Short notes on Crisis in Governance in Bangladesh

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Governance is a new criteria adopted by scholars and activists to understand and analyse the social, political and economic performance of a state.

In a sense, governance is the function of the institutional capacity of the state to provide political stability, maintain social peace and optimal economic development through efficient use of available resources.

The performance of public institutions and government in Bangladesh is mixed one: normal to poor. At worst, it is dismal in many areas of governance.

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The principal challenge being faced by government is ungovernability-gradual declining capacity of governments to perform basic functions. Ungovernability is manifested it three forms: first, the complex social, political and economic problems have accumulated over a period of time and have no easy solutions; second, governments are not willing to confront them to avoid political costs; third, they have became stubborn.

Some of the problems of governance in Bangladesh are the existence of corruption at every level and every sphere of national life, failure of the state to protect the life and property of people, denial of rightful place to women in society, and incapacity of the state to deliver basic services and amenities to the people.

The crisis in governance is not unique to Bangladesh. Most developing countries have been facing this crisis. In the case of Bangladesh, it is the result of the circumstances in which the new nation was born and the euphoria and uncertainties that accompanied it.

Political culture and social conditions tolerated concentration of powers under the charismatic political head, subsequently sustained by successive military regimes.

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The undivided Pakistan’s inability to come to terms with the electoral verdict exposed the flaws in the political system.

Mujib’s own authoritarian tendencies led to unrest and dissatisfaction with the masses, military rule and the elections that lacked legitimacy further exposed the weakness of constitutional government.

The rivalry and competitive politics of the two major parties under Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia resulted in frequent ‘hartals’ and ‘strikes’ disturbing civic life.

Low literacy and state controlled media forces the opposition parties to take the issues to streets to mobilise masses to win their support to their programs. Thus, democracy has to go a long way in Bangladesh.

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The crisis in governance had its impact on the functioning of economic institutions and economic performance of the country. As the economy grew at slow pace, domestic investment was low. Bangladesh emerged as one of the heavily dependent countries on foreign aid and borrowings.

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