Local Government in Bangladesh

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Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Local Government in Bangladesh
« on: June 10, 2013, 07:53:26 PM »
Local government is a vital organization for managing local economy and development and consolidating the democracy at the sub-national and grassroots level of any country. It is an integral part of the central government of a country, recognized or created under law for the management of local affairs of a human settlement, promoting pro-people and participatory development at the field level. Capable local institution is deemed as one of the fundamental pre-requisites for sustainable development of the country, which can share and promote people’s urge, aspiration and wisdom.
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2013, 07:54:21 PM »
Theoretical framework of Local Government:

In a general sense, local government is as the formulation and execution of collective action at the grassroots level designed by the central government. UN says-‘Local government refers to a political subdivision of national or state which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs including the power of imposing taxes, exact labor for proscribed purposes. The governing body of such an entity is elected or locally selected.’

According to encyclopedia of Social Science, ‘Local self-government is the government which has a territorial non-sovereign community, having or possessing the legal right to impose taxes and use of it and the necessary organization to regulate its own affairs.’

According to Graham, a good local government possesses five qualities:
1.   Participation
2.   Transparency
3.   Contestation
4.   Accountability
5.   Innovation
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2013, 07:55:50 PM »
Constitutional framework:

9. Promotion of local Government institutions:   
The State shall encourage local Government institutions composed of representatives of the areas concerned and in such institutions special representation shall be given, as far as possible, to peasants, workers and women.   

59.  Local Government   
(1) Local Government in every administrative unit of the Republic shall be entrusted to bodies, composed of persons elected in accordance with law.   (2) Everybody such as is referred to in clause (1) shall, subject to this Constitution and any other law, perform within the appropriate administrative unit such functions as shall be prescribed by Act of Parliament, which may include functions relating to-
(a) administration and the work of public officers;
(b) the maintenance of public order;
(c) the preparation and implementation of plans relating to public services and economic development.   
 
60.   Powers of local government bodies:
For the purpose of giving full effect to the provisions of article 59 Parliament shall, by law, confer powers on the local government bodies referred to in that article, including power to impose taxes for local purposes, to prepare their budgets and to maintain funds.   
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2013, 07:56:49 PM »
Historical Background of Local government:

Local Government government below or government as organized locally. Historically, local government was always there in Bengal. Only its forms differed from age to age. The ancient and medieval governments of Bengal were heavily dependent on village institutions, which made the structure of the local government. The village society was left to itself for its own governance. The king remained contented with its share in produce in the form of tax. There were state-sponsored institutions, such as village headmen and village councils of many denominations. These were instituted for double purposes: to collect tax and to keep the people together for keeping production going and for keeping the kingdom happy and prosperous. There is not enough record at our disposal to discuss in details about the actual nature of the local governance under the state-sponsored institutions like Gramin, Gramika, or gramapala, etc. It is quite possible that above the village level, there existed not local self-government but a local extension of the central authority, perhaps tempered by some degree of local consultation system through a social council system.
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2013, 07:57:43 PM »
Medieval Period:

Historians reckon the beginning of medieval period with the establishment of Turko-Afghan rule in Bengal from the 13th century. It is believed by many, but disputed by others, that administration of villages in medieval times was left to the PANCHAYETs. Each village had its own council or panchayet. It appointed or elected its own headman who served as a link between the village and the central government. The headman collected revenue from the cultivators and forwarded the same to the treasury. He was answerable for delays in revenue collection. A patwari or village accountant working under the supervision of the headman used to keep records of crops and revenue. The panchayets were generally entrusted with the task of looking after education, irrigation, religious practices and moral conduct of the villagers. Holding fairs and festivals, and maintenance of law and order were also their functions.
It is not clear whether the administrative units during the medieval period were the same as those in the ancient period, but it seems that revenue collection became more organised during the Mughal period and local administration was more geared up to that end.

During Mughal period there was four tiers of administrative body, to collect revenue.
1.   Sudhas- Province
2.   Sarker- District
3.   Maragana- Thana/Mohkoma
4.   Mahallas
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2013, 07:59:07 PM »
Colonial period:

The early period of the British rule did not much touch upon the structure of the existing local government system. It was through the permanent settlement that a new type of local governance in English model more or less was introduced replacing the traditional institutions. Pargana system was abolished, so was the panchayet system. The new civil and criminal justice and its adalat system became the basis of the local government. ZAMINDARs and other landholders were made the natural leaders of the society.
The zamindari institution, however, lost its potency in the later part of the nineteenth century. The end of EAST INDIA COMPANY rule in 1858 and parliamentary commitment to take the people of the country in partnership in phases led to many reforms leading to increasing participation of people in the local governance. Thus, government passed the Bengal Chowkidari Act of 1870. The Act tried to revive the traditional Panchayet System. It authorised the District MAGISTRATE to appoint a panchayet at the village level consisting of five members. The primary function of the panchayet was to appoint village watch-men called chowkidars for the maintenance of law and order. The panchayet could also assess and collect taxes from the villagers to pay the salaries of the chowkidars.
The most direct mode of western self governance was attempted by Viceroy LORD RIPON (1880-1884). His administration resolved in 1882 to introduce local self-governing institutions in phases. In implementing the resolution, the Bengal Council passed the Local Self-Government Act, 1885 under which a three-tier system of local government for rural areas was provided:

(i)   a District Board in each district,
(ii)   a Local Board in a sub-division of a district,
(iii)   a Union Committee for a group of villages.

