Thursday, July 9, 2020 | ePaper

Minister's Criteria

To Get A Room In The Cabinet

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Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :
Who belongs to real minister class and who deserves to be a minister? In answer to this question, everybody can say that honest, capable, efficient, hard working; need to be a minister of the people. Some will say that young or middle-aged people need to be ministers. Some feel that the expert person in this regard needs to be a minister. People look for the ideal minister in their eyes.  Since Bangladesh's independence, more than five hundred people have been ministers in the 26 cabinet meetings formed so far. Although they are not all, many people remember Dr. Fasihuddin Mahtab, who had been the planning minister for some time in the cabinet of the Ershad government. He once said while being the Minister of Planning, he does not sleep at night thinking of the country. The condition of the country was so bad that millions of people could not get enough food twice. Therefore, if he is the planning minister of the country, it is normal for him not to sleep at night. But at present the country is not like that. Is the country now problem free?
Although there is no such food problem in the country, people's expectations have gone up. Therefore, it is not possible for ministers to be indifferent to anything. For example, the number of educated unemployed people in our country is so high that it equals to the number of population in many countries of the world. Although many of these young people do not have food problems, they now are optimistic for a beautiful life. Besides, the expectations of many of their families, they will finish their education and take care of their families. Many parents have become even older, and have no ability to take over the world as before. Many elderly parents are ill. They now need financial help, including medical treatment.
It is not known at present what the responsibility of a ministry is to solve unemployment problems. Different ministries operate on their own strategy, so no single ministry considers it as their own business. As a result, there is no coordination, no goals in the various ministries. There is no clear direction or plan for the ADP or the Seventh Five Year Plan. To fulfil that expectation of the people, a committed minister is needed. The minister needs to have the ability to implement the election manifesto. The minister needs to implement the SDGs. The minister needs, as he can determine the needs of the people, make it a priority and implement it. The minister needs to work for the country, not his own territory. The minister needs to respect the people. We must have a minister not to rule of advice but to serve and create example.
If a minister is an expert in any subject, good; but, nothing comes. Because the minister's job is not the routine work of that office, his secretary is sufficient for routine work. We don't have to be a highway engineer to be a Road Transport minister; we don't have to be a railway engineer to be a railway minister; there is no need to be a shipbuilding veteran or a physician to be a health minister or to be a minister of shipping. Because these works are done by the technical experts of the department.  A minister's first task, therefore, is to have the mandate to do what the people expect from his ministry, whether there is a policy or planning deficit, whether there are any coordination issues, and his ministry's policy on implementing the election manifesto's promise and review the strategy or not. The Prime Minister needs to set a deadline for his ministers in this regard, so that they can identify the deficiencies of the ministry within a certain period of time and decide the programmes or actions to be taken.
In a democratic country, it is very important for ministers to have responsibility and accountability for the establishment of good governance and rules of law. The responsibility of ministers means that ministers must be held accountable jointly and single with Parliament for all their works and will resign if they lose confidence in Parliament. In the parliamentary government system, the "responsibility of ministers" refers to the accountability of the ministers to the Parliament, ie political responsibility; this is not a legal obligation. In the modern public welfare state, the Ministers are jointly responsible for all the general policies and decisions of the government, and each minister is directly responsible to Parliament for his or her personal and departmental works. Directly responsible because ministers have to explain matters directly to Parliament; questionnaires have to be given and the resignation proposal or non-confidence proposal should be resigned immediately. Ministers are indirectly responsible to the people, but they are not directly accountable; but the Parliament that is directly responsible to the peole is made up of elected representatives of the people. So being responsible to the public representatives indirectly means being accountable to the people.
The transparency and accountability of the cabinet-ruled government is to be ensured through the ministers concerned. In the modern public welfare state, the acceptance and popularity of the government lies in the work of the minister. The success of the cabinet-ruled government depends on the implementation of a proper, beautiful and proper working plan of ministers. A minister becomes successful and popular by implementing various strategies of the ministry for implementing various strategies to implement the work of the ministers. He can mobilize the ministry by arranging his ministry in a neat structure. Besides, we can turn its subordinate officers and staff into an administratively trained, skilled and experienced staff.
So, the discussion shows that if a parliamentary government ensures accountability of all ministers in the governance system, a people-friendly and welfare-free state will be established. We have to come to reality without scientific fantasy. We want a minister who is able to perform his duties properly. The country does not need many educational degrees. Only we need visionary ministers. Who will not give lip-service but create an example.

(Writer, Reacherser & Columnist)

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