Has The Bureaucracy Gone Overboard?
October 16th, 2020 at 4:57 pm
Has The Bureaucracy Gone Overboard?

by Omer Selim Sher in Ottawa,

The bureaucracy in Bangladesh has become the cause of the new headache for the government. The bureaucrats have now become a sensitive pressure group. They now seem to have defeated the CBA leader in a tactic of creating pressure with an ultimatum.

The conflict between the administration and the people’s representatives is an old issue. In a democratic system, this conflict creates balance by creating accountability. But many times, this conflict goes beyond etiquette. As has happened in Faridpur.

There are laws to control such situations, there is justice system. But, if any bureaucrat or people’s representatives’ group uses pressure tactics then it is tantamount to distrusting the state. It is also a violation of the rules of discipline of the employees of the Republic.

Bureaucracy has been on the rise in Bangladesh for the last few days. Many bureaucrats now seem to have become ”more Awami League than the Awami Leaguer itself.” After the ruling Awami League came to power in 2008, a section of bureaucrats competed to get themselves labelled as pro-Awami League.

One bureaucrat, who wrote an emotional poem about Ziaur Rahman, became the information secretary. When his story was leaked, he had to move. But at that time there was an epidemic of bureaucrats who suddenly turned into pro-Awami League elements. This trend has now grown even more. But it should not have happened. Because, bureaucrats are employees of the republic. Not an activist of any political party.

After that the bureaucrats taking the role of a politician started increasing. Many bureaucrats continue to interfere in the affairs of the Awami League and the committee. In 2008 the Awami League was relatively new and the bureaucracy’s authority increased with the opportunity of a new cabinet. The bureaucrats have a semi-political character and take advantage of promotions and salary increases. They established their own monopoly power over all independent, sovereign and constitutional institutions.

After retirement, either on contract basis, or somewhere in the competition goes to get the chairman, members, and other positions. Bangladesh’s state-owned banks are now owned by former bureaucrats. The government also took the policy of keeping the bureaucrats ‘satisfied’ by meeting all their tastes and pleasures. The government has been pursuing a policy of appeasing bureaucrats for the past decade, considering that if the bureaucrats are in favor, the government can work safely.

 It is high time that the government and the Awami League president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should quickly take the reins of the uncontrolled bureaucratic horse.


Omer Sher is a retired Professor of Economics at Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada and a researcher on politics in South Asia.