Administrative Division of Bangladesh


Before proceed please learn about the Government System in Bangladesh

The administrative Division is also known as Executive Division. It is normally formed by the President, Prime Minister and the cabinet.


President is the highest person in the administrative division of Bangladesh. He is the head of actually a ceremonial post. He runs the administration of the state with advice from the prime minister with a few exceptions. President is elected by the majority vote of the parliament members. He holds office for five years. He can be re-elected. But, an individual cannot be in the position for more than ten years in two terms. During the tenure of the presidentship, none can take any legal action against him in the court. But, in case of a severe complaint and breach of the constitution, he can be released from the office before the expiry of his term through impeachment system in the legislative assembly. The president must be a citizen of Bangladesh and minimum 35 years old. Besides, he must have the competence to be elected as a parliament member. If any person is removed from the post of president, in that case he will never be eligible to become president again.

Work: Discuss the appointment process of the president and make a list of his main qualifications.

Power and Activities of President

A president has to carry out many responsibilities. His power and responsibilities are as follows:

1. He is the head of the state. All the administrative activities of the government are run in his name. He appoints the prime minister. He also appoints other ministers, deputy ministers etc. He appoints the leading executives (Director General of Auditors, ambassadors and other top level executives) of the country too. He is the chief of the armed forces. He appoints the chief of the army, navy and air force. But, he makes the appointments with the suggestions of the prime minister except those of chief justice and the prime minister.

2. President performs some legislative duties. He calls the session of the parliament and with the advice of prime minister he can adjourn it. He can make a speech and send messages to the parliament. A bill is accepted as law if he has given consent to it or if it is considered that he has given consent.

3. Without the permission of the president, money bills cannot be presented in the parliament. President can grant permission for releasing money from the particular fund for sixty days, if the parliament fails to do so in any circumstances.

4. President appoints the chief justice and upon his advice he appoints other judges at appellate & high court divisions. He can reduce or condone the punishment of a condemned person given by a court, or any other authority.

5. President is the source of all the honor of the state. Without his permission no citizen of the country can receive any reward or honor from any foreign country.

6. He can declare a state of emergency in the country if the safety and peace of the society is endangered by war, attack by external enemy or internal clash. But, in this case he must take prior approval from the prime minister.

7. President performs many other duties as well. He chairs the national programs. He confers the titles, medals and honor to eligible persons of the state. Various state level contracts and deeds are drafted and signed upon his instruction. He receives the appointment letter of the foreign ambassadors. He conducts the oath of the prime minister, other ministers and the chief justice.

Work: Write down the main power and activities of a president

Prime Minister

Prime minister is the centre of the cabinet and head of the government. The administration of Bangladesh revolves around him. Prime minister and his ministers are the real administrators of the state. President appoints the reliable person of the majority party in the parliament as the prime minister. For example - in the election (2008) Awami League won the majority number of seats in the parliament. As a result, the president has appointed Sheikh Hasina as the prime minister because she was the leader of the majority party and supported by the majority number of the parliamentarians. Similarly, Begum Khaleda Zia was also appointed as a prime minister in 2001. President can use his own discretion to select the prime minister if there is no majority winner in the parliament.

Prime Minister holds office for five years. But, for any reason if the parliament members bring any charge against him and they are accepted by the parliament, he is to resign from his position before the term of his office. Prime minister can submit resignation willingly too. The cabinet dissolves too with the resignation of the prime minister. For this reason, the prime minister is called the pillar of the government. He is the leader of the parliament and cabinet and head of government.

Work: Discuss the differences between the appointing systems of President and Prime Minister.


Power and Activities of Prime Minister

Prime minister has to perform various duties:

1. Though the administration of the country is run in the name of the president as per constitution, prime minister holds the ruling power of the state. He/She performs all the administrative duties with the help of the cabinet. According to his/her advice, president appoints the ministers, top level executives of the country and ambassadors to foreign countries.

2. Prime minister is the head of the cabinet. He/She fixes the number of the ministers and distributes portfolio among them. He/she supervises the activities of the ministers and co- ordinates the jobs among various ministries. The ministers take suggestion and approval for all the important jobs. He/She can consult with president to terminate any minister if he/she wants. In brief, the cabinet of ministers is formed, operated and dissolved by him.

