Md. Shahriar Islam's picture

Good Democratic Local Governance in Bangladesh: Ramification of Upazila Parishad in Accelerating Local Development

The objective of the paper is to look at the various governance and democratic aspects such as participation, accountability, transparency, rule of law etc. at the Upazila level in Bangladesh and to what extent the indicators portray good democratic local governance at the Upazila level. This paper examines to what extent the aspects of governance and democracy is being channeled to ensure that the needs and wants of the local people are met and alleviate poverty towards local development. Our paper would discuss whether the Upazila Parishad in Bangladesh is ensuring good democratic local governance to expedite the development process at the local level.

Challenges and Obstacles in Federalism and Democracy

This article briefly describes some of the challenges to the traditional fields of economy and political area: the public choice approach, the tragedy of the commons debate, the ‘new’ institutional economy, and behavioral challenges. Then, the components of a basic analytical framework are presented that provide a general means for analyzing public economies and diverse forms of collective action. Descriptive study related to public economies, common-pool resources, and behavioral change have summarized what has contributed to the field of institutions. The last section concludes that the macro foundations of institutions appear firmer than the micro foundations related to the model of the individual to be used and discusses this problem.
Narendra Raj Paudel's picture

Democratic Responsiveness in Nepal: A Case of Constitution Drafting Process by Constituent Assembly

This paper examines the ways and means of the constitution drafting process in Nepal. It is argued that preparation of the constitution draft depends upon the mandate of the Constituent Assembly election, constitution-drafting process and pressure from the public. It is assumed that the constitution has to address the needs and aspirations of the people. In this study, both primary and secondary sources of information were used to consolidate the study. Basically, primary information was gathered through an in-depth interview with politicians, law makers, political analysts, journalists and constitutional experts. So far as secondary information is concerned, the data was retrieved through the web page of the Constituent Assembly. In addition to this, other information about the meetings of Constituent Assembly was taken from the office records of Constituent Assembly Secretariat. The study revealed that Nepal adopted inductive approach to draft the new constitution. For this, 601 Constituent Assembly members were elected through Constituent Assembly election in 2008. Forty groups were formed to collect public opinion from all the constituencies. Near about five hundred thousand suggestions were collected. These suggestions were categorized on the basis of area coverage by thematic committees formed by the Constituent Assembly. Eventually, each thematic committee prepared the report and sent them to the Constituent Assembly via the constitutional committee. These reports were discussed in the Constituent Assembly. On the basis of reports and suggestions given by Constituent Assembly members, the constitutional committee prepared the preliminary draft of the constitution along with agreed and disagreed articles of the constitution. For arriving at consensus on the contentious issues, a sub-committee under the leadership of Prachanda (leader of main political party i.e. Unified Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) was formed under the constitutional committee. This committee narrowed down the 250 disputed issues of the constitution to 20. Basically, these disputes were related to forms of government, judiciary, elections and structure of federalism. The study revealed that Constituent Assembly members did not pay much attention to the draft constitution by focusing on the abovementioned disputes. Their discussions only began from minor issues which might be similar tothat other countries. At the last moment, they entered into the main issues of the constitution. The election result mandated them to draft the constitution on the basis of consensus. None of political parties had gained majority or two-thirds majority in the Constituent Assembly. The major challenges in drafting the constitution are different ideologies of the political parties, inter or intra-party conflict, instability of the government, the lingering integration of the Maoist combatants into the Nepali Army.

Democratization in Bangladesh: An Analysis of Bangladesh Armed Force’s Non-intervention in Politics Influenced by the Participation in United Nations Peace Keeping Operation

