Thursday, December 25, 2014

What Is Good Governance? What It Exactly Mean?

                The Government of India has declared the 25th December as the Good Governance (GG) day. It is an initiative to awaken, educate, sensitize the stakeholders and citizens about GG and orient them towards it. Most of us have heard and are familiar with GG. But, what GG exactly means is not known to many of us.
                To understand GG, we require to know the bad effects of bad governance which is opposite of GG. We desire GG to be happy and prosperous. GG will convert India into a developed country from a developing one. Currently, India is in limelight worldwide. India has to meet international expectations along with national. This poses a big challenge on our public actors. Nation is above all. Hence, our public players need to put their efforts to achieve GG to fulfill worldwide expectations.  
                GG is a term that has become a part of the vernacular of a large range of development institutions and other actors within the international arena. What it means exactly, however, has not been so well established.
                Almost all major development institutions today say that promoting good governance is an important part of their agendas. In a well-cited quote, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted that “good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development”.
                GG is an extremely elusive objective. It means different things to different organizations, not to mention to different actors within these organizations (to make matters even more confusing). Governance experts also routinely focus on other types of governance —global governance, corporate governance, IT governance, participatory governance and so on.
               "Governance" and "good governance" are being increasingly used in development literature. Bad governance is being increasingly regarded as one of the root causes of all evils within our societies. Major donors and international financial institutions are increasingly basing their aid and loans on the condition that reforms that ensure "good governance" are undertaken. 
              The concept of "governance" is not new. It is as old as human civilization. Simply put "governance" means: the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). Governance can be used in several contexts such as corporate governance, international governance, national governance and local governance. 
              Since governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented, an analysis of governance focuses on the formal and informal actors involved in decision-making and implementing the decisions made and the formal and informal structures that have been set in place to arrive at and implement the decision. 
               Government is one of the actors in governance. Other actors involved in governance vary depending on the level of government that is under discussion. In rural areas, for example, other actors may include influential land lords, associations of peasant farmers, cooperatives, NGOs, research institutes, religious leaders, finance institutions, political parties, the military etc. The situation in urban areas is much more complex.
                At the national level, in addition to the above actors, media, lobbyists, international donors, multi-national corporations, etc. may play a role in decision making or in influencing the decision-making process.
                All actors other than government and the military are grouped together as part of the "civil society." In some countries, in addition to the civil society, organized crime syndicates also influence decision-making, particularly in urban areas and at the national level.
                Good Governance has EIGHT 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. 
                 From the above, it is clear that good governance is an ideal which is difficult to achieve in its totality. Very few countries and societies have come close to achieving good governance in its totality. However, to ensure sustainable human development, actions must be taken to work towards this ideal with the aim of making it a reality. 

Heera Lal (Views are personal and based on different sources)