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The Curious Case of Good Governance in India

Introduction to Governance

  • To understand Good Governance, it’s very important to know the concept of Governance first. Governance is the process by which some sectors of the society exercise power and enact certain public policies and decisions which directly affect human and institutional interactions including social and economic development.

  • Governance can be of many types but the most important types of governance are National Governance, Local Governance, Corporate Governance, International Governance, etc.

  • The various actors in governance can be Government, NGOs, Associations, cooperatives, religious leaders, finance institutions, political parties, Military Administration, Research Institutions, mafia, etc.

  • In governance, all actors except government or military are called as ‘Civil Society’.

  • Governance, in today’s world, includes three main sectors namely the Public Sector (State Actors & Institutions), Private Sector (Companies and Households), and Civil Society (Non-Government Organisations) who work in coordination during the process of Governance.

 

Good Governance and its Characteristics

  • Good Governance in easy words can be implied for a government participatory in nature in which the actors who are responsible take decisions are willing and motivated to give their best keeping in mind the purpose of their decision, its effects, and consequences on people and positively influence the lives of people.

  • The main characteristics of good governance can be listed as under 1. Accountability The agents of Governance must have a sense of responsibility while governing and must be answerable for their actions that affect the public interest. 2. Transparence In Good Governance, the people who are influenced by decisions are open to information regarding the decision-making processes and their implementation. 3. Inclusiveness and Equitability If governance is done by including all the agents that are directly linked to the decision-making process (Inclusive) and there is an adequate representation of agents from all the sectors, especially the most vulnerable ones or the grassroots level, are involved (Equitable), the governance is said to be Good. 4. Responsiveness It means that all the agents and institutions serve the people promptly and they respond to their queries swiftly. 5. Effective and Efficient Governance must be done to deliver the necessities of the society by utilizing the resources in the best possible way. If the decisions meet the needs of society and utilize the resources in the best ways, it’s efficient and effective. 6. Ethics Oriented The decisions that are taken in Good Governance are always taken while keeping in mind that they are legal, ethical and don’t affect the people other than the stakeholders in a bad way.

 

Initiatives and Programs to ensure Good Governance

Vigilance Awareness Week

  • This week is observed to spread awareness and promote good governance by Central Vigilance Commissioner every year in the week in which Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birthday falls (31st October).

  • Aim: The Vigilance week affirms India’s commitment to the promotion of integrity in public life through citizen involvement and it shows the government’s resolve against corrupt and unfair practices.

  • The theme for Vigilance Week 2020: ‘Satark Bharat, Samriddh Bharat’.


Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 1988

  • This Act was passed to enhance transparency and accountability of the government towards the acts of corruption.

  • Under the Act, bribe was listed as a direct offense and many definitions and penalties were modified by the government.

  • This Act excluded key elements from the ambit of criminal misconduct such as the use of illegal means, abuse of position, obtaining personal reward by disregarding public interest, etc.


Central Vigilance Act 2003

  • This Act provided for the grant of statutory status for the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) thereby increasing its power, reach, and functions.

  • CVC is a government body, which was created through a resolution in the Parliament in 1963, to address corrupt practices within the government and make the government better.

  • It’s an autonomous body that has been conferred with special powers to work independently without any control from the authorities.

  • The Recommendation for CVC was given by the Committee on prevention of corruption headed by K Santhanam.

  • It’s headed by a Central Vigilance Commissioner and two Vigilance Commissioners appointed directly by the President of India on the recommendation of PM, Minister of Home Affairs, and the leader of Opposition.

  • The term of office of these commissioners is 4 years from the date of joining.


Right to Information Act 2005

  • This law was passed to disclose information, a legal right of the public to promote accountability and transparency.

  • Several RTI Activists have used it to unleash irregularities in government functioning and figures.


Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013

  • It was passed after a nationwide protest against the prevalence of corrupt practices in government. This Act appoints a Lokpal at Centre and Lokayukta in states to investigate complaints of corruption against public servants.


Whistleblower Protection Act 2014

  • Due to the lack of protection, there have been several instances of violence against activists and many of them have been murdered.

  • This act provides for special protection of people who report acts of corruption or any irregularity in the functioning. The activists are kept anonymous and are protected from prosecution


  • Promotion of E-Governance The Government has been promoting e-governance to bring more accountability and transparency in governance. Through this, the physical interface between the center and states can be minimized which reduces the scope for incidences of bribery.


Restriction on Cash Donations in Election

  • The Government also has reduced the limit on cash donation from 20000 to 2000 so that the inflow of black money towards political parties is reduced.

  • Other Legislations to promote Good Governance can be listed as 1. Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 2. Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002.

 

Good Governance is the key to a prosperous nation and the government must put its personal interests on the side while being involved in the governance. There are a significant number of elements in the governing bodies who, due to their vested interests, don’t allow governance to be transparent and citizen-centric. These elements must be filtered out from the system by using various tools like vigilance authorities, legislations, policies, law enforcement, etc. so that the road to Sustainable Development Goals becomes clearer