No constitutional basis for BCS quotas: Akbar Ali
Sunday, 30 March 2008

HTML clipboardStaff Correspondent

Akbar Ali KhanFaulting the appointment system of the Public Service Commission, Akbar Ali Khan said Saturday that there is no constitutional basis for the present Bangladesh Civil Service quota system.

Speaking at the review of a report on the 'Quota system for civil service recruitment in Bangladesh', the chairman of the Regulatory Reforms Commission urged the government to revise BCS quotas and appoint more civil servants through examinations on the basis of merit.

"There is no basis for the present quota system in the constitution," Akbar Ali said, adding that there should be no such quotas "permanently or for an indefinite period".

"It gives people an impression that less efficient people get appointments through the quota system and thus the quality of public administration drops." Akbar Ali, a former adviser to the caretaker government, said allocation of appointments on the basis of quotas should not be greater than on the basis of merit.

At present 45 per cent of appointments are made on the basis of merit and 55 per cent on quotas. Of the quotas, 30 per cent are reserved for freedom fighters, 10 per cent for district level candidates, 10 per cent for women and five per cent for indigenous communities.

Akbar Ali proposed raising the share of appointments on the basis of merit to 50 per cent from 45 per cent. Chairman of the Public Service Commission Saadat Hussain termed the proposal a positive one. "Discussions will be held at divisional level outside Dhaka to seek public opinion on the quota system in next two months," the PSC chairman said. "Later a concluding seminar will be held and the recommendations submitted to the government," Saadat added.

He hoped a revised quota system would be implemented for the 28th BCS examination. "If the revised quotas are approved before the results of the 27th BCS exams are out, then it may even be possible to apply them for this batch," Saadat said.

The assessment report on the civil service quota system was prepared by RRC chairman Akbar Ali Khan and former secretary Kazi Raquib Uddin Ahmed, at the initiative of the Public Service Commission.

The report, with recommendations for revising the quota system, was submitted to PSC chairman Saadat Hussain on Mar 6. Lawyers, academics, civil servants and civil society representatives took part in Saturday's review meeting held at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital.

Participants said quotas or any other system would not produce good results if the overall education system did not improve. Akbar Ali said in the past many allegations of injustice and corruption arose due to the quota system. The RRC chairman claimed if the quota system was removed immediately, however, there would be objections: "A specific timeframe should be fixed."

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