3. With the instructions and suggestions by the prime minister, the finance minister drafts and places the budget in the parliament.

4. Prime minister is a member and leader of the parliament. He/she plays a vital role in the parliament. Laws are outlined in the assembly under his leadership. He/She advises the president to call the session of the parliament, postpone and dissolve it. In this way, he/she performs important legislative task.

5. He/she plays an important role regarding foreign affairs. No International treaty can be signed without his/her permission. He/she represents the country in international summits.

6. In a state of emergency, he/she can give any instruction without the decision of the cabinet.

7. Prime minister is the preserver of the national interest. He/She makes speeches and statements on state activities to maintain harmony among the people for the national interest.

Work: Write down the main areas of Prime minister's power and activities.

As parliamentary government system is prevailing in Bangladesh, the country, nation and the government revolve round to the prime minster. He is the centre of the administration system of the country.

Council of Ministers

To run the government, there is a cabinet or council of ministers. Prime minister is their leader. He selects the number of ministers, deputy and state ministers and forms the council. The ministers are selected from among the parliament members. A person who is eligible to be elected as a parliament member can be selected as a minister though he is not a member of the parliament. But, their number cannot be more than one tenth of the total number of the ministers in the council. Prime minister distributes the duties and responsibilities of the ministers. The ministers perform their duty being accountable to the parliament individually and collectively. The council of ministers is dissolved if the prime minister resigns or parliament is dissolved for any reason. Prime minister can change the office of any minister if he wants. A minister can resign from his office too.

Power and Functions of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet)

The cabinet is entitled to hold the power to run the administrative functions of the country. It controls the administration in the country. We shall learn about their power and functions below:

1. The members of the cabinet share the power and functions of the administrative power and run the administration as colleagues of the prime minister. They perform duties of their individual ministries. The prime minister has to be accountable to the parliament for the failure of the minister.

2. Cabinet meetings are held regularly under the leadership of the prime minister. All the administrative issues (such as law and order, economic development, foreign affairs, commerce, defense, cost of products and controlling food situation etc.) are discussed in these meetings and necessary policy and decisions are adopted in the meetings.

3. The cabinet of ministers co-ordinates the task of various ministries.

4. Issuance of new laws, amendment of existing laws, leading the parliament are the major tasks of the council of ministers. Besides, they draft new laws, place them in the parliament for approval and take necessary measures to pass them.

5. Every year the government prepares a budget to run the state. The finance minister prepares the draft. Other ministers of the cabinet help to prepare it. One of the major tasks of the cabinet is to get approval of the draft budget in the parliament.

6. To safeguard the sovereignty and ensure security of the state is an important task of the cabinet. It has the responsibility to form the armed forces of the country. Mainly, the president appoints the chief of the armed forces on the basis of the recommendation of the cabinet. To ensure the law and order in the country and safeguard the people is another task of the ministers.

7. The cabinet prepares the foreign policy under the leadership of the prime minister. The cabinet has the responsibility to sign treaty with other countries, establish diplomatic relationship and operate international trade. The cabinet performs these tasks keeping the national interest and honor intact.

8. Ministers' cabinet works as a bridge between government and the people. They convey the government policy to the public and ensures their support in this regard.

Work: Write down the main aspects power and activities of the cabinet.

The Administrative Structure of Bangladesh

The administration is responsible to carry out the administrative activities of the state. A good administration has no other alternative than to maintain the law and order situation in the country and development of the state. For this reason, administration is called the heart of the country. Administration is run under a proper structure. A chart is shown below for the administrative structure of Bangladesh:

From the above chart, we can observe that the administrative structure of Bangladesh is layer based. It has two main levels. The first level is the central administration. The second level of Bangladesh state administration is the field level administration. The first step of the field administration is divisional administration. District administration is on the second level and the upazilla administration is spread to the root level. All the administrative policies and decisions are made in the central level of administration. And these policies are executed all over the country with the help of the field level administration. Field level administration is controlled by the central administration.

