Governance, dev challenges for new cabinet

Update:

A number of insiders from the ruling camp have earlier hinted that the new cabinet would be a surprise. Still no one did anticipate that the surprise would be so big.

It is essential to have a competent cabinet alongside an efficient administration to implement the government's plans and programmes. In this context, we welcome the new cabinet headed by prime minister Sheikh Hasina that took oath of office on Monday.

Premier Hasina has always been cautious about forming the cabinet. In her first cabinet, there was a combination of experienced and young members, while the size of the cabinet was relatively smaller. Despite dominance of youth, a number of veteran politicians were inducted into her second cabinet in course of time.

A number of ministers were picked up from outside the Awami League, particularly from other partners of the 14-party alliance and another ally, Jatiya Party, in her third cabinet.

The current cabinet is comprised of new faces and much more diverse than the earlier ones. Some, however, may point out it lacks experience.

In parliamentary democracy, it is the prerogative of the prime minister to pick someone as minister or to drop him/her. Still, one must say, never in the past so many experienced ministers were excluded from the new cabinet.

'Cabinet sees 31 new faces, drops 36 old ones' was the headline of the Prothom Alo's Bangla print report. It is not clear though how the decision of retaining or excluding the ministers was made.

The Awami League's general secretary Obaidul Quader has claimed that no member of the previous cabinet was dropped for corruption or based on their success and failure. Quader’s statement might be a little comforting to the axed ones, but it does not clarify the accurate position of the government on the matter.

Of course, there should be appraisal for success and failure, for any major position. Otherwise, it becomes hard to run the government or the administration and programmes.

Notably, several members of the previous cabinet took position against the interests of the people. Association of some of them with various organisations was conflicting with the ministerial position. Different quarters demanded their removal long before. The decision of axing them ultimately deserves to be applauded.

Then again, there are some members in the new cabinet who were criticised in the past for various reasons.

However, the big challenge for the new cabinet is to bring political stability, making parliament vibrant, establish rule of law and restore order in the economy. Simultaneously, it has to implement education, health care and poverty alleviation programmes speedily.

The ruling party has promised zero tolerance to corruption in its election manifesto. It is expected that the current cabinet members would play a significant role in line with such pledge.

New finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has announced that he would not run the ministry the way it was run before.

We would like to assume that he has indicated restoring order in the financial sector. We hope other ministers too will follow the suit, in carrying out their respective duties.

Development could never be a substitute for democracy and good governance. Upholding the rule of law and democratic values in all sectors is a must for actual development of the country.

The nation hopes that the newly formed cabinet with new faces will strengthen the rule of law and democratic values in Bangladesh.

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