Saeed Anwar Sociology Discipline Khulna University Introduction: Local government is an important element of all administrative systems. Local government is the system of government of a town or an area by elected representatives of the people who live there. The organization that is responsible for the government of a local area and for providing service etc. While some form of local government was obviously necessary and present in ancient civilizations, it is extremely difficult to relate the’ experiences in these civilizations with the modern variant of local government. Changes in the nature of states as well as new dimensions in the system of administration and in the patterns of international relations have all contributed to the current state of local government. Not only have these factors combined to produce a new and distinct pattern of local government, they have also led to the emergence of new problems in the administration. By local government we mean the administration of local areas run by its elective representatives. If the administration of local areas is run by the provincial or central government officers the administration shall be local but it shall not be local but it shall not be local self government. If the administration of local areas is run by the provincial or central government officers, the administration will be local. In modern states there is a great importance of the local government because the burden of the provincial and central government is lessened by it. Local government is also essential for the success of democracy. These institutions impart training to the citizens in the running of the government. Moreover, Democracy is made real in local government. Local governments are administrative offices that are smaller than a state. The term is used to contrast with offices at national state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government and federal government. In modern nations, local governments usually have fewer powers than national governments do. They usually have some power to raise taxes though these may be limited by central legislation. In some countries local government is partly or wholly funded by subventions from central government taxation.
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Local Government: Local government means the administration of local areas run by its elective representative. If the administration of local areas is run by the provincial or central government officers, the administration shall be local but it shall not be local self government. As a general rule central government is at the helm of a country and its inhabitants. But, in reality, it is next to impossible for a central government to ensure equal and equitable development of all areas of a country. Consequently, decentralization of power and authority as well as formation and promotion of strong local governments have turned out to be the possible and potential alternatives round the globe. Democracy is no doubt the most favored word the world over. Administrative Decentralization seeks to redistribute authority, responsibility and financial resources for providing public services among different levels of government. It is the transfer of responsibility for the planning, financing and management of certain public functions from the central government and its agencies to field units of government agencies, subordinate units or levels of government semi autonomous public authorities or corporations or area wide regional or functional authorities. Theoretical definitions: Laski says, “The institution of local government is educative to, perhaps a higher degree than any other part of government” Decentralization and emergence of local government in Bangladesh: Bangladesh emerged as an independent country on December 16, 1971 with an area of 147570 square K.M. It lies in the northeastern part of south Asia. The country is bound by India on the west and the north, by India and Burma on the east, and by the Bay of Bengal on the south. The country is now governed by the parliamentary form of government .the prime minister is now the chief executive of the country. He/she has a council of ministers that assist him / her in the duties. For the convenience of administration, the country is divided into six administrative divisions each placed under a divisional commissioner. Each division is further sub divided into Zilas (Districts). There are 64 districts in Bangladesh. The administration of each district is headed by a deputy commissioner assisted by other officials. Page 2 of 22
Each district consists of several thanas (Upazila). There are 499 thanas. Below thanas are unions, which consist of several villages. There are about 4403 unions in the country (Siddiqui, 1994) Two types of local government institutions exist in Bangladesh—rural and urban. The rural local government bodies until recently have been i) Gram Sarkar (Village government) at the Village level. ii) Union Parishads at the Union level. iii) Upazila Parishads at the Upazila or Thana level. iv) Zila Parishads at District level. The urban local governments are-a)Pourashavas (Muniocipalities) and b)City corporations (Municipal Corporation).As the developmental functions and welfare activities of the central 2 government is increasing day by day our local government also is undergoing great changes to facilitate national development this paper takes into account the rural local government bodies. Local government system in Bangladesh: Under the close supervision of the district administration, there is a local government system composed of elected union parishads and municipal pourashavas and appointed Thana and district committees. Plans are under way for establishing elected Thana and District Councils. The local authorities have little capacity or authority to collect revenues and depend heavily on central government transfers. The local authority staff is hired by the central government. The lowest level of government is the union parishad of which there are some 4.500. These cover a population in the region of 25.000-30.000 each. The union parishads have no staff (other than a guard) and few responsibilities. The constitution of the country provides for the creation of the local government bodies at every administrative level, but presently it exists only at the Union (Union Parishad - UP) level only (Government of Bangladesh, 1998). h recent years, three different Commissions! Committees were constituted in 1993, 1997 and Page 3 of 22
1999 to reform! Reorganize and strengthen the role, structure and functions of local government in Bangladesh - for details, please see source: Annex (B). However, the recommendations of the Local Government Committee 1993 were not implemented. Some of the more progressive recommendations of Local. While the Chief Justice and other judges are appointed by the President under Article 95 of the Constitution, the practice requires that the Chief Justice be consulted. Government Commission, 1997, and that of Local Government Finance Committee, 1999 did not receive a place in the subsequent Local Government Acts providing for a four tier system. Local government in Bangladesh remained relatively weak and dependent upon central government through various means of political and administrative control. Several of the major local government reform efforts addressed secondary issues. That is number and level of tiers, relationship between tiers, composition, and distribution! Share of functions among the tiers and central government etc. at the expense of the substantive! Core issues like devolution of authority for enabling local government to operate in an autonomous maimer. For example, personnel management including mechanisms of effective accountability of deputed government officials and other personnel whose recruitment are finally approved by the national government functionaries; the other issues such as, resource generation, management and utilization remained out of the purview of the reform agenda. The public administration of Bangladesh is still highly centralized with a hierarchical substructure. The administrative efficiency is questionable, and the overall seize of the administration incommensurate with the economic status of the country and the level of realized state revenue. Sheikh Hasina Regime (1996-2001) In 199...