RECORD PROMOTIONS TO JS RANK
OSDs crowd adminMustafizur Rahman
The civil administration is finding it difficult to accommodate the newly promoted joint secretaries with fresh postings, raising the number of officers on special duty.
The latest promotions to the joint secretary rank have compelled the public administration ministry to dump a large number of senior officers as OSDs while many of them were attached to various ministries ‘temporarily’ to cope with the situation, said officials.
A total of 827 officials, including 39 additional secretaries, 330 joint secretaries and 180 deputy secretaries, have been made officers on special duty at the public administration ministry where they have no work to do, according to the official record updated on August 1, 2013.
In December, 2012, the number of OSDs was around 500, of them 145 were holding the rank of joint secretary.
‘We are in difficulty to give the newly promoted joint secretaries fresh postings since there are no vacancies at this level. We will overcome the situation soon as many officials would go on retirement next year at a time,’ senior secretary to the public administration ministry Abdus Sobhan Sikder told New Age.
None of the officers retired in last one year and a half as their age limit was extended to 59 years from 57, he said, adding that the situation would start easing next year.
The secretary said that many of the new joint secretaries including those working as deputy commissioners and private secretaries to ministers were kept in situ due to lack of vacant positions. He termed the problem a ‘temporary’ one.
The government on July 18 promoted 345 deputy secretaries to the rank of joint secretary in excess of the positions approved in the organogram, apparently to please a section of public servants before the next general elections. Over 100 posts of deputy secretaries have already been upgraded to accommodate the new joint secretaries.
The ‘record number’ of deputy secretaries have been made joint secretaries at one go although there were no vacancies in the formal structure of civil bureaucracy with the Awami League-led alliance government serving out in January 2014.
Posted as OSDs for about four years now, many of the civil servants feel disappointed towards the end of AL government’s tenure.
They said around 250 officials were dumped as OSDs immediately after the Awami League-led government had taken over in January, 2009 and were deprived of promotion and postings in the last four years and a half allegedly on political consideration.
Abdus Sobhan, however, said that none of them were deprived of promotion. The promotions were due and
those eligible have got promoted, he added.
Out of frustration, Dhaka City Corporation official Shahidur Rahman, who was made an official on special duty in July 2009, allegedly committed suicide with his licensed pistol at his city residence on August 16, 2010.
In a state of depression, since he was posted as an OSD, Rahman suffered a stroke that paralysed his left hand and leg.
Three thousand, six hundred and five bureaucrats were made officers on special duty in nine years from 2004 and the government had spent Tk 150.91 crore on their salaries and other benefits.
The public administration ministry reported in May to the High Court in compliance with its June 2012 order asking the government to submit a list of public servants made OSDs in the past 10 years and the amount of money spent on them when they were officers on special duty.
The court passed the order after hearing a public interest litigation writ petition filed by retired civil servant and columnist M Asafuddowlah, challenging the constitutionality of making officials OSDs and paying them without receiving any service from them.
The case is now pending for final hearing, according to officials.
A number of officers said it was a common impression that one was made an OSD as punishment posting on political consideration, which was obviously humiliating for them.
They said some of the OSDs were teaching at private universities as part timers or doing other jobs just to engage with something although they were not allowed to do so without permission.
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