The Challenges of Local Government Institutions in Bangladesh

1. Local Government Ideas and Practices:

Most people think that public representatives are the local guardians who work with them and that they can share with them a variety of personal, social, religious and political ideas and beliefs. With the strength and quantity of government activities increased, the responsibilities and obligations of local governments have increased several times. The biggest challenge facing people around the world is the place. Therefore, the best way to solve these problems is through local initiatives and local leadership, wake up and mobilize the people. By direct participation, the authorities closest to citizens or citizens themselves can contribute significantly to solving public problems. This is the form of local government. Local governments make decisions closer to the people. Strong local government systems can ensure good governance through transparency, accountability, effective participation and equal opportunities for all. Above all, this system ensures the development of the grassroots. Strong local government institutions strengthen democracy, ensure good governance and at the same time accelerate the pace of political and socio-economic development of the country.

1.1. Local government's new view:

Local government to community governance as the basis, focus on citizen-centered local governance. It is the principal agent of the citizen, the leader and the keeper share the rule of the local voters responsible and responsible. It is the purchaser of local services, the facilitator of local governance network mechanisms, government providers and coordinators of entities outside the government, conflict mediators and social capital developers. It is an external focus and competition; alternative service provides framework for enthusiastic practitioners; open, fast, flexible and innovative. It is a risk-taker within limits and is autonomous in tax, expenditure, regulation and administrative decision-making. It has accountability for managing flexibility and results. It is participatory; and through direct democratic provisions, citizenship charters and performance budgets, efforts are made to strengthen citizens' voices and opt out. It focuses on winning trust, creating space for civic dialogue, serving citizens, and improving social outcomes. It is financially prudent; work is better, less costly, inclusive and participatory. It overcame market and government failures. Local government in a globalized and localized world

1.2. Citizen Centered Local Governance:

Reform of local governance institutions requires agreement on basic principles.

* Responsive Governance: This principle is intended to enable governments to do the right thing by providing services that are in line with the preferences of citizens.

* Responsible governance: Governments should also do the right thing, that is, prudently manage their financial resources. It should win the trust of residents by working better and reducing costs, and by managing the financial and social risks of the community. It should strive to improve the quality and quantity of public services and access to public services. In order to do this, it needs to benchmark the best local government.

* Responsible Governance: Local governments are accountable to their constituents. It should abide by appropriate safeguards to ensure that its integrity serves the public interest. Legal and institutional reforms may be required to enable local governments to address accountability reform between elections, such as the Citizen's Charter and the recall requirements of public officials.

* Empowerment of citizens by means of a rights-based approach (Direct Democracy, Citizen's Charter)

* Civilian-dominated governance is characterized by the following:

* Bottom-up accountability results;

* Assessing government performance as a facilitator of citizenship as a supplier network for governors, taxpayers and public service consumers.

This method conceptualizes the four models of local government:

* A local government, assuming that it knows that the local government does not know how to do it. It is best to maximize the welfare of its inhabitants in accordance with the merciful autocratic pattern.

* Local governments that provide services consistent with local residents' willingness to pay conform to the fiscal exchange model.

* A local government that specializes in providing public services to promote social objectives is in line with the fiscal transfer model.

* A local government captured by self-interested bureaucrats and politicians conforms to the Leviathan model, which is consistent with public opinion

. In recent years, there have been two interrelated criteria in the NPM literature, first of all to determine what the local government should do, and the other is to establish a new public management system. In this way, the local government, as an independent promoter of creating public values:

How they should do better. In discussing the first criterion, the literature assumes that citizens are principals but have multiple roles as governors (owner-licensors, voters, taxpayers, community members); activist producers (service providers, co-producers, self-helpers) Others take action); and consumers (customers and beneficiaries). In this regard, emphasis was placed on the role of the Government as an agent of the people, serving the public interest and creating public values. This concept is directly related to local and municipal services, so it is possible to measure this improvement and to have a sense of belonging. This concept is useful in assessing conflicts and perplexing choices in the use of local resources. This concept also helps to define the role of government, especially local governments. It outlines those who argue that the public sector is crowding out private sector investment and those arguing that the public sector has succeeded in creating an enabling environment for the private sector, in addition to providing basic municipal and social services.

