Governance in Practice: Decentralization and People's Participation in the Local Development of Bangladesh

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dc.contributor.author Asaduzzaman, Mohammed -
dc.date.accessioned 2012-12-03T12:13:54Z
dc.date.available 2012-12-03T12:13:54Z
dc.date.issued 2008 -
dc.identifier.isbn 978-951-44-7410-1 -
dc.identifier.uri http://tampub.uta.fi/handle/10024/67900
dc.description.abstract The issue of governance and good governance has gained importance among practitioners of public administration, international aid agencies (IAA) and the OECD countries, due to rapid economic growth, remarkable breakthroughs in information technology, and as the role of third sector in poverty alleviation in the developing countries has emerged. Decentralized local governance and people s participation are two of the major policy concerns regarding governance and good governance. It is widely argued that decentralization ensures people s participation, promotes political education and training, equal and efficient distribution of resources, trustworthy relationship among various actors of central and local governance and enhances responsiveness of the central government for citizen s demands and priorities. It has been widely accepted that poor governance and week institutions have constituted significant constraints on administrative, economic and political development since the independence of Bangladesh. Hence, decentralization and people s participation have been the political rhetoric of almost all successive regimes in Bangladesh. However, recent experiences show that these two important issues were actually not promoted by any successive government in Bangladesh since the independence. Given this background, the aim of this research, is to find out the threats and challenges of decentralization and people s participation in Bangladesh. The research has been conducted as an empirical study. Methods and techniques of qualitative research have been used to collect primary data for the study. These have included case study method, formal and informal questionnaires, participatory rural appraisal (PRA), local cultural appraisal (LCA), chain and purposeful approach (snowball approach) and participant observation. In addition, a considerable size of data and information has been gathered from various secondary sources. Governance, good governance, decentralization and people s participation constitute the key concepts of this study and they have been extensively clarified and analyzed through reviewing contemporary literatures ranging from neo-classical writers to political economists. Critical overview of decentralization policy and people s participation in Bangladesh in general is presented from historical perspective. The grassroots level reality of decentralization and people s participation is presented through analyzing data from the case studies, interviews and PRA sessions. The role of local government institutions (public, private and non-profit) are also presented in a comparative manner. This study has identified two different factors that reveal the existing threats and challenges for decentralization and people s participation in Bangladesh. These are classified as independent factors and dependent factors. Political intervention and bureaucratic resistance are considered as independent factors. Corruption, weak institutional framework, lack of resources, coordination and adequate knowledge are identified as the dependent factors. This study states that the dependent factors can not be eliminated unless and until the independent factors are effectively removed. The major findings of this research are: a) despite frequent reform measures, the policy of decentralization and people s participation is still entrapped around the discourse of governance as merely an illusionary vision, due to strong political and bureaucratic intervention; b) formal, informal and background (invisible) actors seriously jeopardize even the theoretical application of people s participation; c) as a result, corruption has swelled and expanded into every sector of the country; d) although the contemporary non-profit and private institutions are structurally weaker than the public institutions, functionally they are stronger; and e) strong public institutions can not work properly given their various malfunctioning practices whereas weak institutional structures (NGOs) are able to work effectively due to their good practices. Based on these findings, the study suggests that a partnership based form of local governance system would work for the future decentralization and people s participation in Bangladesh. fi
dc.description.abstract The issue of governance and good governance has gained importance among practitioners of public administration, international aid agencies (IAA) and the OECD countries, due to rapid economic growth, remarkable breakthroughs in information technology, and as the role of third sector in poverty alleviation in the developing countries has emerged. Decentralized local governance and people s participation are two of the major policy concerns regarding governance and good governance. It is widely argued that decentralization ensures people s participation, promotes political education and training, equal and efficient distribution of resources, trustworthy relationship among various actors of central and local governance and enhances responsiveness of the central government for citizen s demands and priorities. It has been widely accepted that poor governance and week institutions have constituted significant constraints on administrative, economic and political development since the independence of Bangladesh. Hence, decentralization and people s participation have been the political rhetoric of almost all successive regimes in Bangladesh. However, recent experiences show that these two important issues were actually not promoted by any successive government in Bangladesh since the independence. Given this background, the aim of this research, is to find out the threats and challenges of decentralization and people s participation in Bangladesh. The research has been conducted as an empirical study. Methods and techniques of qualitative research have been used to collect primary data for the study. These have included case study method, formal and informal questionnaires, participatory rural appraisal (PRA), local cultural appraisal (LCA), chain and purposeful approach (snowball approach) and participant observation. In addition, a considerable size of data and information has been gathered from various secondary sources. Governance, good governance, decentralization and people s participation constitute the key concepts of this study and they have been extensively clarified and analyzed through reviewing contemporary literatures ranging from neo-classical writers to political economists. Critical overview of decentralization policy and people s participation in Bangladesh in general is presented from historical perspective. The grassroots level reality of decentralization and people s participation is presented through analyzing data from the case studies, interviews and PRA sessions. The role of local government institutions (public, private and non-profit) are also presented in a comparative manner. This study has identified two different factors that reveal the existing threats and challenges for decentralization and people s participation in Bangladesh. These are classified as independent factors and dependent factors. Political intervention and bureaucratic resistance are considered as independent factors. Corruption, weak institutional framework, lack of resources, coordination and adequate knowledge are identified as the dependent factors. This study states that the dependent factors can not be eliminated unless and until the independent factors are effectively removed. The major findings of this research are: a) despite frequent reform measures, the policy of decentralization and people s participation is still entrapped around the discourse of governance as merely an illusionary vision, due to strong political and bureaucratic intervention; b) formal, informal and background (invisible) actors seriously jeopardize even the theoretical application of people s participation; c) as a result, corruption has swelled and expanded into every sector of the country; d) although the contemporary non-profit and private institutions are structurally weaker than the public institutions, functionally they are stronger; and e) strong public institutions can not work properly given their various malfunctioning practices whereas weak institutional structures (NGOs) are able to work effectively due to their good practices. Based on these findings, the study suggests that a partnership based form of local governance system would work for the future decentralization and people s participation in Bangladesh. en
dc.language.iso en -
dc.publisher Tampere University Press -
dc.relation.isformatof 978-951-44-7409-5 -
dc.subject Governance -
dc.subject Good Governance -
dc.subject Decentralization -
dc.subject People s Participation -
dc.subject Union Parishad -
dc.subject Upazila Parishad and Bangladesh -
dc.title Governance in Practice: Decentralization and People's Participation in the Local Development of Bangladesh -
dc.type.ontasot fi=Väitöskirja | en=Doctoral dissertation| -
dc.identifier.urn urn:isbn:978-951-44-7410-1 -
dc.relation.numberinseries 1334 -
dc.seriesname Acta Universitatis Tamperensis -
dc.oldstats 856 -
dc.seriesname.electronic Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis -
dc.relation.numberinserieselectronic 749 -
dc.publisher.electronic Tampere University Press -
dc.subject.study Hallintotiede - Administrative Science -
dc.date.dissertation 2008-10-17 -
dc.onsale 1 -
dc.faculty fi=Kauppa- ja hallintotieteiden tiedekunta | en=Faculty of Economics and Administration| -
dc.department fi=Johtamistieteiden laitos | en=Department of Management Studies| -

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