Good governance refers to governance that it accountable, democratic, accessible, transparent, responsive, ethical, modern and accountable along with being citizen centric. Public systems have earned the epithet of being voluminous, full of inertia, change averse and have strict procedures. With the modernizing world, the administrative setups had to keep pace with new societal demands. Hence, the concept of good governance was propounded by the World Bank in 1992, to reform the bureaucratic administration all over the world.
India’s bureaucratic hurdles are famous all around the globe. From the days of license raj and inspector raj, it is the bureaucracy which has ruled the roost in India. Often, the Indian bureaucracy is accused of its social aloofness and its relative inability to act as an effective bridge between the citizens and the government. It has, since independence, worked under shrouds, unknowing of the plight of common man, for whom they had been employed for.
However, with the he turn of the century and the Indian elephant pacing with overwhelming economic growth, India has acknowledged the importance of good governance. The Administrative Reforms Commission, in its series of reports, has recommended paradigm shifts in the way public services are perceived. However, to ensure good governance, the Indian government needs to tread a long hurdled path.
India is suffering from archaic laws, which have lost relevance in today’s modern world. There is a lack of clarity and burgeoning complexity. Sometimes a single issue is being governed by various laws, often paradoxical to one another. India needs a sound, modern, effective and efficient legal framework to ensure good governance. Archaic laws need to be repealed or amended to reflect modern realities. The Official Secrets Act’ 1923 is antithetical to the Right to Information Act’ 2005. Laws governing the police have long outlived themselves and need to be reformed.
After a sound legal framework, to ensure good governance, a robust institutional mechanism is required. India has provided many successful institutions in the form of SEBI, RBI, TRAI etc. but a vast number of institutions lack effective powers and modern technologies. They are being governed by ineffective laws, which need to be updated. Funds need to be infused to ensure effective capacity buildup and trainings in modern technologies must be imparted.
Competent, well equipped, trained, ethical, well paid personnel must be recruited who have a fervour for public services. The vacant government posts must be filled with new recruits to reduce work loads and improve consumer satisfactions. Already employed personnel must be imparted with training facilities in modern ways of exercising their duties. Ethical and moral behavior must be made legally binding upon the personnel. There have to be sound human resource management techniques and appraisals must consider employee’s quality of work as a criteria.
Indian administration is accused of being vertically structured with various levels of bureaucracy, causing effective delays. There had been a tendency of adopting a top down approach in which plans and policies were framed at top levels without involving the cutting edge bureaucracy, the civil society and citizens. For effective administration, there has to be a bottoms up approach. There has to be an effective devolution, decentralization, delegation of powers to local bodies, civil societies etc. which are accustomed to local needs and have a better connect with the problems.
Apart from all these, tools such as the Lokpal, RTI, Citizen’s Charter, E-Governance, grievance redressal mechanisms etc. can act as potential game changers and provide a paradigm shift towards good governance. Hence, India needs to tread a long hurdled path to roll out a red carpet for its citizens and local & global investors instead of greeting them with red tape.
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