2. History of Local Government Institutions in Bangladesh:

Bangladesh shares its history with the Indian subcontinent. In India, the British in 1793 for the first time in the local government and local governments to establish a legal form. But before that, there was an identical local village system in India, in which Gran Panjayette (the local government village level) played an important role. The progressive development of the system, the introduction of the 1842 "Bangladesh Act" and 1850 "Municipal Law." The local government system formed a stronger foundation after the establishment of 118 municipal councils in Bangladesh in 1947, which included provisions on updated social arbitration systems, protection activities and the appointment of choukidars to maintain village and town security.

Bangladesh, after its independence in 1971, stressed the need for a representative local government (Chapter 3, Article 59). Article 59 provides for the establishment of elected local institutions in each administrative unit – the district, Uppachula (the street) and the coalition (the current lowest level of local government). In short, these institutions are locally elected people to manage local affairs. By definition, local governments are democratic and autonomous and accountable to the people.

Bangladesh has two types of local government environment, rural and urban. At the rural level, the existing system provides a three-tiered structure, namely the Zila (district) Parishad (office), the Upazila Parishad and the Union area (UP). At the city level, the six largest cities have the status of urban corporations, while the rest are called Pourashavas or cities. These institutions have a large number of functions and responsibilities associated with civil and community well-being and local development.

UP is responsible for performing 48 duties. Of which 38 are optional and 10 are mandatory. These responsibilities fall into four categories. These are civic responsibilities (building roads, bridges, etc.), taxation, maintenance of law and order, and finally development work. Despite the importance and potential of local government institutions, they remain weak in Bangladesh. The past few years have shown that they have become weaker

3. Challenges for local government institutions in Bangladesh:

3.1. Public Administration Attitudes to Local Government:

Bureaucrats resist the fear of change, change or disrupt the status quo, and their resistance is primarily due to fear of disrupting organizational communication. According to Henry Frank Goodnow, the bureaucracy is a double-edged sword, which can be a good or evil force. It may promote democracy or totalitarianism. It may be fear or respect or just acceptance. Joseph LaPalomba commented that the presence of strong bureaucracies in many new countries tends to hamper the growth of strong administrators, political parties, legislatures, voluntary associations and other political institutions, which is essential for a viable democratic government

Bennis sums up some of the shortcomings of the bureaucracy, which are also fully adapted to the characteristics of Bangladesh's bureaucracy:

* Bureaucracy can not adequately allow individuals to grow and develop mature personality.

* It does not take into account the "informal organization" and unexpected unexpected problems.

* Its control and authority system desperately out of date.

* There is no judicial process.

* It does not have sufficient means to resolve differences and conflicts between ranks, especially between functional groups.

* Because of hierarchical decisions, communication (and innovative ideas) is thwarted or distorted.

* Bureaucrats' total human resources are not being used for reasons such as distrust, fear or retaliation.

* It can not assimilate new technology or the influx of scientists into the organization

3.2. Participation of the People:

The Constitution of Bangladesh means that people are directly involved in the formation and management of local institutions.

However, in reality, the spirit of participation in local institutions is not always adequately maintained. Bangladesh society is basically a hierarchical system based on a person's social status, caste, status, educational background, qualifications and gender. The hierarchical principle in interpersonal relations is, and has been considered necessary and morally right, for centuries in rural Bangladesh, and even among Muslims. In a hierarchical system, roles and responsibilities related to others are defined in detail. Failure to follow these rules can lead to confusion and conflict.

Sponsor-Customer Relationships Bundle members of a group with specific specifications and values. These specifications define role definitions and role expectations, that is, the roles of customers and customers. The concept of obedience and respect for customers' customers is an important value for a hierarchical society such as Bangladesh. The patterns of rights and obligations maintain order and balance in our society. Superiors in society should give orders and recommendations to those of lower status. Low-grade people are considered children, they have no chance. The customer or parent-child relationship developed over the centuries taught the superior to subordinate harshness and command, and taught his subordinates to respect the fear of social superiors. Because of the power of the community distance, subordinates seek higher direction and guidance. Subordinates or lower-level people in society are frustrated when they are not favored by their superiors. In practice, people who are loyal to superior are given preferential treatment (or even excessive), and those who are not detached and discriminated against

The dynamics of social beliefs and behaviors inhibit the participation of the common group of decision- Responsible for their activities.

