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The State of Governance in Bangladesh in 2009: Entitlement, Responsiveness, Sustainability

The Institute of Governance Studies at BRAC University has recently published four summary reports from its annual publication, the State of Governance in Bangladesh. The State of Governance is the only governance report published on Bangladesh from Bangladesh. The summary reports deal with: the use of information technology to improve public service delivery to the poor, the energy sector, food security and labour migration. These reports offer excellent illustrations of the challenges of implementing good governance measures in a developing country with very limited capacity and resources.

The first report, titled "Digital Bangaldesh: The Beginning of Citizen Centric e-government?", analyses the possibility of using information technology (ICT) to improve public service delivery in Bangladesh. It examines in detail the structural, regulatory and institutional capacities and challenges of the country to absorb a large-scale ICT project. It concludes by offering a set of recommendations that can better enable a successful implementation of ICT to improve governance in public service delivery.

The second summary report, "The Energy Crisis: Planning Deficit, Policy Failure and Reforms for the Future" deals with governance challenges in the energy sector of Bangladesh. It finds that the quality of governance in the sector is marred by: political considerations; short-term planning horizons of successive governments; lack of incentives for bureaucrats and the private sector; and the absence of an effective regulatory body.

"Food Security: Increasing Availability, Diversifying Access & Strengthening Governance" deals with the very pertinent issue of food security in a country where over 40 per cent of the population live below the food-consumption based poverty line. It finds that food security governance in Bangladesh is characterised by: inconsistency and non-functionality of key policies, with relevant institutions lacking capacity to carry out essential reforms or undertake actions to ensure food availability; lack of implementation of land distribution and tenancy contracts; lack of monitoring and presence of corruption in many government institutions related to food; and high levels of leakage in the public food distribution system and social safety net programmes.

Remittances from migrant labour contribute significantly to the Bangladeshi economy. The fourth report, "International Labour Migration: Making Migrant Worker Welfare Central to Governance", looks at how governance failures and corruption impacts migrant workers from Bangladesh. One of the main findings is that Bangladeshi migrants often pay double of what their counterparts pay in neighbouring countries for the migration process and corruption and influence mongering exists at almost every operational level of the migrant’s recruitment, administrative and departure processes.

 

Citation: The State of Governance in Bangladesh Report Series, 2010

 

All four summary reports are available for download in both English and Bangla.

 

 

Author : Institute of Governance Studies, BRAC University
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