Upazilla System As A Local Government Body

The Upazilla System is the second tire of the local Govt. of Bangladesh. This system is the successor of the previous sub-division which was introduced by the previous Govt. day by day. The local government Ordinance 1982, provided details on the structure and functions of the Upazilla. The Upazilla replaced the oldest institution called Thana. It has been created as a local administration under the decentralization program of the Government. Therefore, present study aimed to analyze and to evaluate the local; government system, the Upazilla system, its origin, development, composition, functions in old and recently promulgated new format i.e. in local government Ordinance 1982 and Upazilla Parishad [1] .

Local government is very essential for the development of country; local government means the decentralization of administrative powers into different local bodies. Bangladesh has experienced various types of development models since the end of the British Colonial rule, and also during the period of Pakistan (1947-1971). Since 1971 as an independent state Bangladesh has established her own administrative system. The evidence of growth at certain brief stages, the curative effect has been rather depressing, overall economic condition has deteriorated, particularly distressing it’s the fact gaps between groups of people have widened. The second tire of rural local government in Bangladesh is the Upazilla Parishad. The system of Upazilla Parishad came into the process of decentralization of administration. One of the most significant current policy initiatives in Bangladesh is the decentralization of administrative in order to ensure implementation of development activities which affect their lives. As the first step towards this process, the 480 [2] of the country have been upgraded in to Upazillas with functional and financial powers. The Upazilla system has been playing significant Role in ensuring public participation in mass level, which is consider as key of democracy. It can ensure the accountability.

The Upazilla Parishad [3] 

The Upazilla replaced the oldest institution in Bangladesh called the Thana. It was a nation-wide reform. The significant change in the rural government was the inseration of the term “Upazilla" replaced the word “Thana". Generally, an Upazilla corresponds to a “Thana", although in some places two Thanas have been united as one Upazilla. Literally, Upazilla means Sub-District. Our concerning topic is the structure composition, power & functions of the Upazilla Parishad. Now we shall discuss it in accordance with the local government ordinance 1982, which was promulgated by the previous Government. Now in Bangladesh there have been 480 Upazilla and 599 administrative Thana

Composition of Upazaila Parishad.(Old format) [4] 

A parishad shall consist of

A Chairman [5] ,

Representative members,

Three women members,

Official members [6] ,

Chairman of the Upazilla Central Co-operative Association within the Upzilla and

One nominated member.

Representative and nominated members are voting members within the Upazilla Parishad, and This Figure indicated that Upazilla Parishad consists of a chairman elected by all voters within Upazilla. All chairman of the Union Parishads;Paurashavas located within the Upazilla; the Chairman of the Thana Central Cooperatives Association; three women nominated by Government; and official members as designated by the government among the official at the Upazilla level are members of the Upazilla Parishad. Until election of Chairman of Upazilla Parishasd, the chief executive officer (UNO) of the parishad has been authorized to act as chairman.

Functions of the Upazilla Pafishad [7] 

1. All development activities at the Upazilla level; formulation of Upazilla level

development plans and programs and implementation, monitoring and evaluation thereof.

2. Preparation of Upazilla Development plans on the basis of Union Development plans.

3. Giving assistance and encouragement to Union Parishads in their activities.

4. Promotion of health, family planning and Family Welfare.

5. Provision for management of environment.

6. Training of Chairman, members and secretaries of Union Parishads.

7. Implementation of Government policies and programs within the Upazilla

8. Supervision, control and co-ordination of function of officers serving in the Upazilla

Except Mnsifs, Trying Magistrates and officers engaged in regulatory functions.

9. Promotion of socio-cultural activities.

10 Promotion and encouragement of employment generating

activities.

11. Such other function as may be specified by the Government from time to time

12. Promotion and extension of co-operative movement in the Upazilla

13. Assistance to Zilla Parished in development activities.

14. Planning and execution of all rural public works programmed.

15. Promotion of agricultural activities for maximizing production.

16. Promotion of education and vocational activities.

17. Promotion of livestock fisheries and forest

Composition of Upazilla Parishad (New Format)

A Upazilla Parishad consists of a chairman, two vice-chairpersons (one of them a woman), chairmen of all union Parishad under the Upazilla concerned, mayors of all municipalities, if there are any, and women members of the reserved seat. The chairman and vice-chairpersons are going to be elected today. One-third of the total women members from reserved seats of union Parishad under an Upazilla will be the Upazilla Parishad members. The women members of the reserved seat of the union parishad will elect them. The Upazilla Parishad chairman and Vice-chairpersons will have to resign from their party posts if they hold any. The vice-chairpersons will elect a two-member chairman panel will serve as the chairman if the elected chairman fails to carry out their duty for absence, illness or any other reason. Upon suggestion of the Local Government Commission, the government can suspend any chairmen, vice-chairpersons and women members temporarily if their work goes against the parishad’s interest or seems “unexpected" from administrative point of view. But, they will be allowed to give their statement before that

