February 10, 2005


The new pay commission report has been submitted to the prime minister for consideration. The highest salary in government service has been proposed at Tk 27,500 and the lowest at Tk 2,800 per month, which is a significant increase from the current rate (lowest Tk. 1500 and highest 15,000) revised in 1996. The pay commission sources claimed that it is commensurate with the government’s projected increase in revenue earning. But I doubt whether government will be able to give nod to the recommendation because of its revnue crunch.

That is a bad news. Because to tell frankly, private sector pays its employees a couple of times what a government employee comparatively earns. This is a big anomaly. During the sixties and seventies government jobs were deemed a prestigious one, which comprised of a good pay in comparison with the private sector and perks like free accommodations, subsidized rations. But as the inflation continued to pile on, government salaries revised did not match those. Comparatively a government employee of India & Sri Lanka gets much more than a Bangladeshi. The government servants gets subsidized accommodations built in the 60s and 70s, many of which are not in good shape and not of standard.

Now the question, why there is this overwhelming corruption in every government sector. Its simply a necessity and because of a will to survive. In a village, where the living is simpler, a family can survive well with Tk. 2400 ($40) a month. But in cosmopolitans like Dhaka you will need at least double of that for a family. The govt. minimum pay is Tk. 1500 ($25). How can a person can maintain his family on that earning? The police are deeply corrupted. But how much do the police earn? Tk 2000-5000 officially. A government top executive gets a maximum Tk. 15000 ($250) salary with other allowances. Whereas if he finds job in a private sector he could earn much more than Tk. 60,000 ($1000) per month. Here is the catch: if a person is corrupt he can earn a fortune from bribes, which in private sectors you can never get. You see that corruption is a cyclic process. People starts from small things, out of necessity, to maintain his living standard. And when you lose your morale and ethics, you get more heartless and greedy and corruption spreads. For this reason I never opted for a govt job. Because I know I would have faced a situation where I have no option to get corrupted. Not only people like me, now a days most brilliant and competent students are reluctant to even dream for a government job. And those people are the most unfortunate, who are in government jobs and are not corrupt, because they are having the hard time to survive. Some people also lower their productivity and try to have a supplemental job to sustain. No wonder this is why Bangladesh has become the number one corrupt country.

The ways to put a plug into the trend of corruption in Bangladesh government sector:

* To match the salaries of the government employee with the market
* To computerize much of the administrative and archiving works to reduce unnecessary manpower
* To have a competency assessment of the existing government employees and match their salary accordingly
* Pay increase should reflect performance, rather than seniority
* People should be made aware that giving bribe is also a crime and is punishable


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