the Third Plan period, policy dimension of creating new institutions for training was changed; consolidation of training institutions rather than proliferation was given emphasis. The Public Administration Training Centre (PATC) at Savar was established amalgamating the former COTA, NIPA and the BASC. The Foreign Affairs Training Institute (FATI) was merged with the BCS (Admin) Academy, earlier established to cater to the professional training in law, administration and development. Former divisional STIs were developed as Regional Public Administration Training Centres (RPATCs) and placed under the administration and management control of the PATC. Subsequently, though the consolidation of training institutions on management development was done, several professional training institutes were established because of given emphasis on professional development. Institute of Chartered Accountants, Bangladesh (ICAB), Institute of Cost and Management Accountants, Bangladesh (ICMAB), Academy for Planning and Development (APD), Audit and Accounts Training Academy, Institute of Bank Management and Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management (BIAM) were established . At the end of the Fourth Plan, an Electoral Training Institute (ETI)was established and it started functioning under the aegis of the Election Commission to cater to the training needs of personnel involved in the election process.

 

27.2.3 During the previous planned development period (1973-95), the highest priority in public administration was accorded to personnel training which absorbed as much as 55 per cent of sectoral allocation in the First Plan, 51 per cent in the Second Plan, 67 per cent in the Third Plan and about 60 per cent in the Fourth Plan.

 

27.3 Organisational Development Personnel Management and System Improvement

 

27.3.1 With the objective of development of modern personnel and financial management system and systematic creation of facilities for extension of training support, a number of programmes were conceived during the last 25 years. Their implementations were focused on ministries of Establishment, Finance, Disaster Management and Relief, Commerce and Economic Relations Division (ERD), Internal Resources Division (IRD), Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) and Planning Division. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies have benefited by participating in some of these programmes. Some of the important ones among these programmes are listed below :

 

  1. extension of computer facilities to government organisations;
  2. introduction of a System for Autonomous Bodies Reporting and Evaluation (SABRE) in the Finance Division;
  3. modernisation of the O & M Wing of the Ministry of Establishment;
  4. setting up libraries/documentation centres in the Planning Commission, ERD and Social Science Research Council;
  5. strengthening of VAT administration system;
  6. improving foreign aid accounting and management system in the ERD;
  7. enhancing the implementation monitoring and evaluation capacity of the IMED;
  8. simplification of project processing methodologies;
  9. introduction of new methodology for household survey and collection of local level data system for poverty monitoring ; and
  10. modifications of the examination system of the Public Service Commission.

 

27.4 Administrative Reforms

 

27.4.1 In pursuance of the recommendations of the Committee on Administrative Reorganisation and Reforms set up in 1982, several important administrative reforms and improvements have been carried out. The government has carried out some programmes of decentralisation of administration. The Upazilas (now thanas) were created as the focal points of development. Substantial responsibilities for planning and implementation of development activities were transferred to upazilas at that time. Following a number of studies, a high powered Administrative Reform Committee was constituted which worked on organisational structure of the government and autonomous bodies to rationalise their structures and functions. In 1996, an Administrative Reform Commission was constituted to reform the administration along the desired lines. In the financial sector, Finance Division initiated several reforms on fiscal and monetary management. This Division has been implementing two important projects: one on the reforms in its budgetary and expenditure control system and the other on the reforms in the financial institutions.

 

 

 

 

 

27.5 Allocation of Funds and Utilisation Position

 

27.5.1 During the past plan periods, an allocation of Tk.3,282.40 million was made. As against this allocation a total number of 143 projects were taken up for implementation at a cost of Tk.3,463.30 million. However, Tk.1,797.90 million was spent and a total number of 83 projects were completed during the past plan periods.

