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Good Governance in Bangladesh Essay
Introduction: Good governance has become a hot subject in developing countries. Day by day, the intellectuals, bureaucrats and civil society members are accepting the spirit of the concept and conceptualizing it in their own experience and environment. In Bangladesh, all the internal and external actors of politics, administration and development are emphasizing on the need for good governance. Today, it is not only an academic issue rather it is being discussed in aid forum and executive meetings and discussions. But actual picture of governance in our country does not prove to be good and satisfactory.
Concept: In general , good governance means an ideal governing system that is inevitable for political, economic, social and cultural development of a country. Ideal governing system means the ideal orientation of a state that works best to achieve self-reliance, sustainable development and social justice and the ideal functioning of government that operates most effectively.
Elements of good governance: The elements of good governance tend to vary from country to country. However, there are some common elements which are necessary for establishing good governance in a country. These may be enunciated as under :
– Political accountability which comes mostly through credible electoral processes.
– Freedom of association and participation that ensure greater roles of civil society and greater involvement of beneficiaries in development planning and implementation process.
– A sound judicial system which is independent and maintains equity for all before law.
– Bureaucratic accountability and transparency make public officials answerable in the management of public funds.
– Freedom of and access to information related to government activities.
– Capacity building of the public including administrative reform.
Besides the above ingredients, the broader concept of good governance include rule of law, democratization, combating corruption, probity and human rights as elements of good governance.
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Good governance in Bangladesh: At present, good governance in Bangladesh is far from the actual consonance of the term. There are several factors and issues that are constraining the very process of good governance. The major factors are –
a. Corruption: Corruption is a big obstacle in the way of good governance in Bangladesh. It promotes the interests of a few ovel many rampant corruption slow down the investment and growth. It prevented a fair distribution of national wealth and broadened the gap between rich and poor.
b. Inefficiency of Bureaucracy: The bureaucracy of Bangladesh is not efficient in management and administration. The capacity of policy implementation of our bureaucracy is very poor. Bureaucrats are not accountable and transparent to the people. Even, there is no effective mechanism to make them accountable and transparent.
c. Political interference in administration: In our country, administration is always to work under the influence of party in power. Sometimes, political influence breeds factionalism in the administration which in turn result into demoralization, utter negligence of work and often serious tension among the bureaucrats.
d. Nepotism: Nepotism is another curse of our politics and administration. The rules in our country pursue nepotism. They give privilege and undue advantage to their family members, kiths and kins on public resources. So the mass people remain deprived and marginalized and this process is continuing with regime after regime.
e. Improper and non-observance of the rule of law: The mass people in Bangladesh believe that rule of law is just not in existence in the country. They do not rely on government in terms of application of rule of law. It is said that laws are there but these are applied only in favour of privileged people or class. As a result, justice suffers and is denied to the common people.
f. Improper use of resources: The fund flow in Bangladesh is not smooth to the local government, especially the Union Parishad. Besides, this fund is not utilized properly and very often diverted to other purposes. So, the ordinary people can not get the benefits and this obviously affects the efforts, if any, of ensuring good governance.
Measures for ensuring good governance
Good governance, as a complex process, needs to be addressed seriously. For this, comprehensive and effective programs should be undertaken such as-
1. Effective and accountable administration: In order to make administration more effective, an essential prerequisite would be to rightsize the government. For this, following steps should be taken:
i) Certain institutions need to be streamlined and others, which have become, redundant, should be abolished. There is also a need for certain institutions to be reviewed in light of the changing economic conditions, nationally and globally.
ii) Functions of certain government agencies should be delegated to the private sector.
iii) New laws to be enacted and implemented in order to rationalize the existing employment rules within the public sector.
2. Combating corruption: Ensuring good governance requires combating corruption. For this, government should be accountable and transparent to the citizens. For this, institutions like Bureau of Anti-Corruption, Ombudsman, Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh Public Service Commission etc. should be reformed and reorganized. So,
i) Bureau of Anti-Corruption should be free from executive influence in order to ensure progress in the right direction.
ii) The office of the Ombudsman must be established within a short time. The existing 1980 legislation needs to be amended.
iii) It is of paramount importance that an independent Human Rights Commission would be formed.
3. Ensuring the rule of law: Rule of law is a precondition for good governance. In this regard, highest priority should be given to the reform of police administration. For this, the following needs to be done:
i) Efficient police force could be established through proper training. For good governance, such a training program has to embody issues as human rights, citizens rights, and womens rights.
ii) Greater police-citizen interaction and checking of corruption within the police should be developed.
iii) Community policing could be introduced in Bangladesh.
4. Local government reform: It is necessary to carry out structural reform of local government framework and it’s processes. So,
i) Local government functions need to be clearly specified. Related to this is the issue of decentralization of power.
ii) Steps should be taken to ensure the accountability of government officials vis-a-vis the elected representatives.
iii) The government has to take decision to increase the revenue collection power of the local government. Furthermore, new sources of income need to be identified at the local govt. level and they should be given legal power to levy taxes.
5. Participation of women at different levels of administration-
There is considerable consensus that women’s representation through allocated seats is being demanded and following proposals need to be considered :
– Increase in the number of seats for women;
– Direct election of women representatives to the allocated seats;
– 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the total seats to be allocated by political parties by law for women candidates at general elections.
Sincere efforts in implementing the above mentioned programme can reinforce accountability, transparency and management functions of the government and administration. Although a lot of measures need to be taken for ensuring good governance but utmost importance need to be given to make the administration free from corruption, ensure peoples participation in politics and administration and after all, establish efficient and effective policing system.