Bangladesh Armed Force (BAF) is actively participating in the United Nations Peace Keeping Operation (UNPKO) since 1988. The growing involvement of Bangladeshi peacekeepers is tantamount to its new orientation with the functioning of generic constitutional process. The democratic governance in Bangladesh is also uninterruptedly in place since the popular uprising in 1990. Considering the close proximity of these two facts the article has assessed whether there is any reciprocity in the context of BAF’s nonintervention in Bangladeshi politics and its participation in UNPKO since the 90s. The article has attempted to answer whether one is contributing to the sustenance of the other. The very interdependency between the BAF’s participation in UNPKO and BAF’s nonintervention in the democratic system in Bangladesh has become a political reality. In 2007 BAF was about to intervene the regular democratic political system. Evidence shows that it was the pressure of abandoning BAF from UNPKO has deterred them to become directly involved in politics. Due to the nature of activities in the UNPKO, BAF has been informed with human security approach. In the process BAF has to work closely with the civil administration and local government. The article has explained whether such involvement is instrumental to reduce the gap of the BAF’s understanding about the functioning of civilian and political institutions. The article has also underscored the impact from individual level human security orientation to the BAF’s institutional approach towards the political government. To understand such dynamics the author has conducted a qualitative analysis using mainly the available secondary literatures. The present article is an endeavor to understand the sustenance of Bangladeshi democracy in the context of new civil-military relationship due to UNPKO.
Ishtiaq Jamil's picture

Policy Making in Urban Bangladesh: Whose Domination?

The main purpose of this paper is to identify actors involved in the process of policy formulation in urban governance in Bangladesh and analyze the roles of dominant actors in the process of policy formulation. The study employed a case-oriented qualitative research method. Rajshahi City Corporation was selected as the unit of analysis. The available data substantiates that among three actors i.e. state, society and corporation council (parishad), the council is playing the dominant role in policy making. It has also found that the Mayor is the most dominant actor in the council as he draws support from the majority of ward commissioners in his favor. This informal network of relationship that the mayor nurtures resembles patron-client relationship where the mayor dominates by dint of his political linkages and administrative position, and acts as patron to dispense favor and reward to ward commissioners and other members in the network.

War and Democratization: Legality, Legitimacy and Effectiveness

Book Review o the book War and Democratization: Legality, Legitimacy and Effectiveness Edited by Wolfgang Merkel and Sonja Grimm, and published in 2008

Post-Conflict Peace-Building in Nepal: A Perspective from Civil Society

The Nepalese civil society groups are enlarging the domain of public sphere to overcome democratic deficit, socially and ecologically unsuitable development and bitterly cleaved politics which has become a major challenge for peace-building. Modernization of the infrastructure of democracy, such as the state, political parties, NGOs, CBOs, public interest groups and the agencies of socialization, is a precondition to democracy consolidation and developing their compliance to democratic peace. Accountability of governance to the public and push for conflict-sensitive concrete programs requires civil society to work for conflict mediation as well as post-conflict reconstruction, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence along with the state, private sectors and international community. A robust interface between the state and institutions of civil society is essential to enable their efficacy in the realization of the vision of peaceful society that is both just and legitimate. Similarly, broadening awareness of the citizens about the changing nature of the national and local environment for all the actors, their interest positioning and shift from hostile position to identifying enlightened interests for shared gains is essential for a durable peace.

Youth Activism and Challenges of Democratic Governance in Assam, India

The state politics of Assam, the most conflict-ridden area of North-East India, reflects increasing youth activism. The official records of the All Assam Students’ Union, the biggest student organization of North-East region, and government reports on those as well as other material evidences show that youth activism has toppled the state governments, and also, at times forced governments to negotiate on issues involving policies affecting polity and society of all the states in North-East India. We also see youth making a determined bid to change the existing socio-political processes of the state. Such activism could be summarized as the engagement of youths in organizing people for some aspects of social action. It is also found that contrary to the Western societies, the hegemonic role played by both the youths and middle classes has been instrumental in achieving the unity of the community involving all segments of the greater Assamese community. Such activism in contemporary Assam is taking place in a political reality which centers round democratic governance of the state of India. Therefore, there is a possibility that the political attitude and the behavior of the youth might have challenged the democratic governance of the state affecting the process of development. This paper aims at examining how youth activism as a social phenomenon influences the democratic governance in Assam, particularly in the matter of popular participation. The researchable question we intend to examine is – does youth activism motivate people to participate in democratic politics? There is an urgent need to examine this aspect so that we can arrive at a better understanding of youth activism and its consequences for democratic governance of the state.
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