3.3. Structural Defects:

Decentralization of political and administrative levels at the local government level has the potential to centralize decision-making and bring people closer to public governance, with a weakening of power abuse, accountability and a strong fight against corruption. The most recent United Nations survey has shown that the use of detailed auditing systems, corruption committees, etc., without due regard to the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, civil liberties, decentralization of economic and political power with little or no impact on corruption, a little. Corruption reappears when people lose confidence in local governments. Food-for-work or disaster relief projects are often abused by local leaders; even VGF (vulnerable group feeding) cards, their loved ones and friends, rather than those who really need it

Human Participation And the quality is variable. The most direct participation is the opportunity to vote in local bodies during the election. But elections are held from time to time. Since its independence in 1971, successive governments have tried to use the local government system to safeguard their political interests.

On the structural or constitutional shortcomings of the local government, it can be argued that the state is being governed by a constitutional democratic system and that local governments are adopting presidential systems. In the local government, all the power around a person. This impeccable power of a person causes corruption and despotism in local government institutions, where the UP or the chairman of the municipal government or the mayor of the city company enjoys all the power. UP and members of municipal or city corporations have little or no effect on the implementation of any development projects or programs on the local

They fear that local administration may lapse and lawyers may eventually

Recent National Local Government (NILG) and Overseas Volunteer Service (VSO) Bangladesh jointly conducted a study entitled "Exploring the Standing Committee of the UP (19459003)

Recent National Institute of Local Government Challenges and potentials "to explore the role of the Standing Committee in the UPs decision-making process. A study published on 6 May 2009 noted that 60 per cent of the committees were not functioning and identified some of the main reasons why the Standing Committees were not functioning, such as the indifference of the UP Chairperson, ignorance of members and lack of resources, and appropriate monitoring systems . The report said that Chairman UP was in the lead in making the decision and did not see the Commission as very important in that regard.

3.4. Lack of funding and impact on the use of funds:

UP receives most of the funding from the Annual Development Plan (ADP). This funding system is fraught with loopholes that have caused serious setbacks in development activities. ADP funds are amortized, called block grants. The block authorization does not flow directly to the UP; it is directed through the Upazila. At the Upazila level, interference from management usually slows traffic and hinders development plans. Allocation criteria include population, area and backwardness. When management controls the allocation process, it tends to be biased.

Distribution is also vulnerable to political interference. Parliamentarians interfere with parliamentary affairs, particularly in development activities, and undermine the independence of the general population. Members often decide on development activities to be undertaken, and most of the time they have not consulted with local elected representatives or assessed actual needs. Ruling party members are often more in the UPs development planning.

In addition, the UP authorities usually do not know how much money they are going to receive, which makes planning for the future development of work unrealistic. If the installment does not arrive on time, the development project will stop, which is usually the case. Most UPs will receive installments at the end of the fiscal year.

ADP's allocation to UP is less than 2% of the annual budget. For development activities, this amount is considered insufficient. The maximum amount of development projects to implement is only 50,000 baht, which is not enough. In addition, unless a bribe is paid, the fund will not be released, as local UP members claim.


The new Upazila Pashishad Act passed by the current Awami coalition government provides that the members of Parliament will be advisers to Upazila Parishad. According to the law, no development plan can be taken or any program, without the relevant MPs' recommendations, Upazila Parishads can be implemented, and even any communication between Upazilas and the government must be notified to MPs. This behavior is clearly contrary to the concept of modern government, its legislative, administrative and judicial branches are interdependent. Although the sound separation between the branches of their powers is stronger to ensure checks and balances, the government tends to merge the branches into one. In principle, legislators should enact laws, budget allocations, debate policy issues, ratify foreign treaties and, above all, parliamentary oversight of executive action through the Standing Committee. This is in contradiction with Article 59 of the Constitution, which empowers locally elected local affairs.

In 2008, a judge ruled that the judgments were administered by local institutions, which condemned the democratic spirit of local institutions. "The local government agencies in each administrative unit of the Republic are responsible for the administration and work of local public officials, for the maintenance of local order and for the functioning of other State-building development activities, and the Ministers or members of parliament may renounce elected members of the local government bodies, It further states that "while the executive government of Chapter II will administer the administration, development and other ancillary matters of the State as a whole, the grassroots people shall also be responsible for the development of their own respective fields and the establishment of local government bodies,

In another judgment of 1992, the Supreme Court held that the "parliamentary process of the development and administration of parliaments, which is a part of the process of national construction, which is responsible for their self-reliance and self- It is not possible to legislate freely for local governments and to ignore articles 59 and 60. It further explains the functions of local government bodies … "Local elections, public accountability procedures, independent and important sources of income, clear areas of independent action and certainty of power and obligations, and conditions of exercise."

