Thursday, June 23 2022

Developing countries of the world began to take various activities for economic development in the sixties. After five decades, different countries have reached different stages of development.

Five decades after the independence of Bangladesh, it has reached a satisfactory stage of development. Although it faces a huge challenge with a large population in a small territory, Bangladesh has become a “model” for other developing countries by overcoming many ups and downs.

The contribution of the various state policies, strategies and activities behind this is undeniable. The role of the peasants, workers, traders and especially the general public of the country was very important.

However, in a state system, it is not possible to manage and implement activities without governmental, semi-governmental and private sector organizations, call it development activities or any other socio-economic activity.

Bangladesh is now at a crossroads of socio-economic development. Along with economic development, we need to make appropriate arrangements for social development, various aspects of people’s lives, such as health, communication and civil rights.

The main development strategy so far has been to achieve rapid economic growth. This has led to the development of various sectors of the economy. But with it came income inequality and wealth inequality. This is one of our main challenges.

Lately, the Covid-19 has posed huge challenges. Due to the pandemic, the incomes of poor and marginalized people have declined. A huge population has been left unemployed, which means that new poor are added to the pool of impoverished population.

Efforts to overcome this situation require comprehensive and integrated socio-economic development.

Satisfactory and lasting solutions can be found through four main processes: integrating our people, especially the poor and marginalized, into the mainstream of the economy; Guarantee the rights of the poor and marginalized to the benefits of development, in particular growth, so that they are not unfairly deprived; Ensuring the participation of the general public at different levels of administration and politics; Ensuring a people-centered public administration.

The main point of this article is the fourth process.

First, we need to understand the characteristics of a people-centered public administration. The four characteristics are: First, participatory governance of the population; Second, it will be efficient administration; Third, there must be honesty, dedication and a sense of discipline; Fourth, the administrator must be selfless and sensitive to people.

In order to have these four characteristics, the person involved in public administration must be well educated and trained and qualified in performance. But through education and training, “technical skills” cannot be acquired. The rest of the functionalities must be acquired through what we call “soft skills”.

The ‘soft skills’ and qualities are usually acquired by people through discussion, interaction, teamwork and from examples and case studies, etc., which are continuous and usually a lot. more informal. It can often be drawn from the advice, experience and work ethic of senior officials.

In the case of Bangladesh, we see that the importance and interest of “soft skills” in public administration, especially in the public sector, are relatively low. On the other hand, education and training, largely institutionalized, are predominant.

The above characteristics, however, cannot be automatically instilled in people and society. This requires addressing three important issues: the institutional structure (system); The right process for everyone to participate; Active people, i.e. people in administration, employees of civil society organizations and people carrying out commercial and commercial activities.

These three questions and the four characteristics mentioned above will make “people-centered public administration”.

Bangladesh needs to move forward with regard to its role and the various aspects of public administration discussed above.

One of the hallmarks of this century is that no state can function as an isolated island. The impact of global trade, business and technology has hit every state. Added to this are the call for social development and poverty reduction, the necessary institutional reform and the market economy, as well as the need for a free flow of information and the introduction of new technologies.

The current pandemic has resulted in stagnation in all sectors of the state, including economic, social and administrative. Everyone is busy and anxious trying to prevent the pandemic by combining life and livelihood.

Three other aspects required efficient and people-centered administration. These are: Moving from a low middle income country to a high middle income country; To be considered as a developing country and, later, as a developed country; Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

State public administration is very important to take Bangladesh from the present situation to a more advanced stage and build an equitable and social state by overcoming all uncertainties and weaknesses.

Seven concrete steps are essential in making state public administration people-oriented.

These are: (A) Decentralization of administration: distribution of responsibilities between different geographical levels and different organizations through deconcentration, deconcentration and delegation of the center; (B) Strengthening of local government institutions: ensuring the effectiveness of local government institutions in meeting the diverse needs of human life, including administration, economic activities, education, health, social development, protection civic in accordance with various articles of the Constitution; (C) Accountability of public administration: Two particular aspects are needed – transparency and public hearing of issues and policies; (D) Liaise with concerned citizens motivated by social conscience; Above all, give importance to the overall opinion of the political representatives of those in charge of policy development. However, it should be noted that all persons in public administration should be completely free from the influence of political parties; (E) Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of public administration: by increasing the quantity of work of qualified administrators and increasing the quality of work, the public will obtain satisfactory public services; (F) Access to information on the activities of the public administration. The public needs to be informed regularly and accurately by reducing confidentiality on the administration; (G) Regulation should prevail. The use of discretionary power by bureaucrats should be kept to a minimum. This will reduce corruption and opacity in the administration.

This article gives some ideas on the basic problems that have arisen today. By attacking them, the public administration will be ready to move Bangladesh forward to establish a true welfare state in the near future.

The author is a former central bank governor.


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