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A TOOL OF DEVELOPMENT
In recent years the word governance has become a very fashionable term and is being used in a variety of ways and covers a large number of organizations both in public and private domain. This is not a new concept. It is as old as human civilization on this earth. Generally the term 'Governance' refers to the process of decision making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). It can be used in several contexts such as corporate governance, local governance, national governance, international governance or to the interactions between other sectors of society. Governance is necessary in each sector of nation for smooth and efficient working. It is one of the actors of governance and takes decisions at local and national level and implements those decisions for human welfare. The quality of governance plays a vital role in the economic development of countries as everybody knows that without good governance there can be no sustainable development in a country.
It is widely recognized that good governance is a sine non qua for economic development of developing countries. Good governance is generally characterized by accessibility, accountability, predictability, transparency and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision making. When good governance is guaranteed, residents of all over the world go about their personal business and pursuits with enhanced expectations whereas bad governance not only restricts opportunities of success but it can even degenerate into sectarian conflicts and civil wars.
Good Governance does not occur by chance. It cannot be introduced overnight. The process is often, a gradual one involving changes to long standing, practices, entrenched interests and cultural habits and social and even religious norms. Recently President of USA Mr. Barack Obama has said that what Africa required for development are not strong men but strong institutions and good governance. The prosperity of an economy depends upon the social, economic and sustainable development. It is nevertheless admitted that good governance is one that encompasses a whole range of social, political and economic activities and cannot be confined to economic aspects alone.
What is the need of good' governance in the Indian context? A nation where according to an estimation by an NGO based in Hyderabad, the expenditure on Governance, by the 790 politicians at the Centre, the 4120 in the 35 States and Union Territories and the 18.7 million employees of the Central and State Governments Use about Rs. 2200 crore day or Rs. 760000 crore per year, both on capital and revenue account. Instead of such a huge expenditure, the gulf of per capita availability of resources between rich and poor has been widely increased.
Every day it is published and shown by media about various scams, tax evasions, delay, in legal proceedings, wasteful expenditure of government funds by corrupt politicians and by bureaucrats and rapidly increasing the graph of corruption, terrorism and other evil practices in society indicates the complex and non-transparent system of command and control, monopoly of the government as a service provider, underdeveloped legal frame work, lack of information and weak notion of citizen's rights. These days the level of corruption, bribery and other evil practices against social and economic development are being rapidly increased due to poor governance. There have been many instances where large sums of money have been spent on needed development ventures but their costs are much higher owing to the contracts being given to those who have paid bribes. Ultimately a tendency has been developed for their construction to be substandard or even, defective. For instance CWG scam, 2G scam and many other scams are the results of poor governance. Many prominent persons such has Wipro's chairman Ajim Premji, Keshuub Mahindra and HDFC's Deepak Parekh have expressed concerns over a series of scams leading to governance deficit. Legal proceeding system is so much complex in India due to which many corrupted officers and criminals have been buried due to want of proves or have got imprisonment after a long term. Though India is the world's biggest democracy and has a strong political system, the world corruption watchdog Transparency International has ranked India the 87th most corrupt country in its latest report which shows how deep rooted the corruption is in India. We can conclude that 'Good Governance' cannot be possible without fighting from corruption and mismanagement of public resources.
It is now widely held view that good city administration can only operate effectively with increased transparency in decision making process and with greater involvement of each and every section of society. It promotes security of life and property, access to justice and rule of law. Good Governance will be a key requisite for the next generation reforms. The upward movement in the GDP growth rate of 10% to 14% can be seen with Good Governance and effective administration. In the last 64 years, after independence, it would seem that most of our development has been directed towards the top 300 million of the Indian population. This scenario can be changed with the help of good governance since until the balance 900 million people of India ·benefit, the country will not move ahead as a developed nation. This fact is especially true in case of India which is rich with all kinds of resources but lacks behind many developed nations in progress.
Poverty and unemployment are the two major barriers in the path of progress which can be eradicated by proper implementation of policies formed by the government. The proper implementation is possible under Good Governance. For instance, the education system in India does not impart any kind of technical skills in the students due to which they do not get any stable employment opportunities. The need is to prepare the young blood with such kind of education that would help them to acquire vocational skills that accelerate them towards various employment opportunities and also enable them to be self employed.
For Good Governance it is necessary that people who are well educated and pursuing good character should be selected in elections, since the main objectives of such kind of persons are firstly to administer and Govern and secondly, to serve and benefit both the citizens and the country in the best possible manner.
Good governance is a tool of development which helps a nation to become a developed nation where everybody can get equal opportunities to prosper in life. There will be no scams and frauds and tax evasions will also be minimized. The monster of corruption will be vanished from every sphere of life and legal proceedings under judiciary system will be timely solved and proper decisions will be made. No government officials will demand bribe for performing the duties assigned to him. The vulnerable conditions of working of many government institutions due to irregularities; unaccountability and non-transparent system will also be eradicated. All the benefits of policies framed for education, health and eradication of poverty and unemployment will be directly availed common person. The law and order system will also be improved such that the 'Jehadi' terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir, the insurgency in the North-East and rapidly expanding base of naxalite movement in main land India will be vanished.
Corporate governance should also be improved in order to prevent and detect scandals and bankruptcies. As defined by Wolfensohn "Corporate Governance is about promoting corporate fairness, transparency and accountability". Good corporate governance will be ensured so that foreign investment will be attracted and nobody can dare to make a fraud like 'Satyam Scam' so that trade and industry will also flourish. Hoarding of stock and black marketing will be discouraged. As we all know that foreign investors are often discouraged by officials who demand bribes to permit foreign investment in vital sectors where foreign investments needed. When foreign investors face a high level of corruption and poor governance, they realize the higher transactions' costs and shy away from the Countries of poor governance. That is why some countries such as Singapore, have attracted investment, while others have failed to attract adequate investments.
In order to make it a reality, a corruption free nation with sustainable development and progressive economic development without any criminalization of politics, actions must be taken towards good governance and effective administration. The system of governance should be transparent and opportunity to scrutinize our leaders and the political structure must be provided, to common man. Policies for development should be formulated in such a manner that is decision making level. Women are the key to good governance. Their increasing representation in democratic institutions has provided stability to polity. They can bring creative, constructive and innovative changes in economy.
From the above discussion it has been cleared that the ideal of good governance is difficult to achieve in its totality. Only a few nations have come nearer to achieving Good Governance in its totality. Therefore we Indians will have to change our mindset and take a much larger interest for our country by participation in the governance of India. According to Mr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam – "Nation first and then the individual".
Democratic Good Governance, in terms of its knots and bolts, may, or in fact, means a different concept and practice to different peoples and jurisdictions and, probably, may remain thus ad Infinitum.
However, in terms of the basic principles and tenets, there is general acceptability in their universality and the premium placed on the need to heed to their impartial application. Let me say this right away - this essay steers clear off any academic reel on account that such is beyond its scope and intent and instead, takes the route that has policy meaning and practical application because it is such that augur well for the development intent and raison d'être of governance. In this regard, to present it, I borrow from and paraphrase UNDPs apt definition of democratic good governance as "... the set of values, policies and institutions by which a society manages its economic, political and social affairs through interactions among the government, civil society and private sector. It is the way a society makes and implements decisions - achieving mutual understanding, agreement and action.