The Upazilla Parishad Structure Powers and Function in (New Format) [8] 

Executive Powers

The chairman of the Upazilla parishad will enforce expectative power to implement the decision taken by the Parishad. An Upazilla Parishad chairman’s duties include chairing and conducting parishad meeting, monitoring and controlling all officers and employees, meeting financial expenditure of certain limits fixed by the government and commission. The chairman will also prepare the annual confidential reports of all officers and employees of the Parishad. The chairman will supervise all accounts of the Parishad with the join signature of the Upazilla nirbahi officer (UNO).

Functions

The function of Upazilla Parishad include dealing with administrative and establishment issues, ensuring law and order and services relate to peoples’ welfare, and formulation and implementation of local economic and social development planning. Preparing development planning for five-year terms or so, construction, repair and maintenance of linking road under the Upzilla initiating and implementing small irrigation projects, creation of jobs and initiating programs to reduce poverty are major duties of the Parishad. Besides, the Parishad will regularly send report on the Upazilla’s law and order

to the district committees on law and order other high authorities. The Parishad will also publish citizens’ charter accommodating the description, conditions and duration of the service it would render to the people.

Financial Resources of Upazilla

Every Upazilla Parishad will have a fund. Government grants, income from local sources, grants from other parishads or local authorities, loans granted by the government, money collected from taxes and fees, and incomes and benefits from schools, hospitals, dispensaries, buildings and organizations run by the Parishad will be deposited in the fund. The Government-fixed portions of income from local markets, jal mahals and ferry ghats under the Upazilla will go to the fund. Taxes and fees on cinemas, drama and jatra, fair, business and occupation will also go to it. Every Parishad will prepare its budget two months before the start of a fiscal year and hang its copy for at least 15 days to inform People about it and receive suggestion and comments from the people. After considering their suggestion, the parishad will approve the budget 30 days before the start of a fiscal year and send a copy to the deputy commissioner (DC). If a parishad fails to approve its budget in time, the DC will prepare a list of income and expenditure, which will be approved as the budget of that upzilla for the year. The accounts of the parishad will be examined by an appointed auditor in a specific process .Upon suggestion of the commission the government will formulate the audit related rules for inconsistency or irregularities of accounts, damage or waste of assets and other aspects. All members will be bound to give information to the auditor, who will inform the DC if anybody defies

Officer and Employee Activities & Meeting [9] 

A UNO will serve as the chief executive officer of the upazilla and the government will appoint one secretary to the parishad. The government can employ its officers or employee to the parishad for executing general or special duties on specific condition Meetings of the Committees. The Upzilla parishad will hold at least one meting a month at its office. For executing its activities smoothly, the parishad will inform at least nine standing committees on different issued with the duration of maximum two and a half years within a month of the first meeting. At least one-third elected women members from the reserved seats will be the presidents of these standing committees, each consisting of five-seven members. If needed, the committees can appoint experts but they will not have any right to franchise. The committees will be on law and order; health and family planning; agriculture, fisheries, livestock, irrigation and environment; education; social welfare women and children development; sports, culture and youth development; communication and infrastructural development; establishment, finance and accounts and monitoring and evaluation. The parishad can also from additional standing committees If needed. Abolition and Re-Election Upon suggestion from the commission the government can abolish if most members resign or become ineligible or misuse power of the parishad. The parishad will be formed again through election within 180 days from the date the posts of chairman vice-chairpersons and other members fall vacant. The posts will be regarded vacant from the day of the gazette notification. Parishad officials will be given chance to explain themselves before a parishad is abolished.

Term of office of the Chairman

1. A Chairman shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office. Provided that, notwithstanding the expiration of his term, a Chairman shall continue to hold office until it is successor enter upon his office.

2. A woman member or a nominated member shall hold office for a term of five years from the date of his nomination

Qualifications for election of Chairman-

A person shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section

Be qualified to be elected as a chairman of a parishad if-

S/He is a citizen of Bangladesh.

