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Recruitment and Selection in Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS)

Recruitment is the process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating them to apply for jobs in the organization (Flippo and Edwin 1984: 141). No element of the career service system is more important than the recruitment policy” (Commission of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel, 1935:37, quoted in Stall 1962:51). Recruitment is the cornerstone of the whole personnel structure. Unless recruitment policy is soundly conceived, there can be of little hope of building a first rate staff (Stall, 1962: 51). Broadly, there are two major methods for recruitment to civil service: (a) merit system through competitive examination and (b) spoils system. Under the typical civil service law, the central personnel agency commonly called Public Service Commission is responsible to conduct competitive examination. Spoils system (also known as a
patronage system) is an informal practice where a political party, after winning an election, gives government jobs to its voters as a reward for working towards victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party—as opposed to a system of awarding
Legal Basis for BCS Recruitment Policy

The constitution of Bangladesh has granted equal employment opportunities for citizens. The constitution declares “There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in respect of employment or office in the service of the Republic” (Article 29 [1]). “No citizen shall, on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of any employment or office in the service of the Republic” (Article 29 [2]). However under clause (3) of the same Article, the constitution has provided certain exceptions that read: “Nothing in this article shall prevent the state from (a) making special provision, in favor of any backward section of citizens for the purpose of securing their adequate representation in the service of the Republic; (b) giving effect to any law which makes provision for reserving appointments relating to any religious or denominational institution to person of that religion or denomination; (c) reserving for members of one sex any class of employment or office on the ground that it is considered by its nature to be unsuited to members of the opposite sex (Article 29 [3]).

The above constitutional provisions indicate that civil service recruitment policy in Bangladesh is the admixture of merit and quota. It should be noted here that recruitment policy was first introduced in Bangladesh by an executive order in September 1972 called Interim Recruitment Rules 1972 before the constitution came into operation in December of that year. The recruitment to civil service in Bangladesh may be of various natures. They are: direct appointment through competitive examination, appointments by promotion, appointments by transfer and appointments on ad hoc basis and then regularization. Here we shall deal with direct recruitment to the officers giving emphasis to merit and independent of political activity.

Framing Recruitment Rules

The role of PSC in framing recruitment rules for both cadre and non-cadre officials are clearly specified in the Constitution. Accordingly, in January 1981, the Ministry of Establishment made a comprehensive set of recruitment rules titled The Establishment Manual of 1980 with due consultation with the PSC. In fact, as the first ever in Bangladesh, this manual clearly fixed the number of posts in cadre services, specified recruitment methods, age limit and qualifications of the candidates. As an advisory body, the PSC gives advice to the various ministries/divisions and attached departments on framing recruitment-related rules for the services/posts under their control including matters relating to (i) the determination of qualifications for and methods of recruitment to such services/posts; (ii) principles to be followed in making recruitments, promotions and transfers to and within such services/posts under the government (Ahmed, 1986:303).