Graft in Bangladesh

A practical aspect

Raihan M Chowdhury | Published: October 19, 2018 20:03:11

A seven-year old boy during shifting of his parents' residence in Dhaka city once saw that a fridge was being carried by a porter alone from the ground floor to the fifth floor of a newly-constructed building.

The boy was surprised that a person single-handedly carried such a heavy piece of electrical equipment and innocently asked his parents whether the man took any 'bribe' to do the arduous job that requires so much energy in his body.

Taking bribe or indulging in corruption in our society has been implanted in the fluid and filial mind of even a seven-year old boy in such a way that he innocently asked his parents about the reason as he found no reason except 'bribery' for doing the arduous job.

Obviously his parents explained the issue to their child to dispel his misunderstanding of bribery. But he is right in the sense that without taking any bribe or resorting to an unethical practice, nobody can be rich or powerful overnight.

There is no denying that corruption is one of the gnawing factors to affect the progresses, achieved due to tremendous efforts by entrepreneurs and teeming millions as well.

Corruption eats up a significant portion of the development across the world and our country is no exception in this case.

According to a conservative assessment, Bangladesh annually loses about five per cent of its total gross domestic product due to corruption.

Helal Uddin Ahmed, a retired civil servant and writer of a book titled 'Corruption in Bangladesh: Causes, costs and remedies' has tried to gauge the 'bandwagon effect' of administrative corruption in Bangladesh with his utmost sincerity and dedication.

"The practical aspect of this long sojourn of discoveries included the direct experiences of this researcher as an insider within Bangladesh's bureaucracy over a long period of time. Although a majority of my colleagues in the civil service appeared to value the virtues of honesty and morality at the beginning of their careers, it was observed with great anguish that their attitude gradually got transformed for the worse over time, possibly due to the 'demonstration effect' cum 'bandwagon effect' of corruption in Bangladesh society", he wrote candidly.

A behavioural approach was adopted while conducting the field survey on 10 core wings of the government of Bangladesh in Dhaka city. The wings were law enforcement, education, healthcare, power supply, water supply, banking, income tax, value added tax, municipal services and land administration.

Interestingly, these core wings of the government stand as simile for corruption over the decades in our country.

Some remedial measures to combat the corruption in the public sector were also recommended in the chapter six of the book.

The other five chapters dwell on introduction, conceptual framework, methodology of the study, corruption in selected sectors, analysis of corruption based on research findings.

An appendix on Spearman's coefficient of rank correlation at the concluding part of the book has enriched the 143-page publication.

Charles Spearman (1863-1945), a British statistician, introduced a measure of correlation for ordinary-level data. The seminal work is a non-parametric measure of statistical dependence between two variables.

Finally, the author, also a researcher and translator, rightly pointed out that a strong political commitment at the highest level of governance is the sine qua non to combat corruption.

As corruption is rife in countries like Bangladesh, such a book can be useful for the researchers, learners and students to identify the major reasons for corruption and the remedies, as it remains a big hurdle to Bangladesh's emergence as a developed country.

Agamee Prakashani has published the book in February, 2018. The price is Tk 350.00 only.

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