The challenges of good governance

The challenges of good governance

The preliminary condition for good governance is the establishment of the rule of law, which, ultimately, supplants the rule of whims and caprices of those in power.

Good governance demands that government must be not only representative, but responsive, as well, to the needs of governed. A strong sense of responsiveness and commitment to serve the governed is required on the part of the government. It emphasises on the effective delivery of services to the satisfaction of the people. It provides moral legitimacy, apart from constitutional validity and credibility to the goals, as well as instrumentalities of government. It comprehends within itself all sections of governance and all sections and regions of society.

The main constituents of the good governance are rule of law; honesty, or probity in public affairs; independence of judiciary and human rights; people’s participation; equality of treatment; absence of discrimination on the basis of colour, creed, caste, race, language, sex, region, ability; administrative responsiveness; social sensitivity; ethical approach or conduct; willingness to learn, and an urge to improve, as well as to evolve the capability to anticipate the nature and direction of change; to cope with challenges as they arise, from time to time.

Good governance depends on a range of factors that include administrative capacity, country’s stage of development, the external conditions that it faces, and the state of information and technology (I.T) available to it, for taking decisions.

The World Bank has identified a number of challenges to good governance which assume significance for developed and the developing countries. These factors deal with the following political and administrative aspects

• Political accountability, including the acceptability of the political system by the people, and regular elections to legitimize the exercise of political power.

• There should be freedom of associations and participation by various religious, social, economic and cultural and professional groups in the process of governance.

• An established legal framework based on the rule of law and independence of judiciary to protect human rights, secure social justice and safeguards against exploitation and the abuse of power.

• Bureaucratic accountability, ensuring a system to monitor and control the performance of government offices and officials, in relation to quality of services, efficiency and misuse of discretionary power. The related determinants include openness and transparency in administration.

• Freedom of information, needed for formulation of public policies, decisionmaking, monitoring and evaluation of good performance.

• A sound administrative system should lead to efficiency and effectiveness. This, in turn, means value for money and cost effectiveness.

• Lastly, there is a greater need of cooperation among government and civil society organizations.

Some of the challenges of good governance could be as follows:

1) Corruption at various levels
2) Centralisation of power and authority
3) Criminalisation of politics
4) Violations of human rights
5) Weak legislators with criminal records, poor knowledge about development issues and low level of education
6) Poor people’s participation in development processes
7) Less active civil society
8) Poorly empowered grassroots democratic institutions
9) Poor coordination among the political, administrative and community level organizations and institutions
10) Delay in delivery of judicial decisions
11) Poor participation of disadvantaged in decision making process.