On 6 October, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while addressing a certificate giving and closing ceremony of a law and administration training course organized by the Civil Service Administration Academy in Dhaka, asked the government officials to devote themselves to serving people to make our society a better environment. Referring to articles 7 and 21(2) of our Constitution, she said that people are the owners of the country and government employees are bound to serve people round the clock.
Sheikh Hasina said, “Stay involved in establishing good governance through proper enforcement of laws, stay beside people, and make sure people get justice and not a single person suffers from starvation, remains homeless, is deprived of treatment and education. Discharge your responsibilities keeping eyes on these issues, we want that.” Regarding implementation of the Perspective Plan of the government, she directed the public servants to take innovative initiatives to serve people so that Bangladesh can maintain its developing nation status.
Under the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is now on the stage of developing nations and has the vision to be a developed country by 2041. A country like Bangladesh cannot think of reaching to that level within such limited timeframe unless its people march hand-in-hand with the government in all its development initiatives. Development of the country needs people’s direct participation and involvement in all activities taken by the government. In fact, the people will build their country under the management and supervision of the government machinery. Here, government employees are nobody but the tools for management and supervision while implementing government’s plans and programmes.
Government employees should think themselves as the bridge between the government and the people. Officials, particularly those who work at the field level, are very much attached with the common people. They are fortunate to know details about the practicality of life of those people and the existing local development structures, what their problems are and how to solve those. Understanding people’s force, government employees, if they are intelligent, can do many appreciating activities for the welfare of the people. Sometimes, that environment brings opportunities for them to have innovative ideas to solve many issues. Even, those ideas might be helpful for others.
It is normal, as per service rules and objectives, a government employee will serve the people within his or her responsibilities. They are supposed to provide services to the people with justice and honestly. The officials who need to deal the people directly should have pro-people mentality and openness of mind. At the same time, if they are really dedicated and patriots, their output would be enormous. There is no doubt that people coming in touch of them would be happy and appreciate them. In this context, I would like to mention that present day government officials (not all) are coming out of the old mentality and they are becoming more pro-people in their behaviour, attitude and activities. This is a very positive move that can bring our people to the administration in getting better services. Of course, it would have great impact on our country’s overall development. We must appreciate the process.
However, while they are doing so many praiseworthy works, only one issue, corruption, is tarnishing all their achievements, goodwill and the overall image. Our employees should keep in mind that they will stand beside the people or keep their office-doors opened for the people, but at the same time, would remain far away from any practices of corruption. We know, the people of our country, more or less, face the terrific agony of corruption. Corruption mostly occurs in the government offices, especially the offices that provide public services or are associated with development activities. In fact, the roots of corruption have been deeply embedded in our society. Corruption does not only destroy the human qualities of a person or the members of his family, but also of the entire society. It does not only make people’s life miserable, but overall development of the country also suffers heavily. Anyway, a government official will never be involved in any kind of corruption –the common people expect that from the core of their hearts.
We strongly believe that corruption is one of the major hindrances to the development of the country as well as its people. The government employees should play an important role in anti-corruption campaign starting from the government offices to every sector of the society. We believe that this initiative will definitely contribute to the implementation of the 'zero tolerance' policy of the present government. Above all, if such initiatives can awaken the feelings of the individuals immersed in corruption to return to an honest life, then that will be our biggest achievement. Our officials, while standing beside our people should not forget that whatever they will do must do in an honest way and with sincerity. The people of this country will be with them, if they remain attached with the people. Undoubtedly, we would have an unprecedented pace of development, if we could reduce, at least, the reign of corruption to an acceptable level.
The writer is a former Ambassador and Secretary