Good governance Day achieved nothing: Equating administration with governance isn’t right

NEW DELHI,G Pramod Kumar : The message of the good governance day of Narendra Modi on Christmas Day was confusing – was it an attempt to hijack the Christmas day as Mamta Banerjee alleged, or was it a haughty message to the minorities that their special days don’t count?


Either way, it was certainly in bad taste and reportedly didn’t receive an enthusiastic reception.
Besides the demonstration of gross disregard for the sentiments of Christians, what did the day achieve? Was it successful in communicating a new idea of good governance, a path that the Modi government will pursue and will want others to follow? Unfortunately, not. And its biggest failure was that it remained symbolic and there was hardly any coherent message that went out.
All that came out of the day was three key-words: re-engineering (government processes), open and accountable administration. Is the lofty idea of governance just about administration, however good or bad it Is?

Even in his purveyance of the Gujarat model, Modi had been talking about good governance as an efficient and result oriented administration and minimal government. On the “good governance day”, he repeated what he has been saying so far. “An open and accountable administration is what we had promised to deliver and we will do so… I assure you, my countrymen that we will not let you down,” he said, adding “Government process re-engineering is yet another measure that we are pushing for. Ministries and Departments of the Government of India have been instructed to look into their work spheres, their internal processes and work on what and how to simplify and rationalise them.”

“Good Governance is the key to a nation’s progress. Our government is committed to providing a transparent and accountable administration which works for the betterment and welfare of the common citizen,” he further said.

The message is clear – good governance is efficient administration.
Given the depth and complexity of the term governance, good governance itself is a dated phrase. The new idiom is democratic governance because good governance do not necessarily embody the purpose and principles of democracy. A totalitarian regime can provide good governance while showing scant respect for the democratic rights of its citizens.

Broadly, the globally acknowledged principles of democratic governance are participation, consensus, strategic vision, responsiveness, efficiency, accountability, transparency, equity and rule of law. In his Gujarat model of governance, Modi seems to have done well on responsiveness, efficiency and accountability and his “governance day” message also highlighted these elements. What’s missing, if he meant governance indeed, were the other crucial attributes such as participation, consensus, strategic vision and equity. These elements distinguish democratic governance from efficient administration.

Democratic governance will be good and inclusive. Participation will provide people with the right to question and socially audit the government’s decisions. Arvind Kejriwal took it too far while Modi has contracted it to efficient administration.
Perhaps the sad part of the “good governance day” is this wrong message.

Source: First Post

Posted by on December 26, 2014. Filed under Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.