 

27.6 Two Years between Fourth and Fifth Plans

 

27.6.1 During 1995/96 and 1996/97, Tk.1,761.70 million (including TA projects) and Tk.956.20 million (including TA projects) respectively were allocated for the public administration sector. A total of 50 on-going projects were carried over from the Fourth Plan to the ADP 1995/96. In addition, 11 new projects were included. An amount of Tk.1,550.20 million was spent and 14 projects were completed. A total of 50 projects, 47 on-going and 3 new, were included in the ADP, 1996/97. An amount of Tk.698.30 million was spent.

 

27.6.2 The following table shows the financial performance of the public administration sector during the past plan periods and the last two years thereafter:

 

Table 27.1

Public Administration Projects ( 1973-1997)

( in million Taka)

Plan Period

Allocation

Number of Projects Taken

Number of

Projects

Completed

Amount Utilised

Percentage Utilisation Over ADP

 

Plan (at base year prices)

ADP (at current prices)

Spill-over

New

 

(at current prices)

Allocation

1973-78

131.20

105.00

0

21

4

40.60

38.66

1978-80

111.20

113.80

17

10

7

89.80

78.91

1980-85

380.00

641.00

20

34

37

483.00

75.35

1985-90

650.00

1,113.80

17

35

24

474.50

42.60

1990-95

2,010.00

3,446.90

28

43

21

710.00

20.59

1995/96

--

*1,761.70

50

11

14

*1,550.20

87.99

1996/97

 

956.20

47

3

--

698.30

73.20

Total

3,282.40

8,138.40

--

157

107

4,046.40

--

 

* accelerated allocation and utilisation due to ID card projects

 

27.7 Fifth Five Year Plan (1997-2002)

 

27.7.1 Emerging concerns of public administration: In the previous plans, public administration was conceived too narrowly taking it to be synonymous with public personnel management. The programmes and allocation of fund were necessarily constricted by such an approach. Decades back, the fiction of a politically neutral administration had led to an emphasis on technologies for administrative improvement as opposed to political morality. Moreover, a large number of less developed countries were saddled with inefficient and corrupt bureaucracies that needed to be modernised. A focus on personnel management, in those circumstances, was perhaps not misplaced. However, the recent dramatic changes, globally and in the region, have brought about fundamental changes in the breadth of vision and scope of activities of public administration that can no longer be ignored. Revamping the traditional administrative strategies without coming to terms with those challenges may not be very fruitful.

 

 

27.8 New Challenges

 

27.8.1 In the wake of the collapse of the command economies in Europe and the former Soviet Union in the late eighties, market economy has emerged as the only mode of international economic management. The global integration of the economies accompanied by rapid technological changes have put tremendous pressure on developing economies to change their known ways of doing business. Whatever may be the disposition of a country to this new exposure, change is inevitable. The phenomenon of globalisation and marketisation have also come upon Bangladesh.

 

27.8.2 Secondly, collapse of the command economy witnessed a flurry of political activities leading to the establishment of democratic governments, in many instances in countries hitherto ruled by authoritarian military rulers. Their regimes were marked by arbitrary and capricious decisions leading to marginalisation and income disparity. Endemic corruption and a total absence of rule of law also adversely affected the well-meaning and enterprising citizens. Disgusted by this lack of governance, there is a growing demand for establishment of civil society and good governance by ushering in transparency, accountability and compassion in public business.

 

27.8.3 Thirdly, globalised market economy requires the national states to follow the rules of the game. Taxes, investment rules and economic policies of individual countries must be congruent with the global needs. In order to help develop the markets, a regime of stiff competition will have to be accepted, even when it will involve liquidation of some less efficient national enterprises. Government will have to bring about suitable changes in the rules and regulations to check arbitrary action and combat rampant corruption. It has to arrive at an appropriate mix of government and market activities to secure economy and efficiency.

 

27.8.4 Fourthly, the demand for good governance and civil society is also partly internally generated. Developments in the communication technology have truly turned the world into a big global village. At no other point of time in human history did people have such unhindered access to the whole areas of information. In these conditions, it is difficult for a country to remain isolated and not to be impacted by the happenings all around.