Scope and performance of standing committees of Union Parishad : a case study of two upazillas
MetadataShow full item record
Union Parishad (UP) is the oldest Local Government institution in our country. Over the years, the organisation has changed its structure a number of times in order to make it more people-oriented and responsive to poverty alleviation and rural development intiatives. At present, this thirteen member organisation has the opportunity to form a number of standing Committees for ensuring good governance at the grass roots level. Since initiatives have been started to strengthen our Local Government institutions for the balanced development of the country, a strong UP with the active participation of Standing Committees is urgently needed.Considering the debate regarding the effectiveness of the Standing Committees, the objectives of this study are to examine the scope and performance of Standing Committees and to assess the involvement of female members in the said committees. The study was conducted in 10 Union Parishads in two different Upazilas of two districts of Bangladesh. Findings of the study indicate that though Standing Committees have a high potential of ensuring transparency and accountability of Union Parishads, involving cross section of people in decision making process, reducing the dominance of one¬man show of UP Chairmen, ensuring proper utilization of Annual Development Programme and Block Grants, and encouraging female members to perform important responsibilities at the local; the actual scenario is not that much encouraging. The reasons behind the sluggish performance of Standing Committees may be attributed to a number of factors such as lack of initiatives of UP members, lack of pressure from the common people, lack of political pressure, lack of skills required for planning and implementing development programmes at the local level, no specific terms of references of Standing Committees, unwillingness on the part of UP Chairman to delegate authority and even non- existence of Standing Committees or existence only on paper.