The District Board was made the centre-piece in the local government system and entrusted with extensive powers and responsibilities. A Local Board acted as an agent of the District Board and could exercise only those powers delegated to it by the District Board. The Local Board acted as a supervising body of Union Committees and could delegate any responsibility to Union Committees which were designed to administer, on an average, an area of twelve square miles in the villages. Union Committees, consisting of not less than five or more than nine members, were to be elected from among the residents of the UNION.

The Act of 1919 initiated the second major attempt to create a network of self-government bodies in rural Bengal. The Act replaced existing Chowkidari, Panchayet and Union Committees by a new body called the Union Board. The Union Board was composed of not less than six but not more than nine members of whom two-thirds were elected and one-third nominated. Nominated members were chosen by the District Magistrate. Elected members were chosen from union residents who attained 21 years of age and had paid at least a rupee of land tax and at least another rupee as tax assessed by the new Board. After the election, the members elected a president and a vice-president from among themselves. The president was the chief executive of the Board. He could be removed from office by a no-confidence resolution passed by two-thirds of the members of the Board. Nominated members of the Union Board were to be chosen by the District Magistrate.

Primary functions of the Union Board were: (a) supervision of chowkidars, (b) maintenance of sanitation and public health, (c) maintenance of roads, bridges and waterways, (d) establishment and upkeep of schools and dispensaries at its discretion and (e) supply of information as and when needed by the District Board. The supervision and control over the Union Board was exercised by the CIRCLE OFFICER who served as a link between the District Board and the thana administration.
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2013, 08:01:04 PM »
Pakistan Period:

The colonial situation of local government persisted until 1959. A new experiment was tried by AYUB KHAN who was in favour of a kind of democracy called BASIC DEMOCRACIES which was to be characterised by authoritarian government at the top and qualified representative government at the local level.

The Basic Democracies Order was promulgated in 1959. East Pakistan was divided into 60,000 electoral units with an average population of 1070. The persons enlisted in the electoral roll for each electoral unit were required to elect from among themselves a person known as the elector for that unit. The electors of all electoral units in both the provinces were known as members of the 'electoral college'. These members played the political role of electing the President of the country and members of the National and Provincial Assemblies.

It had four tiers in the rural areas. From bottom to top, this consisted of Union Council, Thana Council, District Council and Divisional Council.

A Union Council generally consisted of ten elected members. The Council elected from amongst its members one chairman and one vice-chairman. The usual term of office of chairman, vice-chairman and members was five years. The vote of no-confidence passed against a chairman or a vice-chairman was not to be questioned in a court of law.

A Thana Council consisted of elected representatives as well as official members. The total number of official members of a Thana Council could not be more than the total number of representative members. The Thana Councils consisted of three categories of members, i.e. representative members, official members, and appointed members. Generally, 50 percent were representative and the rest 50 percent were official and appointed members.

The main function of the Thana Council was co-ordination of activities of Union Councils under its jurisdiction. All the chairmen of the Union Councils and Union Committees were required to be present in the monthly Thana Council meetings where they could discuss their problems. The SUB-DIVISIONAL OFFICER (SDO) found these meetings useful for ascertaining the problems of the outlying areas.
T
he District Council was the next tier of local government under the Basic Democracies Order. There was an obvious difference between the District Board and the District Council. The District Board was an elective body headed by an elected chairman and was independent of the bureaucracy at the District level. Under the Basic Democracies Order, the District Council was brought under the control of the bureaucracy. The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Collector was the ex-officio chairman of the District Council. All executive powers were vested in him.

Every Division had a Divisional Council. It was the highest tier among the rural local bodies. A Divisional Council was formed by official and non-official members. The number of Divisional Council members differed from Council to Council which was to be decided by the government. The total number of non-official members was not to be less than that of the total number of official members. The non-official members were elected from amongst an electoral college consisting of the members of the District Councils falling within the Division. The official members were the DEPUTY COMMISSIONERs (as chairmen of the District Councils) and a few division level officers.

The Divisional Council had no power of levying taxes. Government placed funds with the Divisional Council, which, in turn, sanctioned such funds to District Councils and other local bodies as grants. Thus it was an organ without any real function of local self-government.
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 08:04:10 PM »
Local government in Bangladesh:

The Bangladesh polity has been subjected to tremendous stresses ever since its independence in December 1971. Its governmental outlook underwent several changes at every change of regime, and the system of local government also underwent similar changes.

