WE have been informed that there are presently 265 high ranking government officers on special duty (OSD). We would have benefited had we been told as to how long these pubic servants had been in that status, and also how many other than the 'high-ups' are OSD, a euphemism for those sidelined because of not being of the same ilk as the ruling party. According to reports carried in this paper on December 9, 2013, as many as 650 officers were OSD at that point in time. In one case a public servant had been OSD for sixteen long years.
It seems the culture of keeping public servants as OSD has come to be ingrained as a permanent feature in the country's bureaucratic system without realising the unforgivable waste of public money the practice causes. In the last decade, more than Tk 150 crore was spent to maintain more than 3000 OSDs, and that too when some ministries were without their authorised complement of officers. It is even more odious when the matter is juxtaposed with the fact that promotions and recruitments were made beyond the number of authorised vacancies, all on political consideration, while so many were being paid without having to do anything.
We repeat our call, as we have done umpteen times in the past, the abhorrent practice must stop. It breeds incompetence and discourages the honest and efficient government servants. If the practice continues we will soon end up with bureaucracy that is weighed down by partisan and incompetent operatives.