Good Governance

The concept of good governance existed even during the days of Chanakya. He had mentioned it elaborately in Arthashastra. Citizens centric administration lies on the foundation of good governance. Good governance is made up of the following 8 attributes.

  • Accountable
  • Transparent
  • Responsive
  • Participatory
  • Consensus Oriented
  • Follows Rule of Law
  • Effective and efficient
  • Equitable and Inclusive.

Main Pillars of Good Governance

Good governance aims at providing public services effectively, efficiently, and equitably to the citizens. Good governance aims at providing an environment in which all citizens irrespective of caste, class, and gender can develop to their full potential.

  • Ethos (of service to the citizens)
  • Ethics (Honesty, Integrity, and Transparency)
  • Equity (Treating all citizens alike with empathy for weaker sections)
  • Efficiency (Speedy and effective delivery of service without harassment and using ICT increasingly).

Barriers to Good Governance

There are many barriers to good governance as per the 12th Report of 2nd ARC. They are mentioned below.

  • Attitudinal Problems of Civil Servants – As per the 2nd ARC report Civil Servants have become inflexible, self-perpetuating, inward-looking.
  • Lack of Accountability – Very rarely disciplinary actions are initiated against delinquent officers. There is no performance evaluation structure.
  • Red Tapism – Bureaucracies have to adhere to rules and procedures which are important for good governance, however sometimes these rules and procedures are ill-conceived and cumbersome and they do not serve the very purpose of their existence.
  • Low Levels of Awareness of the Rights and Duties of Citizens – Awareness of rights and duties would ensure that officials and other citizens discharge duties effectively and honestly.
  • Ineffective Implementation of Laws and Rules – We have a large number of laws to protect the rights of the citizens and vulnerable sections of society, but the weak implementation of these laws erodes the faith of the citizens in the Government machinery.

Good Governance:

In the 1992 report entitled “Governance and Development”, the World Bank set out its definition of Good Governance. It defined Good Governance as “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development”.

    • Good governance has 8 major characteristics.‘It is participatory, consensus-oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law.
    • It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making.
    • It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society.

Good governance is understood through its eight indicators or characteristics:

  • Participatory: 
    • Good governance essentially requires participation of different sectors of the society. The management of highly complex societies and of their ever growing needs requires a participatory form of governance by diffusing power.
    • The move for decentralizationis a response to this as it widens the base of participation and allows local government units to exercise governmental powers directly within their respective districts.
    • This means freedom of association and expression and an organized civil society should go hand in hand.
  • Rule of Law:
    • Democracy is essentially the rule of law. It is through the law that people express their will and exercise their sovereignty.
  • Effective and Efficient:
    • Good governance requires that the institutions, processes, and actors could deliver and meet the necessities of the society in a way that available resources are utilized well. That the different actors meet the needs of the society means that there is effective
  • Transparent:
    • Transparency, as an indicator of good governance, means that people are open to information regarding decision-making process and the implementation of the same.
  • Responsive :
    • Responsiveness means that institutions and processes serve all stakeholders in a timely and appropriate
  • Equitable and Inclusive:
    • Equity and inclusiveness means that all the members of the society, especially the most vulnerable ones or the grassroots level, must be taken into consideration in policy-making.
  • Consensus Oriented:
    • Governance is consensus oriented when decisions are made after taking into consideration the different viewpoints of the actors of the society. Mechanisms for conflict resolution must be in place because inevitably conflict that will arise from competing interests of the actors.
  • Accountability:
    • Accountability means answerability or responsibility for one’s action. It is based on the principle that every person or group is responsible for their actions most especially when their acts affect public interest.

“Good” governance promotes gender equality, sustains the environment, enables citizens to exercise personal freedoms, and provides tools to reduce poverty, deprivation, fear, and violence. The UN views good governance as participatory, transparent and accountable. It encompasses state institutions and their operations and includes private sector and civil society organizations.

Good governance is significant in public institutions to conduct and manage public affairs and resources to guarantee human rights in free of abuse and corruption, and with due regard for the rule of law.

Good governance is thus, a function of installation of positive virtues of administration and elimination of vices of dysfunctionalities. It makes the government work effective, credible and legitimate in administrative system and citizen-friendly, value caring and people-sharing.