PM outlines interim admin to secys

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The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Monday told top bureaucrats that the current parliament would serve out its full tenure, but it would not hold any session in three months before the expiry of its five-year term.
She also made it clear that her cabinet would not take any policy decisions between October 27 this year and January 24, 2014.
‘The prime minister has outlined how the government would function in the three months before the tenure of the 9th parliament expires…As per the constitution, the general elections will be held within three months before the expiry of parliament’s term,’ cabinet secretary Mohammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told a press briefing after a three-and-a-half-hour meeting at the secretariat.
Hasina hinted that it was the election time as per the constitution and the ministers would be increasingly engaged in political programmes in the field in the run-up to the polls.
Musharraf said that the prime minister, as per rules, could delegate more powers to secretaries or appoint others to carry out the responsibilities of the ministers during the period of transition.
‘The prime minister has sensitised the secretaries to how the government should operate during the period of three months…She has asked us to be prepared mentally for discharging our responsibilities under the interim arrangements.’
In reply to a question, he said elections would be held within 90 days after the dissolution of parliament for any other reason, which, the cabinet secretary noted, was not in their mind in this case.
Asked whether the prime minister had specified when the elections would be held, the cabinet secretary said Bangladesh’s constitution was even clear than that of India about the matter.
Article 123 (3) of the constitution says, ‘A general election of the members of parliament shall be held–(a) in the case of a dissolution by reason of the expiration of its term, within the period of ninety days preceding such dissolution; and (b) in the case of a dissolution otherwise than by reason of such expiration, within ninety days after such dissolution.’
Sheikh Hasina held the 6th routine meeting with the senior civil servants as the Awami League-led government already passed four years and eight months.
The prime minister, also the Awami League president, sought cooperation of the civil servants in continuation of democracy as well as the development programmes initiated by the Awami League-led government.
She underlined the responsibilities of the senior public servants in retaining the democratic trend in governing the country. 
‘The prime minister has assured the secretaries that her government, if elected, would decentralise administrations in all sectors to ease service delivery to the people,’ the cabinet secretary mentioned.
Hasina also asked them for initiatives to simplify those rules and regulations which were complicated and were impeding development activities.
She said that the local government system would be strengthened and made more functional.
The last such meeting, which usually takes place on an annual basis, was held on September 19, 2012, according to the official record.
Sheikh Hasina reaffirmed her stand that the next polls would be held under the elected government although the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party was pressing its demand for restoration of the non-party caretaker government system through a constitutional amendment.
At least 23 secretaries out of 58 who attended the crucial meeting spoke on the occasion. They asked Sheikh Hasina for raising the salary structures of the public servants and addressing their housing problems so that meritorious candidates were attracted to the government service.
A secretary told the meeting that the AL-led government should be re-elected to uproot militancy and terrorism while another praised Hasina’s cabinet for implementing ‘many development projects’ during its tenure.
Musharraf said the secretaries in such meetings got the chance to interact with the prime minister ‘freely and directly’ but the Cabinet Division did not record those or prepare any minute even.
Local government secretary, home secretary, economic relations division secretary, planning secretary and public administration secretary, among others, took part in the discussion. 

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