Home budget goes up

Bangladesh on 02 April 2015
Location : Bangladesh | Source : Jasim Uddin Haroon for The Financial Express; Picture Source: The Financial Express

The Ministry of Home Affairs needed a significant additional budgetary allocation as the cost of law enforcement amidst political troubles far outstripped its original budget size.

Competent sources believe such non-development budget overrun this fiscal year is due to a substantial rise in the expenditure for maintaining law and order in the wake of nonstop blockade, coupled with hartal, continuing since January 05.

A higher revision of budget for the same ministry also happened in the previous fiscal year, 2013-14, on the same grounds: turbulence stemming from government-opposition standoff over polls.     

At the fag-end of 2013, the country had witnessed rough weather for blockades and shutdowns enforced by the BNP-led alliance over the issue of election-time caretaker government.

The revised budget for the home ministry in the FY 2014-15 increased more than 16 per cent to Tk 121.76 billion up to February, according to finance division and office of the comptroller and auditor-general of Bangladesh.

As per the official calculations, the upward budget revision for the ministry has surged nearly four times higher than usual raise it needed over the years sans political violence.

The internal security ministry earlier had hardly exceeded 5.0 per cent higher revision than its original budget allocation.

Both the offices hinted that additional spending on this account would rise further as there hasn't been much respite from the restive political situation that warrants extra deployment of forces for policing.

"We've got many demands for additional allocation in March, too," said a finance division official familiar with the fund disbursement.

He said: "We don't know what the actual size of allocation will be at the end of the fiscal year, ending June 30."

The finance official noted that the increased allocation is "surprisingly" higher than that for other ministries.

However, the additional allocation -- whatever its size -- needs to be approved by parliament through the supplementary budget for the FY 2014-15.

The home ministry consists of the organs like Bangladesh Police, Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB), Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party, the Department of Prisons, Civil Defence and Fire Service, Coast Guard, the Department of Narcotics Control, and the Department of Immigration and Passport.

The ministry has fewer amounts of development expenditure -- most of its budget goes to non-development heads like salaries and other types of remunerations and purchases.

The police again consist of metropolitan, district, upazila, railway, CID (criminal investigation department) and special branch and it had original budget for the 2014-15 worth Tk 62.88 billion.And this allocation has so far been revised to Tk 67.29 billion, up more than 7.0 per cent.

People in the know hinted that the size of the increased allocation for the ministry of home affairs would rise further. That figure will be known after June.

The BGB, formerly Bangladesh Rifles, had an original allocation of Tk 16.12 billion and it soared to Tk 17.62 billion.

Ansar's Tk 7.74 billion original budget increased to 8.48 billion.

The Department of Prisons that controls the jails across the country had its original budget at Tk 4.28 billion and it rose to Tk 4.67 billion.

Civil defence and fire brigade had budget worth Tk 1.97 billion and rose to Tk 2.38 billion.

Coast Guard and the Department of Narcotics Control and Passport had a combined allocation of Tk 3.45 billion which increased meagrely to Tk 3.55 billion.

Apart from these, home ministry has to spend for running its administration at the secretariat along with some autonomous bodies and international organisations.

The cost for the heads also rose by Tk 9.58 billion to Tk 17.63 billion.

Senior officials at the Home Affairs attributed the increased cost mainly to strengthening the law- enforcing forces.

They said purchase of vehicles and arms and ammunition also contributed to the figures of higher spending.

They argued that cost of the department of prisons soared due to a rise in the number of prisoners.  

A large number of suspects in acts of violence and other charges have been put behind bars. They also include political VIPs.      


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