Pranab Kumar Panday's picture

Does Institutional Change Ensure Gender Mainstreaming in Politics? The Experience of Bangladesh

Institutional change is considered as one of the important mechanisms to ensure gender main-streaming in politics since after the Beijing Conference in 1995. The significance of institutional changes is immense in a country where society is dominated by patriarchy and males and institutions are not women-friendly. Under such a circumstance, the paper tries to explore the importance of institutional change in mainstreaming gender in the political process of the local government in Bangladesh and its impact on the state of women’s participation. Based on both empirical and secondary data, the finding of the study has come out with the conclusion that it is really difficult to ensure women’s greater participation in politics without bringing changes in the institutional rules. Institutional changes that have been brought through different reforms have become successful in ensuring the presence of more women in the local government political process, but those have failed to ensure real participation of women in the decision-making process. This has made them play an “ornamental” role in the decision-making process.

A Review on Women’s Representation in Parliament: Bangladesh Perspective

Women’s equal representation in the parliament is important to enhance the nature and quality of democracy by making the legislature more representative. The political scenario in the different parts of the globe reflects a very woeful picture of women’s representation in legislative bodies. Even now, none of the democracies around the world have been able to reach the numerically equal stage in terms of women’s parliamentary representation. In Bangladesh, although women are strengthening their positions in terms of education and employment, a career in politics is not one of them. The very small presence of women in the parliament is indicative of the very low level of their involvement in the country’s political arena. Democracy cannot flourish without a fair representation of women in the parliament, the most powerful institution of democratic nations. The factors that hamper or facilitate women's representation in elective positions vary with the level of socio-economic development, culture and the type of political system. Currently, the percentage of women members in Bangladesh parliament through electoral politics is just 6.3 per cent. This paper attempts to divulge into the key issues related to women’s extremely poor representation based on the critical reviews of the existing literatures.

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.

An Analysis of the State of Rule of Law during Assam Movement in Assam, India

Youth movement is a prominent feature of politics of Assam viewed as the most disruptive area of North-East India. Youth participation in various mass movements and their initiation of such struggles has been significant here. It has been viewed that every democratic movement in Assam seemed to be initiated by youth, which is evident from the colonial period. In the post independent era, youths are making a determined bid to change the existing society and polity of the state. Such movements have also toppled the state governments and at times forced governments to negotiate on issues involving policies affecting governance of the state. Such occurrences of youth movements in contemporary Assam center round democratic politics of India. Democratic politics involves a process of decision making that again involves popular participation. Participation of this kind would, of course, involve the principles of civil liberties and rule of law. Since youth movements have been a fact of history of the politics of Assam, there is a possibility that such movements might have affected the essential norms of democratic politics of the state. If we define democracy to include political participation, civil liberties and rule of law, it is necessary to examine how these features of democracy are affected by youth movement. This paper aims at examining how youth movement influences the democratic politics of Assam, particularly in the matter of rule of law. The researchable question we intend to examine is – does youth movement affect rule of law, the basic norm of democratic politics of the state? To facilitate the above, we plan to analyze the politics of the “Assam Movement” (1979-85) led by All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), the leading student union of Assam, for an enhanced understanding of consequences of youth movement for norms of democratic politics of the state.

Administrative Reform in Bangladesh: An Overview of Political Dynamics

This paper explores the interplay between politics and administrative reform in Bangladesh by drawing some perspectives from other developing countries. It covers the period both before and after democratization of the country, hinging around the events of 1991, and thus provides the opportunity for comparisons. It has sought to draw out the relative importance of political will (including the intentions and authority) of governments, and to critically assess their capacity, the degree of co-operation they gained from civil service actors, and to assess the relevance and appropriateness of international donor interventions.

Youth Organizations as a Starting Point to Formal Politics: A Case of Malaysia

Civil society is an important agent for development, capable of ensuring national stability, and sovereignty to support progress and development. However, studies of civil society including youth organizations in Malaysia are rare in comparison to other areas. The under-researched nature of this area strengthens the interest in examining youth organizations and their contribution to Malaysian political development. This study investigates the values, practices and characteristics of the civil society, especially the young people, in Malaysian political development. The main proposition of this study is that youth organizations play a significant role in Malaysian political development such as creating awareness and interest to formal and informal politics. Although the presence of informal groupings of youth is found in Malaysian society, this paper focuses on formal youth organizations because they are the major components of structured-organizations of the civil society or the non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These NGOs have comprehensive coverage geographically and inclusive of rural areas. The research employs a mixed-methods technique to address both primary and secondary data. These primary and secondary data are analyzed through independent and integrative analyses as such triangulation enhances the reliability and validity of the findings.

Innovations in Public Service Delivery for Ordinary Citizens

Innovations have become key players in defining pro-poor governance. While this provides visibility to a good work of an administrator it also raises many perplexing questions. Their need, appropriateness and impact has challenged traditional bureaucracy and by doing so has brought a refreshing change in society. Interestingly, they are reified as something existing outside the bureaucracy and beyond administrative capacities. They have become the fly wheel of governance even though they tend to do what bureaucracy should be doing but fails to do. The instrumentalist state relies on innovations in service delivery and democratization of society becomes inadvertent fallout of its implementation process. New partnerships and private networks come to occupy the space where bureaucracy withdraws but their interaction is largely guided and premeditated by the state politics. The paper attempts to understand and analyze the nature and role of innovations in pro-poor governance.

Governance Reform in Political Transition: The Case of Nepal’s Civil Service Reform

The democratic movements of 1990 and 2006 brought significant changes in political system in Nepal. Now, the civil service has to work in new political system embedded with many values which are not so much accustomed to the prevailed bureaucratic culture. Constituting Administrative Reform Commission (ARC) in 1992, agenda of National Development Forum in 2002, and the ADB’s Governance Reform Program Support in 2000/2007 were some of the major efforts to streamline administrative system in line with the sprit and mandate of political changes in Nepal. But there are challenges ahead in undertaking governance reform agenda for the improvement of the efficiency of civil service and for reducing corruption by enhancing the competence and motivation of the civil service in the governance matters. Despite expectations from the changes, the transition witnessed painful political turbulence emanating from inter-party conflict and intra-party feuds which has been reflective in the administrative efficiency. Frequent changes in the government and the political instability have been consequential on the reform endeavors. As a result, the administration could not nurture the democratic administrative culture to overcome the existing governance issues and the task of transforming the civil service from a non responsive to a responsive one is, therefore, in stake.
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