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Sunday, December 7, 2014, Agrahayan 23, 1421, Safar 13, 1436 Hijr

Absence of strict law makes public servants wild
Staff Correspondent
Published : Sunday, 7 December, 2014,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 35
The accountability of the civil bureaucracy could not be ensured due to delay in passing the 'Public Servants Act' that was approved earlier in the Secretary's Committee on Administrative Reform updating the existing Act in August this year.
Despite instruction from the Prime Minister, the final draft of the Act is yet to be tabled before the cabinet for approval. The Ministry of Public Administration is yet to get the approval of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to move it forward, officials of the Ministry claimed.
As a result, a section of the bureaucrats are trying to get the blessings of political parties, both ruling and the opposition, taking advantage of the loopholes in the existing laws, experts say.
A number of former and in-service officials of the civil bureaucracy, who were deprived in the last six years by the government, met BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia Thursday night to get her blessings in future.
According to experts, these officials found the courage to met BNP chairperson violating the existing service rules due to lack of legal barriers. It would have been possible for the government to prevent them from such activities had there been any provision of tough action.
Former Cabinet Secretary Ali Imam Majumder said, "The meeting of a few bureaucrats with the chief of a political party is nothing but the result of lack of good governance in the country and their personal grievances against the government."
"The manner of the meeting was wrong," he added.
When contacted, Public Administration Ministry's Senior Secretary Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury told The Daily Observer they had completed the paper works of the Act three months ago. They are now waiting for the policy decision.
"Though our drafting of the law has been completed at the Ministry level, we are yet to get the approval of the policymakers." he added.
The draft of the Public Servants Act was prepared as a comprehensive law considering, discussing and analysing the relevant laws at home and of the USA, India and Nepal.
According to the Ministry officials, the draft of the Act got approval of the Secretary's Committee on Administrative Reform with a few suggestions, including provisions for a permanent pay commission for public servants, reward for good performance, discipline and punishment last August.
The suggestions and observations of the meeting were incorporated in the draft and sent to the PMO. The Ministry is still expecting that the draft would be returned with recommendations or instructions of the Prime Minister, they added.
State Minister for Public Administration Ismat Ara Sadique told this correspondent that the provisions of three similar acts had been included in the latest draft to make it a comprehensive law.
"The provisions of establishing a permanent pay commission, disciplinary systems of the administration, recruiting, posting and promotion policy, reward for good performance and punishment for violation of rules, entry and retirement from service, service benefits were described in details in the draft," she added.
Senior Secretary Kamal Chowdhury said the administrative system of the country will be decentralised to eliminate sufferings of the people as the new comprehensive law would help the government to take services to the doorsteps of the people.
Under the proposed Act, law enforcement agencies would not be able to arrest government employees without prior permission from the government. The draft law has also scrapped a rule which empowers the government to forcibly retire any bureaucrat after 25 years of service in 'public interest'.
The proposed law advises government employees not to be biased towards any political party for getting additional benefits and consideration from the government.
The Act also keeps the provisions of promotion and punishment for the bureaucrats. The government would, in line with the Public Servants Bill, formulate rules on the code of conduct for the public servants, the violation of which would lead to departmental action against the errant public servants.
The law further stipulates the government would ensure better education and health services for the public servants and their family members.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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