We all aspire that our Government should be good and effective and, perhaps, this is the desire that has led to the formation of the concept of the good governance. It is an established proposition that the State came into existence with the purpose of securing condition for safe and happy life; and, therefore, its continuity must be justified in terms of promoting and preserving the quality of life. Kautilya, though he does not belong to the group who defined ‘State’ in the modern sense, considered ‘Good Governance’ as the bounden duty of the government to act in manner that realizes the material, mental, and cultural well being of the people.
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Meaning of Good Governance
The concept of Good Governance can be comprehended only when we understand the idea the word ‘Governance’ suggests. Governance has been defined as ‘the use of power and authority by those in Government to provide goods and services to the aspirations and requirements of the common man. Governance, it can be presumed, is concerned with power, strategies, policies, plans and projects that intend to improve the quality of life.
Governance becomes good when the actions and decision of the Government are based on the consent of the people, legitimacy and accountability. Even in ancient and medieval India, a king, although not a democratically elected authority, was supposed to be conscientious and responsive to the needs of the subjects. However, in modern times the phrase good governance implies enlightened citizenship as well as accountable and constitutional government.
Features of Good Governance
It has been accepted almost unanimously that governance has to be based on the principle of accountability of these who are responsible for it. Accountability means that the bureaucracy should be answerable for what they do or do not do. In a parliamentary system, like ours, it is administered through questions debates, discussions budgetary approvals, committees and such other methods method by parliament.
Second, accountability is also ensure through judicial review of the Governmental decision or lows. The citizens can also demand judicial intervention through Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for proper and prompt action on certain issues affecting the common life. The idea behind such practices is to change the bureaucratic culture to incorporate people friendly attitudes in place of patriarchal, indifferent, casual, and callous behavior of citizens.
An accountable system of Governance that is the main ingredient of good governance, implies the following functional and behavioral characteristics of the civil servants:
- Judicious use of authority,
- Use of reason and experience as the basis of decision,
- Time bound implementation of Policies and Plans,
- Achievement oriented behavior,
- Pursuit of happiness of the people,
- Shirking of work to be identified and punished
- Strength of character, intelligence perseverance and extensity of civil servants,
- Capacity for doing a work which should be supplemented by the skill-in-action and question for perfection, and
- Uprightness, friendliness and firmness of devotion in dealing with others.
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Obstacles to Good Governance
Although most of the countries, including India, have registered their seriousness, through their steps, about good governance, they have not been finding it so easy to cater a just, equal and free social order to all their citizens. The major threats to good governance are: Corruption, Population and Culture of Violence.
Generally, Corruption is defined as ‘an illegal use of authority for personal gains. As a universal disease it is causing serious harm to this people and government across the World. However, in India corruption has taken the shape and intensity of a cancer. The exposure of the scams and the demand for action against corruption is now increasing.
Some most essential steps to be taken to confront the threat of corruption to good governance are:
- Ensuring a cost-effective administration of justice.
- Mobilizing the society to assist the system of rate of law.
- Eliminating the nexus between politicians, bureaucrats and criminals.
- Making ‘Right to Information’ more effective.
- For feature of the properties of the corrupt immediately after the charges are framed. Such a property can be released only after the person is proved innocent, that is acquittal in the court.
- Setting up Public Interest Litigation courts at the national, state and local levels.
- Strengthening law enforcement agencies in terms of autonomy, skills attitudinal change and awareness of the social problems.
- Enhancing bureaucratic functioning by simplifying rules, regulations and procedures of work.
- Abolishing the system of patronage and nepotism from government organizations.
With the phenomenal growth in population, the aspiration of achieving the goal of god governance is becoming almost a herculean task for any government in India. The data displaying that from a population of 35 crores at the time of India’s Independence to more than 100 crore now is a cause of serious concern.
Due to this ‘population explosion’, as one of the important factors, the eliminate poverty, unemployment and illiteracy and to secure equitable access to even primary education and health, food, water and a house to all citizens. The rapidly growing population, de facto, is a means to a breakdown of good governance population can be stabilized only through spread of awareness, education, people’s involvement, health education and development etc.
Culture of Violence
According to the principles of good governance the first step to attain development is the prevalence of peace and order. Strikes, riots, terror attacks, etc represent the harmful culture of violence. No government can focus on economic, social and political development it is not free from the anxieties of threat to public safety and security in terms of life and property.
Moreover, terrorism, the greatest threat to the rule of law because terror replaces rule of law, is a hindrance to progress, that is the soul of good governance.
On tacking terrorism, the need of the hour is to have a clear vision, courage and comprehension to deal with this menace, a threat to the humanity itself, through dialogue with the violators of law, assuring them the redressal of their genuine grievances, involvement of the neighbours and far way international governments in the first against terrorism. It is the only way to achieve the quality of life envisaged in the concept of god governance.