According to the law, at least in theory, the Upazila Parishads have lost the character of local government bodies, since in the name of counseling, MPs are authorized to control agency activities.

Expectations of an effective local government:

In fact, what Bangladesh expects is that after a party is overwhelmingly voted on, they try and monopolize power, Can be obtained, the appointment of loyal people, important positions, and then seem to do everything possible to tarnish their names. The current government respects its electoral pledge to strengthen local government and also abuses its mandate. It is hoped that the present Government will be able to give further powers to the Chairman of the Upazila by changing the previous Upazila Ordinance, but in reality the government has abolished the entrustment of the local government

The present law has already seen a row in Ulazila This disagreement, between the chairman and the parliamentarians, is likely to affect the chain of party leadership, which will further destabilize the political arena of the country. If parliamentary offices in the Upazila Parishad complex, Parishad will face serious difficulties, it may also disrupt the local development. Parliamentarians intervene in the operation of local government is openly stated that legislators want to participate in the development of Upazila level because a lot of money circulates through local development circulation

A newly elected group of Upazila Parishad representatives in Jatiya (country) The Press Club's Opinion Exchange meeting threatened to announce legislators in the complex area of ​​Upazila Parishd, if the Upazila Parishad Act of 2009 was not immediately lifted. They also organized a forum entitled "Forum of Chairman of the Upazila of Bangladesh". About 250 UP representatives attended the meeting, decided to set up within three months Forum Board. The meeting hosts also threatened to launch a difficult campaign to meet their demands for the abolition of the Upazila Parishad Act 2009 and to ensure the democratic rights of UP delegates. They are concerned that the provisions of the Act may be used by legislators to abuse power and condone corruption. They added that such conduct would create obstacles to the free development of local administrations.

3.6. Election of honest and qualified persons in a free and fair environment:

It is an important task for us to elect honest and competent people in the next election to promote social progress. We note that black money and muscle power have dominated the election of the last 15 years. What do we expect of those who will come to power through such a system? Expecting them to have any good is of no use. The use of money is usually in the local government elections vote to buy tickets. The accumulated culture of rich and influential members, irrespective of their criminal record, creates a private army by providing illegal facilities and protection, which dominate society. This provides a view of the political structure of wealth and strength, and is of greater importance in the context of today's society in terms of the effectiveness of elections and other political actions. Due to hierarchical social institutions and taboos, the lack of equality, social justice and strict laws, as well as the existence of muscle power and black money, and due to political pressures from above, we almost see almost the same person or the same negative or not positive Of the people, in the local government agencies elected.

3.7. Central government intervention:

Local government leaders and representatives now only equate to being elected, without meaningful representation mechanisms or functions. Local government agencies do not actually have the authority to plan and implement development actions or budget independently. UP chairmen and members of the voters are quick to realize that they have little power to serve the people and work for local development. Important services such as education, health and social welfare are concentrated in the Upazila level. Leaders have little managerial role in these matters, but manage these services at the Upazila level of management.

* Local governments can not be strong enough in a country where the local government sector is too strong and intends to take control of it. – Dr. Mahabbat Khan (DU), University of Dhaka

* It seems that local government institutions seem to be the former organization of the ruling party. They should be independent, local government committees, and not any ministries, should control them. – Dr. Salahuddin M. Alimuzzaman, DU

* Under the Constitution, governments should encourage local government agencies, not control them. But some local government agencies are administered by administrative officials, which is unconstitutional. Although the law allows local government agencies to achieve tax, but we can not do so because of administrative orders. – Advocate Azmatullah Khan, Chairman of the Bangladesh Municipal Council

* "The people of Bangladesh are shocked when the government increases its control over local governments against local governments' commitment to strengthening local governments." – Manlete Jonno Executive Director Shaheen Anam

* The government does not want to retain the local government because it wants to manage the lower levels of government with legislators and their own people. – Chairman Matiur Rahman Tapan of UP said in a round table

* This is not a struggle between parliamentarians and local representatives, but is essentially a question of political culture. – Mahmudur Ra ​​hman Manna, Organization Secretary, Awami Union

