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What do you understand by the terms transparency and accountability in administration? Explain and bring out the relationship between the two.

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7. What do you understand by the terms transparency and accountability in administration? Explain and bring out the relationship between the two. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper IV, theme transparency and accountability.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the concepts of transparency and accountability and their importance n administration while establishing the relationship between the two.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define and explain both transparency and accountability.

Body:

Transparency in administration means the availability of information in the public domain as permissible under the law. It aims to bring about clarity in the functioning of government institutions. It brings out clear communication on the process of decision-making and the reasons taken without distorting facts i.e. sanctity of procedure should be reflected in decision-making. For example, e-auction of any public procurement project where all the details and parameters are made available in public domain.

Accountability in administration means the answerability of the decision makers for their decisions and actions to the designated superior authority. It means they must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this. Further, it also includes the enforcement of the sanctions, if actions or justifications are judged unsatisfactory. For e.g. the government is accountable to the Parliament for its various actions and parliamentarians are accountable to their constituencies for their performance.

Explain that Transparency and accountability share a complementary relationship. On one hand, accountability defines the type of transparency needed and on the other hand, the quality of information decides the type of accountability possible.

Conclusion:

Conclude that to ensure a positive influence, transparency and accountability systems should be designed to support each other. Both the concepts reinforce each other and contribute towards good governance, rule of law and improving the citizen’s trust in the government.