Spate of promotions | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 08, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 08, 2009


Spate of promotions

Bureaucracy set to be weakened further

IN a sweeping move, the government has promoted as many as 494 officials to positions of additional secretary, joint secretary and deputy secretary, ostensibly for the purpose of injecting dynamism into the administration. But it could have contrary results and we share the concern of experts over the development.
Vertical mobility in a career is a natural and necessary entitlement that officials should enjoy by way of bringing out the best in them in the service of the Republic. So, promotions should come as a boon not only to the promotees but also for the administration as a whole. Can we say the same thing about the mass promotions announced on Monday by the government? Hardly.
The elevated officials have been asked to join as officers on special duty (OSD) at the establishment ministry and await their placements. But the stark reality is that a very large number of them are likely to cool their heels as OSD because there are not enough posts to move them to. Aside from idling away their time, as an old bureaucrat has pointed out these newly promoted officials in their bid to get postings of their choice could breathe restiveness into the upper echelons of the administration. Let's not overlook the fact that some 526 officials have either been superseded or denied consideration.
Most of the promoted officials are said to have been sidelined during past governments. It is stated that one of the criteria for their selection to higher posts has been how unblemished they have been by partisan bias. The question is hasn't the government been influenced by a slant of its own? The issue here is two-some: fair play and recognition of merit and ability. True, during the two terms served by the BNP since 1991 elections, promotions, postings and easing out as OSDs were largely governed by political considerations. The AL government undertook a reversal process. How long these changes and counter-changes in the administration will continue as the services of the Republic remain in a perpetual state of dis-equilibrium?

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