3.8. A number of core questions revealed by Professor Aminuzzaman:

* lack of comprehensive planning for decentralization;

* There was no broader consultation with the population before the development of the decentralization strategy;

* Lack of mobilization of people's support in the reform process;

* overemphasis on separations in decentralized programs;

* Expansion of bureaucracy in the name of decentralization;

* Bureaucratic dominance remains even after decentralization;

Trends in public appeal for decentralization and strangulation of genuine sincerity efforts remain the order of the day in Bangladesh and in most other developing countries.
* The power of the people's representatives and their power are inadequate; Although perennial bureaucratic resistance is the main culprit in this scam, conspiracy and meek political leaders can not deny their share

Prof. Tofael Ahmed (Professor of Chittagong University) and Dr. Niaz Ahmed Khan Banglapedia ( said that the delegation of authority in Bangladesh was not encouraging. In their words, the process of decentralization in Bangladesh is characterized by: (a) domination and full dependence by the central / national government; (b) no representation; (c) serious under-mobilization of local resources;

Professor Aminuzzaman further argues that local government institutions appear to be the front organizations of the ruling party. They should be independent, a local government committee, rather than any ministries, should control them.

Regrettably, the Upazilla level of the local government of Bangladesh, as a strong local government institution, is not only unable to lose its supremacy in its constituencies because of the resistance of elected legislators Put into operation

3.9. The most important is that, paradoxically, the culture of accountability stems from the interaction between civil society and the appropriate institutions, which usually must be shaped by powerful central politics.

Power to create. The evidence from Bangladesh, however, is more vague on this point, suggesting that while decentralization is an important catalyst for association activities, the widespread servant-master relationship between villagers, bureaucrats and committee representatives is not easy to support complaints of undesirable conduct, Accountability.


* The hegemony of parliamentarians for the strengthening of local government bodies, especially those recently enacted, must be reduced.

* To make the local government unit more functional, we need a decentralization policy in the light of our Constitutions.

* The political governments should not enact any laws, which undermine the spirit of the Constitution, or violates any articles.

* For increasing income of the local government bodies, land transfer fees can be increased, the local government bodies can be authorized to use jetties, water bodies and khaslands (state owned lands) and impose tax on electric poles, mobile phone towers And bill boards, will significantly increase the income of the local government bodies.

* Strengthening local government is the primary objective of the upazila system. Thus, agriculture, land administration, health and family planning, primary education, rural electrification, poultry, fisheries, live stocks, horticulture, social forestry, milk production, Marketing, etc. should be transferred to the Upazila Parishad. There should be, in fact, more devolution of power and delegation of authority to the Upazila Parishad.

* Large allocation from the ADP can be given for meeting financial needs of the local government authority, which will build their capacity and will ensure grassroots development.

* The UPs can be authorized to construct roads, culverts and bridges in their respective areas.

* Honorarium of elected chairmen and members need to be enhanced, and an environment can be created so that honest and competent people could be elected.

* The current Upazila Act should be amended immediately.

5. Conclusion:

Experiences in other parts of the world

Show that the closer the authorities and resources are to the people, the greater the benefits they bring for society. In Bangladesh, local government structures remain weak, posing as a major obstacle in achieving the goal of poverty alleviation programs. Local government as a political The state to ensure development and public participation in development activities is far from being an efficient tool of governance in Bangladesh. Being mostly poor and illiterate, especially at the grassroots, the people hardly go to bureaucrats with their problems because they are afraid to approach them. As, they approach the local public representatives, whom they consider as local guardians well aware of their needs and feelings. But, no step was ever made to train them up. Elected local bodies in the administrative units in fact ensure effective participation of the People in decisions that affect them, and this participation is a prerequisite for creating a democratic polity at all levels, which will deepen its roots. If people 's voices are heard, and their opportunities of participation are upheld, democracy can be strengthened . If local government bodies are not strong and well functioning, development at the grassroots level can not be ensured. To materialize the dream of building a leading Bangladesh free from poverty, building a strong local government is a must. As such, bringing about reforms in The local government is now the demand of the time. The Charter of Change or Vision 2021, to turn Bangladesh into a respectable nation with the transformation of political culture and making the society corruption free, will be difficult to achieve unless a strong, honest and Dedicated local level governance system emerges to support the central government.