** People rescuing an injured passenger from inside a passenger bus hit by a truck on Dhaka-Mawa Expressway in Shologhar area of Shreenagar upazila in Munshiganj on Thursday. ** Motorcycles allowed on Padma Bridge after 10 months ** Commuters charge extra fare, passengers disappointed ** 78 people killed in Yemen stampede ** Moon sighting committee meets today to ascertain Eid day ** 9 killed in road accidents in 3 districts ** US announces new $325 m military aid package for Ukraine ** Eid-ul-Fitr in Saudi Arabia today ** Eid exodus begins ** LPG price cut illusive ** 15 hurt as bus overturns in capital ** New interbank cheque clearing timings set for Eid holidays ** Four women hit by a train die in Tangail ** 12.28 lakh SIM users left Dhaka on Tuesday ** Sylhet engineer threatened over power outage ** People rush to village homes to spend Eid holidays with their near and dear ones. This photo was taken from Sadarghat Launch Terminal on Tuesday. NN photo ** Surge in cases of dehydration, diarrhoea amid summer heat wave ** Padma Bridge construction cost increases by Tk 2,412cr ** PM gives Tk 90m to Bangabazar fire victims ** Textile workers block highway demanding wage, Eid bonus ** Attack on PM's motorcade Ex-BNP MP, 3 others get life term ** Load-shedding increases for demand of electricity during heat wave ** Motorbikes to be allowed on Padma bridge from Thursday ** 5-day Eid vacation begins from today ** Take Nangalkot train accident as a warning about negligence of govt functionaries **

Quota policy favours backward sections

23 February 2014

Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque and Nasir Uddin :
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. Sound recruitment policy gives emphasis on merit rather than any other considerations. But in recruitment to the civil service of Bangladesh, merit is not given due importance. Majority posts of civil service are reserved for preferred groups through 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.
Since after independence of Bangladesh in 1971 even till to date recruitment policy to civil service including BCS has been dominating by different types of quota. For example, after independence of Bangladesh till 1976 only 20 percent of civil officers were recruited on merit. In 1976 recruitment on merit increased from 20 to 40 percent and in 1985 merit became 45 percent which is still going on. In other words, from 1985 till to date for 24 years there has been no change in merit policy for civil service recruitment.
The constitution of Bangladesh under Articles 137-141 has assigned the Bangladesh civil service commission (BPCS) the role of selecting the most competent persons for the public service of the republic through competitive examinations and tests in a fair and transparent manner. The BPSC has two basic purposes: first, elimination of patronage in the civil service; and second, selection of the best persons available and their recruitment.
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 quota policy as enshrined in the constitution is an exception for the advancement of backward sections in the society. Hence quota in no way can supersede the universal principle of merit for ensuring equal employment opportunities for all citizens without any discrimination.
The quota for the wards of freedom fighters though sanctioned by a wave of sympathy and gratitude has not a legal leg to stand on unless the beneficiaries proved to be disadvantageous (Khan and Kazi 2008). If we really want help the wards of freedom fighters we should ensure their better education by providing stipend as we already did for female education which has yielded good results.
The female quota is necessary until female representation reaches a specified level in the civil service cadres (Kashem et. al., 2002). It would reduce the social tension and ensure social justice for women as well as voice their concerns in every sphere of the society. Their participation in the civil service has not reached a satisfactory level due to low educational rates, restricted mobility, lack of security and traditional social values etc.
Quota may be necessary for the advancement of backward sections in the society, but it can never continue for indefinite period as is going on in Bangladesh. Due to quota policy relatively poor caliber officials get entry into the civil service, discourages the meritorious one, political person get the chances in the name of quota, raising a conflict between quota and non quota officials and long term bad impact of quota system is evident in the civil service of Bangladesh.

(Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque is a Professor of Public Administration, Nasir Uddin is a Lecturer of Public Administration, University of Chittagong.)

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