Double wings in 5 ministries
The government moves to create at least 10 divisions under five ministries soon as part of its efforts to accelerate the pace of work in the civil administration and accommodate additional officials at different tiers of bureaucracy.
The move would make room for promoting some top officials to the rank of secretary and also for expanding the Sheikh Hasina-led cabinet, said government sources.
The five ministries that will have new divisions are home, education, health and family welfare, LGRD and cooperatives, and civil aviation and tourism ministries, they said.
The home and education ministries already got orders in this regard from the Prime Minister's Office in the last week of February, they added.
Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, senior secretary of the public administration ministry, confirmed it.
Contacted, PM's Principal Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said the initiative was taken to enhance the government's efficiency.
Wishing anonymity, a former cabinet secretary said it would take at least three months to implement the PMO orders if the ministries concerned work very fast.
At present, seven of the 45 ministries have 16 divisions.
According to the PMO orders, two divisions -- Public Security Division and Internal Security Services Division -- will be created at the home ministry. And the education ministry will have three divisions -- one for primary to higher secondary education, one for technical and madrasa education and another for higher education.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid confirmed to The Daily Star that they received an order from the PMO.
Sources at the ministry said they have already sent to the PMO the ministry's observations on the order.
Abdus Sobhan Sikder, former secretary at the PMO, told The Daily Star, "This move will not only speed up the pace of work of the civil administration but also help accommodate a big number of officials at different ministries."
Once the divisions start functioning, it would be possible for the ministries to make decisions promptly, which would ultimately benefit people, he said.
"Every big ministry should have divisions for accelerating the pace of work," added Sobhan.
The civil bureaucracy has already turned top heavy due to wholesale promotions in the administration over the years.
There are 1,301 deputy secretaries against 830 posts, 908 joint secretaries against 350 posts and 416 additional secretaries against 120 posts in different ministries, said sources at the public administration ministry.
Besides, there are around 250 officers on special duty (OSD). Though they don't have any responsibilities, they get salaries and other benefits regularly.
Now, several hundred of the promoted officials are working as in-situ officials.
An in-situ official is one who continues to hold the same office and perform the same duties even after being elevated to a higher position.
Government sources said the latest move to create divisions under the five ministries is aimed at promoting some senior officials to the rank of secretary and expanding the cabinet.
"This initiative has been taken so that some new lawmakers could be inducted in the cabinet. It will strengthen the party and bring dynamism to the government," said a senior minister on condition of anonymity.
The minister also referred to the appointment of Tarana Halim and Zunaid Ahmed Palak as state ministers at the two divisions under the posts, telecommunications and ICT ministry.
However, former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder thinks decentralisation of power of the ministries, rather than the creation of divisions, would be more effective.
"There would be no need to create divisions if a ministry gives the responsibility for implementing decisions to its departments concerned," he told The Daily Star.
The PMO order to the home ministry specified the areas of operation of the two divisions under the ministry.
Police, Border Guard Bangladesh, Ansar and Village Defence Party, Coast Guard and the International Crimes Tribunal would operate under the Public Security Division.
Department of Immigration and Passports, Jail Department, Fire Services and Civil Defence, Department of Narcotics Control, and National Telecommunications and Monitoring Centre would function under the Internal Security Services Division, said the order.
The two divisions would be headed by two secretaries.
Talking to this correspondent recently, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, "The creation of the divisions would accelerate the pace of work of the ministry. The prime minister thinks this is a big ministry and it has a huge workload. So, she gave this order."
On the issue, former IGP Nurul Huda said if a new division is formed, it would help speed up the ministry's pace of work.
"The effectiveness of a new division could be evaluated only after it becomes functional," he said.
However, a top official at the police headquarters said the way the divisions are being formed, it appears that there would be basically no change at the home ministry.