Vol. 4 Num 77 Tue. August 12, 2003  

BNP policymakers, bureaucrats split over civil service promotion

Differences have brewed between the ruling BNP policymakers and bureaucrats over the issue of promotion to the post of additional and joint secretaries.

Highly placed sources said the Superior Selection Board (SSB) at an unscheduled meeting on Saturday recommended elevation of about 85 joint secretaries to additional secretary and around 62 deputy secretaries to joint secretaries.

They said the 85 officials for the post of additional secretary were recommended from the 1973, 1974, 1977 and 1979 batches and 62 others for the post of joint secretary mostly from the 1981 batch.

Sources at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Ministry of Establishment and Cabinet Division said differences mainly surfaced over whether the 1979 batch should be promoted to additional secretary depriving a good number of qualified officials from previous batches.

Some political leaders and bureaucrats preferred promotion of all officials of the administration cadre of the 1979 batch as most officials of this batch are BNP-aligned.

But others opposed such wholesale promotion from a particular batch, arguing that such a move would deprive many eligible officials of 1973, 1974 and 1977 batches and create a rancour in the civil service.

Officials said the selection for promotion was based on the current marking policy that provides for a pass mark of 85 out of 100: 25 for educational qualification, 30 for annual confidential report (ACR) and 25 for ACR in the entire service period, 10 for spotless ACR and another 10 for no punitive measures in entire service life.

Sources at the Cabinet Division said a summary of the promotion was prepared Saturday night and it was decided that it would be sent to the prime minister for approval. But the cabinet division did not approve the summary due to the controversy.

A source at the PMO said two summaries were prepared -- one with a suggestion for inclusion of the 1979 batch on the promotion list and the other excluding the batch.

The sources said a good number of officials had become eligible for promotion both to additional secretary and joint secretary, but they were not elevated from political considerations. Many officials without any political bias, pronounced pr otherwise, have indiscriminately been crossed off from the promotion list having been labelled as 'pro-Awami League'.

Most officials said the current selection for promotion is based completely on political considerations and termed the process a 'political scrutiny'.

They said this political scrutiny will destroy the civil service because quite a good number of competent, eligible and neutral officials with good track-record have been or are going to be dropped from the promotion list.

The sources at the PMO said it will take some more days to finalise the promotion as the differences have taken a serious turn.