Bloated bureaucracy eats into govt funds

August 31, 2013

A total of 443 officers on special duty (OSD) in the civil administration are virtually without work and the government has to spend Tk. 2.90 crore per month as part of their salaries and emoluments. Sources said over 7 per cent of bureaucrats out of a total of 5,739 have been approaching the public administration ministry to get postings for the last few years. These “out of work” bureaucrats include three secretaries, 40 additional secretaries, 151 joint secretaries, 159 deputy secretaries, and as many as 90 senior assistant and assistant secretaries.
A senior official in the public administration ministry told The Independent that the officials were made OSD on the perception of their being pro-BNP and pro-Jamaat. Some junior officials were also made OSD for study abroad, the official said on condition of anonymity.
The official said that the government could post an official as OSD as “punishment” for their alleged involvement in irregularities and corruption.
Most of the OSDs, including the secretaries, additional secretaries, joint secretaries and deputy secretaries, are not likely to get posting in the civil administration in the near future, he said. “We do not know what fate awaits the OSDs,” he added.
The OSDs themselves said they did not know why they were not given administrative responsibilities and how long they would have to remain as such.An OSD of the rank of secretary said on condition of anonymity that he did not know why the government made him an OSD a few months ago. “The government should give me a posting as early as possible. I am capable of serving in the civil administration and I am not biased towards any political party. I am a government servant,” he said. It is also noteworthy that the
authorities have not issued identity cards to these officials and they have to enter the secretariat by showing temporary passes issued by the home ministry.
Even as these OSDs are impatient for postings, a total of 1,825 posts of secretary, senior assistant secretary and the assistant secretary in different ministries and divisions are lying vacant following this massive promotion spree. Of the posts, three posts of secretaries, 892 posts of senior assistant secretaries and 930 for assistant secretaries are lying vacant.So far, the government has promoted about 1,700 officers to ranks such as deputy secretary, joint secretary, additional secretary, secretary and the senior secretary, in many cases bypassing seniority. It is also alleged that the public administration ministry did not promote a number of officials for pro-BNP and pro-Jamaat leanings.Due to these “illogical” promotions, there is a surplus of 1,290 officials in the ranks of additional secretary, joint secretary, and deputy secretary in the civil administration, requesting the higher authorities for postings. They have also approached the public administration ministry, the ministry’s joint secretary (appointment, posting and deputation), and its senior secretary. Despite assurances, however, no postings have been approved so far.
Owing to rampant promotion, the public administration ministry is trying to absorb the officials by assigning them to the same rooms of the ministries and divisions concerned.
However, the authorities have failed to absorb most of the officials. The authorities have also created 230 supernumerary posts for accommodating the deputy secretaries and the joint secretaries.
A total of 70 secretaries and acting secretaries are now working against 73 duty posts, while 240 additional secretaries are working against 110 posts. A total of 943 joint secretaries are working in different ministries and divisions against 341 sanctioned posts, while 1,386 deputy secretaries are working against the 828 sanctioned posts.
At the same time, 1,448 senior assistant secretaries are working against 2,340 sanctioned posts, and 940 assistant secretaries are working against 1,870 sanctioned posts in the civil administration.

-With The Independent input

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