What should be axiomatic, is an oxymoron instead

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The constitution of Bangladesh recognizes the inculcation of democratic values, human rights, human security, and participatory development.  A broad consensus on the need to improve governance exits along with the recognition, that poor governance is impediment to current development efforts of the government. In the last decade, good governance was closely associated with public sector reform. Within the public management discipline or profession, it has been regarded as an aspect of the new paradigm in public administration. Good governance is a public management system, in which all sections of people of the society are directly involved in decision making, policy formulation and implementation of related socio-economic development programs. Participation; transparency; accountability, rule of Law, equality; responsiveness / responsibility; efficiency; professionalism, supervision and vision are the main principles of good governance. Democracy is positively correlated with good governance. Democracy, good governance and modernity cannot be imported from outside of a country.

People in Bangladesh are facing different types of problems. The most indispensable problem is poor governance in public sectors. Good governance a chance to grow economically and professionally. E governance and e economic governance paves the way for good governance. The process of good governance allows public to discharge their responsibilities and duties accordingly, have their rights to become empowered. It ensures the transparent use of public funds, strengthens anti-corruption, encourages growth of the private sector and corporate governance, promotes responsive administration, effective delivery of public services, and helps to establish rule of law. Good governance also facilitates state and local government policies, pro- poor reforms as well as sound macroeconomic management and involves the poor and NGOs in the planning and implementation of programs. Good governance a chance to good economy and professionalism. Major donors and international financial institutions are increasingly basing their aid and loans on the condition that ensures good governance.

Despite various odds in administering good governance, Bangladesh has made some progress in the following fields:  The country is making gradual progress in some reform initiatives in the following field’s e.g.  Formulation of Right to Information Act, establishment of Anti Corruption Commission (ACC),  Human Rights Commission, increase in the number of print and electronic media, new pay scale for government officials, adoption of e governance,  introduction of using internet in day to day official work and keeping computer based record and data in public sector organizations .

Bad Governance: The main causes

• Bureaucratic administration is highly centralized and it lacks in people’s participation transparency and accountability.

• Inadequate training and orientation of the elected representatives lead to lack of awareness about their role and responsibilities. Many often also lack in necessary skill and positive attitudinal changes.

• Committee at various levels usually does not function. Facilitation skill to steer council and committee meeting inadequate.

• Concept of providing services to people largely remains absent and lack of transparency is a common phenomenon.

• Agencies becoming ineffective and powerless due to deficit democratic culture, politicization of administration and non transparent decision making.

• Level of public expenditure is usually high and procedures for accountability are not properly followed. Undue pressure from trade unions is another manifestation.

• Corruption has engulfed the entire society. The weakness of the anti corruption Commission and its lack of independence have been so inherent and endemic.

• Human rights and women participation is curtailed in many cases.

• Deficit in vocational ethics and moral weakness in individuals.

An integrated effort of state, government, commercial organizations, productive private sector, mobilized civil society and people at large is needed to have good governance in public sector. The recommended tasks are as follows:

• An Administrative Reformation Commission should be set up and the commission should implement its recommendations phase wise on yearly basis.

• Functional independence and autonomy of the Anticorruption Commission is to be ensured, so that it can provide security and protection to people.

• Establishing integrity in judiciary and public service. Law and judicial functions should be done in a neutral perspective.

• As a part of good governance, all agencies should be reviewing, regulations and cleaning up those that may be outdated, redundant and unnecessary.

• Existing legal and instrumental facilities regarding protection of human rights should be strengthened.

• Promoting voice and participation of the civil society, particularly the poor and disadvantaged groups towards a transparent and open governance

• Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It is self defense. Its patriotism. Both the government and the people at large must come together to combat corruption.

• Women’s empowerment needs to be ensured by the government by eliminating all types of discrimination against women and implementing Women Development policy 2011.

• Need based training and advocacy programs for all concerned should be an integral part of all endeavors for improving good governance. Training for professionalism with modules regarding accountability, transparency leadership and ethical values should be earmarked.

• Ensuring Transparency and accountability in administration and in public procurement.

• Punishment for  poor performance and reward for good performance, on the basis of appropriate performance appraisal  should be rigidly applicable to all appointed officials;

• Conflict between management and employees should be solved in a way to avoid misunderstanding and distrusts.

• In the words of Piyush Goyal “The speed of decision making is the essence of good governance.”Hence, an administrator should be accustomed to quick and correct decision making.

• Finally, developing ethical values as per religious norms, having fear of the Almighty and belief in reward and punishment for good/ bad works.

Though good governance is a potential tool for proper administrative and financial reforms, but there is no doubt that the question of good governance is an endless complexity. It requires working toward common ground. Human beings prefer prestige above everything. It is not possible for officials to work heartedly in dreadful situation along with mental turmoil. For the interest of the government, it is necessary to keep administrative machineries free from terror so that, they can discharge their duties in a free and fair manner.

Political insight of government will be a major factor to improve public management system and strengthening good governance. Public friendly political leaders, honest and   efficient officers are needed to establish good governance. Moreover, those who will shoulder the responsibility of administering good governance are likely to have sacrificing motive and daunting courage. But real challenges to administer good governance lie in its transition so that, the insights coming from good governance begin to be translated in to policies and practices that really benefit the whole nation.

M. Shamsul Islam, Former Deputy Director Bangladesh Rural Development Institute(BRDTI) Sylhet.

  • Issue 3
  • Vol 35
  • DhakaCourier

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