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Political Economy of Local Level Budgeting in Bangladesh: A Critical Analysis


Accompanying the estimation of revenue and expenditure, the local level budget manifests a grassroots area's development plan for a defined period. In Bangladesh, the Union Parishad (UP), the lowest tier of local government, is obliged to prepare its annual budget by ensuring people's participation through various mechanisms and committees following the Local Government (Union Parishad) Act, 2009. With this background, the study explores the UPs' budgeting procedure to identify the influential actors and effectiveness of people's participation from political economy perspectives. Following the qualitative case study approach, this study was conducted on the four Union Parishads in Sylhet, Sunamganj, Cumilla and Narsingdi districts. It follows the in-depth interview and Focus Group Discussion techniques to collect primary data from the UP chairman, members, Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNO), and other members of various UP committees. The finding shows that mechanisms like Ward Committee (WC), Ward Shava (WS), Standing Committee (SC), Planning Committee (PC) and Social Mapping for ensuring people's participation are not working accordingly. In most cases, these committees are confined to the papers. In practice, the budgeting procedure is dominated by the politically and economically empowered groups, e.g. UP chairman and his allies, ruling party members, local elites and bureaucrats, which is hindering the socio-economic development at the grass-root level in Bangladesh.


Local Government, Union Parishad (UP), Budgeting, Political Economy, Bangladesh



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