The overall administration of the country is governed with the aid of civil servants recruited by the Bangladesh Public Service Commission. The ministers/state ministers/deputy ministers are in-charge of the respective ministries/divisions and they remain responsible for conducting the business allocated to the ministries/divisions. Secretaries and other higher civil servants assist them.
The ministries perform policy-making functions while the numerous subordinate offices execute policies and decisions at the field levels.
The country is divided into seven administrative divisions namely Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal, Sylhet and Rangpur each composed several of districts. There are 64 districts, which are in turn divided into a number of Upazilas. There are 486 Upazilas, each of which is divided into unions, mouzas and villages at the lowest tier.
The field administration has achieved a tangible shape through evolution overtime. The history dates back to the Mughals and Arians traveled from central Asia and subsequent colonization of the country by the British for about two hundred years. Despite the handicaps imposed by colonial legacies, our popular governments have ensured a transparent, accountable, pro-people administration outdoing the obsessed bureaucracy of the colonial masters. Merit, professional excellence and technocratic patronization have replaced age-old remnants of the outdated colonial legacies.
From field administration perspective, Bangladesh is divided into seven distinct geographical areas called Divisions, which are somewhat akin to the provinces of India and Pakistan. The Divisions are headed each by a Divisional Commissioner, a highly accomplished senior officer having long field experience, name and fame. One of the major elements of the charter of duties of the Divisional Commissioner is to monitor, coordinate and supervise the implementations of policy decisions initiated by the government.
The administrative unit that figures prominent in this country is called District, which is headed by an accomplished professional having long and laudable experience called Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate who is expected to be highly talented and gifted with good leadership quality. The responsibility is vast and varied. S/he represents government at the field level, conduct all polls and act as Collector, development co-coordinator, disaster manager, and guardian of criminal administration at the lower level. S/he is the chief protocol officer representing government ceremonies on behalf of the national government. To be brief there are little or no activity in the district, which is unrelated to him/her by some way or other.
The basic unit of administration of the country is locally named as Upazila, which is an integral component of the district and so to say, a district in the miniature form. Field level functionaries of the development departments operate here at the grass-root level under guidance from the respective functional heads stationed in the districts as coordinated by the UNO (Upazila Nirbahi Officer). All decisions are discussed and finalized in a forum called Upazila Parishad which is presided over by an elected chairman and assisted by a mid-level seasoned executive of professional excellence-called UNO, who plays a pivotal role in shaping decisions that conform to government policies and cohere to the financial constraints and regulations. An area covering several square kilometers having several thousand populations is named as Union that is administered by an elected Chairman. These Chairmen are the dominant and voting members of the Parishad (counseling body) apart from various upazila level functionaries representing respective district counter parts.
With the policies of the present government for empowerment of women and strengthening local government, Union parishads are increasingly becoming important in terms of micro level policy implementations. At present attempts are underway to construct Union Parishad Complexes accommodating all union level officials and staff so that implementation and operational modalities could be synchronized.