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Promotion in admin on hold

Aggrieved officials mount pressure for posting, promotion

Staff Correspondent

Promotions of several hundred officials to the rank of additional secretary and deputy secretary have been kept on hold, apparently in fear of adverse reactions in civil bureaucracy ahead of the 10th parliamentary polls.   
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, recently sent back a summary of the proposal for the promotion of around 90 joint secretaries to additional secretary amidst volatile political situation over the elections scheduled for January 5, 2014, said officials concerned.
A group of aggrieved officials, who were either made officers on special duty or deprived of promotions allegedly on political considerations in last five years, on Sunday again called on public administration ministry senior secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder at the secretariat seeking redress.
‘They have raised their demands for postings and promotions, but there are no vacancies for postings in the joint secretary level and above at the moment due to recent promotions in excess of the approved posts,’ Abdus Sobhan told New Age.
A section of aggrieved officials in a kind of ‘showdown’ moved in the secretariat for the second time as the countdown to the national election began on November 25, a number of officers observed.
The public administration ministry, meanwhile, has also prepared the list of about 300 senior assistant secretaries based on the recommendations of the Superior Selection Board for promotion to deputy secretary, allegedly to please a section of officials ahead of the polls.
‘The lists of candidates for promotions to additional secretary and deputy secretary have been made on the basis of the SSB recommendations…The ministry is prepared to give the promotions anytime subject to the prime minister’s approval,’ Abdus Sobhan had said earlier.
He agreed that the promotion might cause adverse reactions since all the aspirants would not be promoted at a time as there were no vacancies.   
Replying to a question, the secretary said that the promotion was a routine work of the public administration ministry and it had got nothing to do with the election. 
The Superior Selection Board led by cabinet secretary Mohammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan in the last month finalised the lists of around 80 joint secretaries, mostly from the 1984 batch of the Bangladesh Civil Service, and nearly 300 senior assistant secretaries, mostly from 20th BCS batch, for the promotions, a senior official said.
‘One of the main purposes of the planned promotions is to please a section of civil bureaucrats ahead of the national polls although there are no vacancies in the organogram. But it is now evident that many will be deprived again if the promotions are given at this moment,’ a senior official said.
He said that the aspirants including those who were left out earlier from the promotion process were mounting pressure on the government for the promotions.
The fresh promotion might fuel agitations in the administration ahead of the national polls scheduled for January 5, 2014, the officials involved in the promotion process told New Age.
The latest bid at the fag end of the Awami League government’s five-year tenure and just ahead of the election has raised many eyebrows. The move came following a huge pressure from a section of officials known as loyal to the ruling quarter in the public administration, according to the officials.  
Sobhan Sikder said that the promotions were given recently beyond the formal structure in bureaucracy, in many cases on ‘humanitarian ground’ not on political considerations. 
On November 27, over 100 aggrieved officials, most of them have remained as OSDs in last five years, called on the cabinet secretary and the public administration ministry’s senior secretary. 
They pressed for overdue promotions and postings to create a level-playing field in administration just a couple of days after the Election Commission had declared the schedule for the national poll, officials said.
There are already over 1,317 deputy secretaries against 830 approved posts as set out in the formal structure of the administration. In addition, there are around 1016 joint secretaries against 350 posts and 239 additional secretaries against 120 posts, according to official records.

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