‘Governance’ consists of traditions and institutions by which authority is exercised in a country. This includes the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced; the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies; and the dignity of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social chemistry among them.
Each government consider itself as the deliverer of the most transparent and equality-based governance with full of egalitarian choices. It is imperative here that citizens are allowed to participate freely, openly and fully in the political process. Good governance is associated with accountable political leadership, enlightened policy-making and a civil service imbued with a professional ethos. The presence of a strong civil society including a free press and independent judiciary is a prerequisite for good governance.
The growing recognition of the link between good governance and successful development, as empirical evidence suggests, has stimulated the demand for monitoring the quality of governance across countries and within countries over time. The Worldwide Governance Indicators are a compilation of the perceptions of a very diverse group of respondents, collected in a large number of surveys and other cross-country assessments of governance. Some of these instruments capture the views of firms, individuals, and public officials in the countries being assessed. Others reflect the views of NGOs and aid donors with considerable experience in the countries being assessed, while others are based on the assessment of commercial risk rating agencies.
It is aptly said that the wellspring of politics flows from the attitudes and behaviours of the ordinary citizen, and that the institutions of a democratic political process should be structured to respond to the citizenry. The outcome of the general elections of 2014 was a major breakthrough in terms of characteristics of voters’ behaviour which was contrary to the general perception that no single party could cross the bar of 241 seats. As a matter of fact, when a voter casts her or his vote it means not only transfer of the voter’s power to the political executive but also an array of expectations from the candidate whom she or he favoured. Undoubtedly, the success of the government lies upon the satisfaction level of voters.
It would be good to bear in mind that governance refers to the interaction between government and other actors of the social sphere and the process of decision-making in a complex world. Important though it is, the idea of governance need not be restricted only to the government. It is to be seen as a part of the complex matrix of relationship between the political and administrative structure and the society in the process of decision making, implementation and accountability. The core values that go into the making of good governance are participatory decision-making, accountability and transparency, efficient and responsive structure underlying the political system and equity which involves fairness and rule of law. A society striving to achieve the ideals of good governance needs to work on these values to ensure that people get their rightful share in the fruits of development of the country.
Let us have a look at a number of initiatives which have been taken in these directions which are having a significant impact on the lives of people and their relationship with the structures of governance. Of many such initiatives, the prominent one is the Pradhan Mantri Jan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) which, if successfully implemented, will eradicate monetary untouchability. What is amazing about the this financial inclusion programme is that it found a mention in the Guinness Book World Record, which noted: “Most accounts opened in 1 week as part of financial inclusion campaign is 18,096,130 by department of financial service, Government of India from 23 to 29 August, 2014.”
Some other initiatives taken by the government towards financial consolidation have also started yielding fruits. For instance, India’s GDP, one of the various yardsticks for measuring economic health of a country, is indicating convalescence after being bedridden by the global recession. By virtue of several measure taken by the government, India's GDP rose 7.4 % in the second quarter of 2015-16, in line with expectations but faster than the 7% growth recorded in the preceding three months, outpacing China's GDP which rose 6.9% in the same quarter. Inflation at consumer price was recorded the lowest ever at 3.69 percent in July of 2015 which had once reached an all-time high 11.6 percent in November of 2013. Furthermore, on the principle of ‘minimum government and maximum governance’, the expenditure management commission was constituted to review the allocative and operation efficiency of government expenditure.
E-governance initiatives are among the other sets of measures which are transforming the way the government functions and relates to the citizens. Models of e-governance being implemented in many parts of the country seek to answer this issue. Digital India is the key initiative in this regard.
A constant and critical dialogue between the government and society is essential to refine and effectively put to practice the principles of good governance. Hence, the prime minister is bonding with citizens through his ‘Mann ki baat’ radio programme regularly.
All the hitherto social-economic and political changes that country has witnessed have also redefining content and forms of the government, setting its agenda, adding some element of modern glamour to it as well. The thumping victory of Narendra Modi in the 2014 elections that bulldozed all caste, class and regional barriers and his earning of a tag of rock star politician that got reflected and ratified through Madison and Wembley moments and Facebook rendezvous with Mark Zuckerberg has been the ultimate authentication of the metamorphosis of the concept of government and governance in India.
Moreover, the future identity of the government as smart and governance as clinically effective are going to stay and whosoever will fit the bill will certainly govern the country and enjoy the status of a rock star as does Modi.