Besides, various offices and directorates are attached to different ministries. The director general is the head of this office or directorate. Ministries also have under them various autonomous, semi-autonomous organization, boards and corporations. The activities of these office/directorates are extended to the division, district and upazilla level. These organizations act as a line organization to execute various government activities.

Central Administration

Secretariat is the central point of the Central Administration. All the administrative decisions are taken here. Secretariat is formed under some ministries. A ministry is placed under a minister. There is a secretary in every ministry. He is the administrative head of the ministry and advisor to the minister. All the administrative power of the ministry is controlled by the secretary. The main job of the minister is to design projects and outline policies. Secretary is responsible to help the minister to implement policy and support administration.

Additional secretary is the second main administrative officer. He helps the secretary to carry out various responsibilities. In absence of the secretary he performs the duties of the secretary. For every subdivision of the ministry, there is a joint secretary. He also helps the secretary in different issues. He performs the duties to maintain the staff and office of the ministry. The deputy secretary performs the duties to maintain one or more departments of the ministry. He helps the joint secretary and additional secretary to initiate a policy through suggestions and cooperation. Every department has a senior assistant secretary and an assistant secretary. They carry out responsibilities in serious issues consulting the deputy secretary. There are many officers and general staff in the ministry. They also play important role in the activities of the ministry.

It is mentionable that there is no limit to ministries in the government and number of additional secretaries, joint secretaries, deputy secretaries and senior assistant secretaries, assistant secretaries in a ministry. Their number is fixed on the basis of the work volume of the ministry.

Divisional Administration

There are eight divisions in Bangladesh. Divisional Commissioner is the head of the administration of each division. He works as the divisional administrative head as a representative of the central administration. He is accountable to the center for his activities.

The divisional commissioner looks after the activities of the district commissioners. He implements and oversees the developmental work of the division. He also arranges to collect land tax and looks after the government land. He looks after the transfers of the District Commissioner. He works for the development of sports, arts, literature and cultural activities of the division. He looks after the public welfare and service-oriented activities. In case of a natural disaster, he ensures relief and rehabilitation for the victims.

District Administration

District administration is an important stage of the field level administration. District commissioner is the main executive. He is an experienced member of Bangladesh Public Service Commission. All the activities of the district are operated revolving him. We shall learn about the activities of the District Commissioner below:

1. Administrative work: District commissioner executes and implements all the decisions and orders from the center. He looks after various activities of the district and co- ordinates them. He recruits people for the vacant positions of district level administration.

2. Revenue Related and Monetary Activities: District commissioner is the treasurer and director of the district treasury. He is responsible for collecting all the revenues of the district; that is why he is also known as the collector. Besides, he also resolves the disputes related to land development, registration and revenue.

3. Law and order related job: To maintain the law and order situation in the district and to ensure the security of the people is his responsibility. He carries out the responsibility with the help of the police administration.

4. Developmental work: District commissioner is the key to all development of the district. He is responsible for the implementation of the developmental works (education, agriculture, industry, roads and communication system etc.). He has to look after the victims of natural disasters and rehabilitate them.

5. Local administrative jobs: District commissioner looks after the local autonomous organizations (upazilla parishad, municipality, union council). He co-ordinates the work of all the departments and organizations in the district.

As the highest person in the district administration, he performs some additional jobs. He controls the newspaper and publication departments of the district. He provides the business license in the district. He collects various information in the district and informs the government accordingly. Because of his vast area of activities, he is termed as the main pillar of administration in the district level. He is not only the administrator of the district but also a servant, director and friend.

Upazilla Administration

Bangladesh has 490 administrative upazillas. Upazilla Executive Officer is the head of the upazilla administration. His main responsibility is to supervise the administrative work of the upazilla. Besides, he looks after all the development work of the upazilla and the expenditure of the government fund. He is the head of the Upazilla Development Committee. He arranges relief and rehabilitation for the victims of natural disasters. He takes initiative to face and prevent the disasters. He is the treasurer of the Upazilla Treasury. He also performs various duties as imposed by the government.

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