Revisiting the Reforms of Rural Local Government Institutions in Bangladesh
From Past to Present
Keywords:Rural Local Government Institutions, colonial legacy, Union Parishad, Upazilla Parishad, Local Government, Bangladesh.
Rural Local government institutions (RLGIs) in the territory now comprising Bangladesh
have undergone many experiments since British period. Although some experiments
intended to decentralize or devolve authority to the local government, they failed to sustain
due to the lack of political commitment. Therefore, a principle- agent relationship still
prevails between national and local government bodies. Besides, sporadic nature of
experiments by different party in powers did not allow the RLGIs to evolve in a harmonious
way. With the change of governments, policy on local government also kept changing. Thus,
local government bodies have not been given a chance to act as a continuing working
organization. In the absence of any definite set of policies, concepts such as ‘local selfgovernment’ and ‘devolution of authority’ are hardly applicable to our local bodies yet.
Hence RLGIs in Bangladesh, even after having a tradition and practice of hundreds of years,
still is not regarded and respected fully as effective, functional and credible service delivery
mechanism. This paper using qualitative research tools, collecting data from secondary
sources unravels all these facts.