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The Structure of Bangladesh Civil Service

The government of Bangladesh has a two-tier administrative system. The upper tier is the central secretariat at the national level consisting of the ministries and divisions to provide policies and to perform clearinghouse functions. The other tier consists of ‘line’ departments/directorates attached to the ministries and divisions that are mainly responsible for general administration, service delivery to citizens and implementation of various government development programs at the sub-national level. (Ahmed: 2002). At present, the Bangladesh civil service has more than one million civil servants in 31 ministries, 52 divisions, 254 departments and 173 statutory bodies (MOE:2010). The internal organization structure of a ministry reflects a hierarchical order. A minister is in charge of a ministry and is normally the “political head” of that ministry.
A ministry consists of at least one division. A secretary or, in his absence an additional secretary, is considered the “administrative head” of the ministry. He/she conducts and looks after the duties of a division, which includes routine operation, supervision of its staffing and organizational processes. He/she is also the adviser to the minister regarding policy and administrative issues. A division can further be divided into wings. A joint secretary is the head of a wing and has the power to submit cases directly to the minister for decisions. In practice, such cases are first submitted to the secretary/additional secretary for his consideration before being placed before the minister. A wing is composed of branches. The head of a wing—a joint secretary—supervises the activities of the branches within his wing. Each branch is under the charge of a deputy secretary. Below the branch is the section. Headed by an assistant secretary, it is the basic working unit of a division. An assistant secretary disposes all a civil servants batch— the year one enters the civil service—is central to his or her professional identity. Bangladeshi civil servants who entered the civil service prior to 1971 were recruited and trained in the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP). The CSP was unapologetically elitist and the new Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) was less selective and less elitist. Although serving in the Bangladesh Civil Service, these CSP-trained officers emphasize this distinction by exhibiting their CSP pedigree. Cases based on clear precedents. Below the level of assistant secretary, there are a considerable number of office personnel (Zafarullah: 1998). Departments are also attached to each ministry/division. The departments determine the blueprint for implementing various decisions taken by the ministry/division by providing technical information and advice. Who heads these departments or directorates depends on their importance. In some cases, an officer enjoying the pay grades and benefits of a secretary heads a department while on the other cases it is headed by an official enjoying the pay grade and benefits of a deputy secretary, joint secretary or an additional secretary (Ahmed:2002). There are four classes in Bangladesh civil service. Class I and part of class II officers are treated as “gazetted” officers; the rest are considered as “nongazetted” officers (Ahmed, 2002: 334). The number of Class 1 officers is about 40,000. Of them 70% are recruited into 28 cadres; the rest do not belong to a particular cadre but work in functional areas. Recruitment is conducted by the Public Service Commission (PSC) as per requirement conveyed by the Ministry of Public Administration, which is responsible for the personnel policy within the civil service and human resources function, particularly in the administrative cadre (DFID:2004). The Public Sector in Bangladesh currently numbers around one million people. Around 30,000 are employed in public enterprises whilst 700,000 are employed in various ministries, Departments and other Government Offices. The structure of the administration system in Bangladesh is as follows:

Structure of Bangladesh Civil Service