S/He has attained the age of twenty five years; and

His/Her name appears on the electoral roll for the Upazilla

Disqualification for election of Chairman-

S/He is declared by a competent court to e of unsound mind;

S/He is an undercharged insolvent;

S/He has ceased to be a citizen of Bangladesh or has acquired the citizenship of, or affirmed or acknowledged allegiance to a foreign state.

S/He has been, on conviction for any criminal offence, involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.

S/He holds any full-time office of profit in the service-of the Republic or of the Parishad concerned or any other local authority; or

S/He is a party to a contract for weak to be done for, or goods to be supplied to. The Parishad concerned, or has otherwise any pecuniary interest in its affairs, or is a dealer in essential commodities appointed by the Government.

Chairman not to hold any office in a Parishad or Pourashava- A person elected as Chairman shall, on the date which he enters upon his office, cease to hold any other office in any Union Parishad or Pourshava

Potential for Responsiveness and Accountability of the Parishad to the People

The Parishad has considerable potential to be responsive and accountable to the people. It has substantially reduced the administrative decision making layer [10] . The new system has engendered two significant changes creating an opportunity to achieve better responsiveness and accountability [11] . First, it is a shift from bureaucracy to democracy in the local government as the chief executive and other officers of the sub-district are brought under the control of elected representative. Second, the Parishad is accorded the status of executive agency and has been made responsible for most of the development functions. The new system shows the significant shift from bureaucratic control to the democratic structure of the Parishad delivering the potential for better responsiveness and accountability. The main objective of the upazilla system, as enunciated in governmental documents, is the devolution of authority to local bodies, supposedly in order to induce Faster development at the local level with the participation of the people. The Parishad has considerable authority to plan and implement projects of local importance and interests, and to ensure accountability of local officials [12] .

Evolution of Upazilla Government in Bangladesh

A Developing Country Perspective

Local government is one from a decentralized system which enables the local people to come to the Government and this Govt. system helps them to participate for decision making, planning, management or resources allocation from a higher level of government to its subordinate units [13] .

The basic notion behind decentralization is that it enhances administrative and economic efficient, improves quality of programme implementation, and in the best situation, enhances greater degree of responsiveness to local needs and accountability to the local people [14] . Responsiveness implies congruence between popular preference and the actual policies and outputs [15] and accountability refers to the ability of the people to “hold local government responsible for how it is affecting them [16] . Upazilla system makes democratic

Decentralization is consider more efficient way of meeting local needs, cutting red tape and making government and administration more flexible, accountable and responsive by brining government closer to the people [17] . For obvious reason, local government attracts significant attention from various governments and their development partners as a means of participatory, accountable and responsive development tool [18] .

Bureaucratic Inclination to the Central Government:

Officers working in the Parishad are recruited and deputed by the central government. Although the Upazilla Chairman is conferred with substantial authority over these officers, the officials are also directly accountable to their respective departmental authorities. For example, the UNO is a member of the elite bureaucratic cadre, Bangladesh Civil Service (Administration) and works under strict control and supervision of the Deputy Commissioner. Along with the UNO there are about 20 officers working at the upazilla level belonging to the various cadre services who also face dual control, from the Parishad Chairman as well as from their respective line authorities. Moreover, these officers are trained and served initially under the central government structure. As a result their mental makeup conforms more to the culture and structure of the central Government. There are posted to the Parishad and their promotion and future postings are controlled by the central government bodies. Their loyalty to the Parishad is, Therefore, not absolute and they often consider their deputation to the local government as a temporary banishment [19] .

Lack of Skills and Expertise of the Elected Representative: [20] 

The Upazilla and Union Parishad Chairman often lack skills and expertise of making projects design and become largely dependent on the UNO and officials of concerned departments (Morshed 1997). Some time we found that the officers of Upazilla Govt. often ignore the advice of the elected representatives of the Union and Upazilla Parishads and use their bureaucratic tactics and expertise to undermine the democratic system [21] .

Conclusion

Introduction of the Upazilla Parishad system with elected government is likely to substantially improve the responsiveness and accountability of Parishad to its people. Local government as a political institution to ensure public participation in development activities is yet to talk proper shape in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh there have been six major attempts to reform local government under six different governments. The objective of all, at least at the level of rhetoric, was to introduce participatory and accountable local governance through decentralization of functions and powers to local elected institution. All this governments also recognized the relevance of the roll of decentralized local institution in planning and implementing need based development projects for poverty alleviation and reduction of socio-economic inequality. The upazilla system of local government is one of efforts this process. There are some problems in Upazila Government. If every concerned of Upazilla Govt. do their duties and responsibilities it will help to develop the life of local people and full-fill the Government

objectives.