The process of decision making and governing through laws, rules, norms, power and language by public institutions and personnel to mange public resources for public welfare at large is called Governance.
The concept of good governance is not new. Kautilya in his treatise Arthashastra elaborated the traits of the king of a well governed State thus: “in the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness, in their welfare his welfare, whatever pleases himself, he does not consider as good, but whatever pleases his subjects he considers as good”. Mahatma Gandhi had propounded the concept of ‘Su-raj’. Good governance has the following eight attributes which link it to its citizens-
Good governance aims at providing an environment in which all citizens irrespective of class, caste and gender can develop to their full potential. In addition, good governance also aims at providing public services effectively, and equitably to the citizens.
The 4 pillars on which the edifice of good governance rests, in essence are:
• Ethos (of service to the citizen),
• Ethics (honesty, integrity and transparency),
• Equity (treating all citizens alike with empathy for the weaker sections), and
• Efficiency (speedy and effective delivery of service without harassment and using ICT increasingly).
Good governance should have the following distinct dimensions:
• As a democratic country, a central feature of good governance is the constitutionally protected right to elect government at various levels in a fair manner, with effective participation by all sections of the population. This is a basic requirement for the legitimacy of the government and its responsibility to the electorate.
• The government at all levels must be accountable and transparent. Closely related to accountability is the need to eliminate corruption, which is widely seen as a major deficiency in governance. Transparency is also critical, both to ensure accountability, and also to enable genuine participation .
• The government must be effective and efficient in delivering social and economic public services, which are its primary responsibilities. This requires constant monitoring and attention to the design of our programmes. In our situation, where the responsibility for delivery of key services such as primary education and health is at the local level, this calls for special attention to ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of local governments.
• Governments at lower levels can only function efficiently if they are empowered to do so. This is particularly relevant for the PRIs, which currently suff er from inadequate devolution of funds as well as functionaries to carry out the functions constitutionally assigned to them.
• An overarching requirement is that the rule of law must be firmly established. This is relevant not only for relations between the government and individuals enabling individuals to demand their rights but also for relations between individuals or businesses. A modern economic society depends upon increasingly complex interactions among private entities and these interactions can be efficiently performed only if legal rights are clear and legal remedies for enforcing these rights are swift.
• Finally, the entire system must function in a manner which is seen to be fair and inclusive. This is a perceptional issue but it is real nonetheless. Disadvantaged groups, especially the SCs, STs, minorities and others, must feel they have an equal stake and should perceive an adequate flow of benefits to ensure the legitimacy of the State.
e-Governance which also known as electronic governance is basically the application of Information and Communications Technology to the processes of Government functioning in order to bring about ‘Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent’ governance . E governance involve the use of ICTs by government organisations for Exchange of information with citizens, businesses or other government departments, Faster and more efficient delivery of public services, Improving internal efficiency, Reducing costs / increasing revenue, Re-structuring of administrative processes and Improving quality of services.
-Deepika Reddy, Director of Shikara Academy