Mujib Regime:

President's Order 7 issued in 1972 by the AWAMI LEAGUE government headed by SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN dissolved all the existing local government bodies. The government appointed certain committees for performing the functions of these defunct bodies. Moreover, the names of the Union Council and District Council were changed to Union Panchayet (later remaned Union Parishad) and Zila Board (later renamed District Prishad), respectively. However, no such committees were appointed in the thana and division level.

After the assassination of President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the fall of Awami League government (August 1975) the development process relating to local government suffered a temporary setback.
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2013, 08:05:18 PM »
Zia Regime:

In 1976, the Local Government Ordinance (LGO) issued by the government of General ZIAUR RAHMAN made provisions for the formation of three types of rural local government: Union Parishad, Thana Parishad and Zila Parishad.

Ershad Regime:

In 1982, the military government headed by General HUSSAIN M ERSHAD constituted a ten-member committee for administrative reorganisation. Based on the committee's recommendations the government undertook major steps to reorganise the existing local bodies at thana level in particular. On 23 December 1982 the Local Government (Thana Parishad and Thana Administration Reorganisation) Ordinance was promulgated to introduce major changes with respect to the system of local government at the thana level. Under the reorganised set-up, thana was designated as the focal point of administration. Responsibility for all development activities at the local level was transferred to the Thana Parishad which was hub centre for development along with Union Parishad and Zila Parishad.
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2013, 08:07:23 PM »
BNP regime (1991-1996):

The government of Bangladesh Nationalist Party under BEGUM KHALEDA ZIA chose to change the upazila system and set up instead democratically designed decentralized structures at the appropriate levels. Nothing appreciable, however, was done during the five years of BNP rule. Elections to constitute fresh Union Parishads were held in 1992 in accordance with the provision of the Local Government (Union Parishad) Ordinance of 1983, but to constitute local bodies at other higher levels a bill to that end was submitted to Jatiya Sangsad in 1992. Unfortunately it remained a pending case in the Sangsad until the end of 1996. Therefore, local government reforms have remained in limbo throughout the period of BNP government.

SHEIKH HASINA (1996-01):

Since 1996 like its predecessors SHEIKH HASINA government also formed a Local Government Commission to suggest viable local bodies based on the principles of local democracy. Accordingly, a four- tier local government namely Gram Parishad, Union Parishad, Upazila Parishad and Zila Parishad was recommended by the Commission which is still in the process of implementation. In the mean time the Union Parishad has been constructed following its elections in 1997. To facilitate increased representation of the women folk one unique and unprecedented measure has been adopted in the form of their direct election in the three wards of the Union Parishad. The Seventh Jatiya Sangsad has approved the formation of the Upazila Parishad.
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2013, 08:13:35 PM »
BNP regime (2001-06):

During this period there were four tiers of administrative body; functions included public welfare, maintenance of law and order, revenue collection, development and adjudication.
(i)   Gram sarker
(ii)   Union Parishad
(iii)   Upazill Parishad
(iv)   Zilla Parishad

AWAMI LEAGUE regime (2008...):

At the present day, there were three tiers of administrative body like-
i)   Union Parishad
ii)   Upazill Parishad
iii)   Zilla Parishad


Functions of Local government:

The main functions included policy implementation, integration, public welfare, maintenance of law and order, revenue collection, development and adjudication.

a) Reserved Functions:
•   Police
•   Magistracy
•   Judiciary
•   Revenue

b) Development Functions:
•   Agriculture
•   Fishery
•   Water
•   Power
•   Horticulture
•   Forestry
•   Livestock
•   Social welfare










Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2013, 08:16:21 PM »
Various problems of Local government system in Bangladesh:

1.   Constitutional limitation
2.   Overlapping and overburden of functions
3.   Weak institutional capacity
4.   Resource constraints
5.   Lack of autonomy
6.   Political pressure on development
7.   Lack of political commitment
8.   Weak accountability and transparency
9.   Influenced of bureaucracy
10.   Low level community participation
11.   Monopoly role of central government
12.   Less participation of women in policy making stage
13.   Financial dependency on central government
14.   Political crimilization
15.   Monopoly role of parliamentary member
16.   Lack of proper cooperation and coordination
17.   Lack of sustainability of the local government system
18.   Misuse of power and public wealth
19.   Lack of visionary leadership
20.   Lack of proper ICT facilities
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2013, 08:17:55 PM »
Recommendations for development:

   Sustainability of the policy
   Proper patronization of government
   Proactive role of policy makers
   Ensured sufficient allocation for development
   Ensued people’s participation
   Proper development of women
   Application of law, policy
   Make proper coordination and cooperation
   Institutional capacity building
   Positive role of some actors (NGO, Civil Society/ Think tanks, political Parties, Govt. Agencies etc)
   Organized sufficient training
   Ensured responsiveness to community needs
   Organized election in time
   Political Commitment and will
   Properly decentralization
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University
Dhaka-1207

Offline AbdurRahim

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2015, 08:36:01 AM »
Good

Offline Farhadalam

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Re: Local Government in Bangladesh
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2015, 10:47:52 AM »
Good collection.