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Regardless of the types and models that a country or institution may adopt, accountability helps assess the effectiveness of officials or public bodies and ensures that public bodies are operating at their full potential and engaged in the delivery of public services offer good value for money and create trust in the system Md Mahmud Hassan Talukdar and Anamika Debnath

“RESTORE responsibility and accountability is essential to the economic and fiscal health of our nation,” said Carl Levin, an American attorney, Democratic Party politician and US Senator. Accountability reflects a functional relationship between government and the public. This can be ensured in three ways: (1) G2C or government-to-citizen, (2) G2B, government-to-business, and (3) G2G, government-to-government.

The government-to-government accountability mechanism is commonly referred to as e-governance, and in this system, information and communication technologies are used at different levels of government for the purpose of improving good governance. Strategies for ensuring accountability include building relationships, taking ownership, providing tools for success, and providing continuous feedback. Depending on the nature of the work, four types of accountability (upward, downward, internal, and external) are widely practiced.

Upward accountability represents the traditional relationship of a public institution to central government. Internal accountability focuses on professional or ethical standards and relationships, and accountability between peer groups. External accountability refers to the responsiveness of a particular organization or individual to its external customers, foreign agents, and other external stakeholders. In an ideal democratic society, the presence of these four faces of accountability is mandatory.

Regardless of the different types and models that a country or institution may adopt, accountability helps assess the ongoing effectiveness of officials or public bodies and ensures that public bodies are operating at their full potential and in delivering public services Provide value for money services and build trust in the system.

It builds self-esteem, an admirable streak of character, better productivity, and long-term vision. Accountability is a prerequisite for ensuring good governance. Both public and private services in Bangladesh are not adequately resourced to ensure accountability to citizens. Experts, policymakers and officials have identified the following reasons for the lack of governance in the country:

— The institutional means of gaining control over service providers are weak in Bangladesh.

— Bangladesh’s Comptroller and Auditor General has constitutional powers to maintain financial accountability, but the system for holding the offender accountable is very lengthy and complicated.

— Civil servants are generally not interested in a participatory leadership style.

— Rarely are actions taken against incidents of misconduct or misappropriation of funds.

— No one dares to go to an administrative court because the procedure is cumbersome and cumbersome.

— Civil society in Bangladesh has yet to play its proper and objective role.

— The institutions tasked with ensuring the rule of law and accountability have become dysfunctional due to politicization.

Bangladesh’s current status in terms of accountability is fickle and there is no set target to improve the situation. However, accountability is required to prepare the base, set the goal and perform accordingly. Recently, Bangladesh has started to prioritize political, bureaucratic, business, audit, reputational, tax and legal responsibilities at different levels across the country. In order to fulfill the promises made in the 2008 election manifesto, the political party in power has taken several initiatives to ensure e-governance at central and local level.

The following government initiatives are noteworthy: national electronic service system e-procurement; video conferencing; Support for the ICT Task Force in the Ministry of Planning; Internet backbone of the secretariat; joint work of the Cabinet Division and Access to Information in various projects; Bangla GovNet; ICT Department and the Department of IT; the ICT Policy 2009 and the ICT Act 2006, 2013; Info Sarker; Right to Information Act 2009; rural union digital centres; a larger market for e-devices and government tax breaks on importing IT equipment; and rural-scale uninterruptible power and connectivity.

Despite these recent initiatives, traditional practices still dominate the administrative system at central and local level in Bangladesh. Along with the accountability assessment, the Government of Bangladesh can strengthen accountability by taking the few immediate measures as follows: (a) Emphasizing effective oversight across the entire hierarchical system, span of control, unity of command, inspection, the surveillance and the loyalty; (b) a free, fair and responsible press can play an important role in holding administrators to account; (c) the Ombudsperson’s regular hearing of citizens’ grievances and grievances can make officials more accountable; (d) to avoid misappropriation of public funds, resources should be treated with an iron fist, and exemplary punishment in case of misuse of funds is a must; (e) strengthening the role of civil society by involving it through the introduction of a social audit system; and (f) the practice of participatory planning and management in every governmental institution can play a central role in strengthening democratic processes and good governance.

Md Mahmud Hassan Talukdar is an urban planner, policy researcher and development expert and Anamika Debnath is a public health practitioner and urban planner.

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