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Administrative Powers, Delegation of

Administrative Powers, Delegation of powers delegated across the government apparatus covering a wide range of administrative areas, eg, appointment of government functionaries at different levels, promotion and disciplinary matters of such functionaries, and those related to government purchase. The major areas of administrative delegation are, in effect, specified in the rules of business of 1975 (issued in revised form in 1996) and the secretariat instructions of 1976. The Rules of Business specify that ministries/divisions are responsible for personnel management at the top level. But their responsibility in the case of public statutory corporations is limited to offices not below the rank of Member/Director, while in the case of their attached departments or subordinate offices such responsibility is limited to officers belonging to grade V and above. These delegated powers are exercised according to the list of subjects allotted to respective ministries and divisions.

Below the level described above, the respective public statutory corporations, attached departments and subordinate offices, as the case may be, exercise administrative powers in respect of personnel management. However, in respect of appointment to the position of Member/ Director of a public statutory corporation, the approval of the Prime Minister has to be obtained by the respective ministries/divisions. Similarly, all initial appointments to cadre services are made on the recommendations of the Public Service Commission with the approval of the President. Upon such approval, the respective cadre controlling ministries/ divisions issue appointment letters to the selected candidates.

In respect of promotion of officers, the superior selection board considers and recommends promotion cases of officers belonging to grades I, II, III of both the public statutory corporations and the cadre officials. Upon approval of the recommendations by the Prime Minister, the respective ministries/divisions and in certain cases the Ministry of Establishment issue necessary orders. Below the level mentioned above, promotion cases are processed through Departmental Promotion Committees (DPC) located in each ministry/division and chaired by the concerned secretaries with representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Establishment. The concerned head of the attached department is also a member of DPC. Recommendations for promotion of the DPC require the approval of the Prime Minister. But for the posts of deputy secretary, a separate committee of the Ministry of Establishment can issue the final orders for their promotion with the approval of the Prime Minister.

Since the President is the appointing authority, for the exercise of powers under disciplinary rules, delegation of power is made to reduce the burden on him. The latest delegation dates back to 19 May 1998. The source of authority of such delegation of powers lies in Rule 2 of the discipline rules, namely the Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1985. Under the delegated powers, a secretary or the secretary-in-charge of a ministry or division is empowered to impose certain types of penalties on officers below a certain scale of pay. Similar delegation of authority is also provided for the secretary or secretary-in-charge under provisions made in the Government Servants (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 1979.

Within the secretariat system, provisions of delegation of administrative powers are also included in the Secretariat Instructions with a clear instruction that an additional secretary or a joint secretary will have a well-defined sphere of work. He will assume full responsibility of the work assigned to him and send files directly to the minister. However, such files will have to be routed back through the secretary so that he is informed of the decisions taken by the minister. The secretary may call for a file before it is sent to the minister, and he may also call the additional or joint secretary for consultations.

A deputy secretary is competent to dispose of all files not related to policy or which otherwise lie within his competence as stipulated in the standing orders. Similarly, an assistant secretary is competent to dispose of all cases on which there are established precedents or which he is competent to dispose of under any rules or standing order. He may, however, seek the instructions of his immediate superior in case of any doubt as to his competence to dispose of the case at hand. The requirements of these instructions are followed more in breach than in observance; the tendency is to push files up.

With regard to government purchases through contracts, powers are delegated to different levels, which include the public statutory corporations, departments, ministers, and the Prime Minister, depending on the size of procurement. The limits of purchase by the corporations lie up to taka 100 million and by ministries/divisions at the level of ministers upto taka 250 million. All purchases above taka 250 million are to be processed through the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchases for final approval by the Prime Minister. For selection of consultancy firms, ministries/divisions can approve contracts up to taka 50 million. Contracts above taka 50 million are considered and recommended by the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchases, and are to be approved finally by the Prime Minister. [AMM Shawkat Ali]