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Good governance is about the processes for making and implementing decisions. It’s not about making ‘correct’ decisions, but about the best possible process for making those decisions.” goodgovernance.org.au

Good governance is the art of looking at problems, diagnosing them and finding solutions through collective decision making. It is the process of decision making with the participation and consensus of all members of society.

Good governance is when the administration embraces the participation of all institutionsin the process of decision making: government, organised civil society, NGO’s, and the representatives of the weakest members of society including the affected people and the marginalised and displaced.

Good governance seeks information, advice and consultation from all members of society, especially the minorities and the weak and vulnerable, who feel excluded from the mainstream of society and feel that they have no stake in it, thus giving an opportunity to all to participate and discuss what would be in the best interest of the whole community.

Good governance is when decisions are taken transparently, consensually, within the framework of the law and are accountable to the public. And, when the decision makers are obliged to report, explain and be accountable to the public for the consequences of their decisions.

“Good governance has 8 major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society.” ~ UNESCAP – United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

It is not ‘good governance’ when the process of decision making is not followed, like when ordinances are imposed to sidestep discussion and debate in the houses of parliament.

An ordinance is a decree or law promulgated by a state or national government without the consent of the legislature, which means there is no participation and no consensus by anyone and there is no process of decision making at all. Ordinances can be considered an undemocratic route to law-making as promulgationsand re-promulgations are a “negation of the rule of law”. The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in Krishna Kumar Singh’s case has reiterated the principle that re-promulgation of ordinances is a fraud on the Constitution and a subversion of the democratic legislative processes.

It is not good governance, but authoritarianism, and the signal of scams when environmental clearances are removed and overruled arbitrarily and without notice and without participation by affected people, or environmental experts, or official bodies,to facilitate projects such as mining or building ports or for business development to favour industry and corporations.There is no transparency, no consultation, no representation, no participation and no decision-making process at all.

It is not ‘good governance’, but pure unadulterated bullying, when civil rights, earth justice and civil society movements are abused and maligned for opposing, for e.g., nuclear energy, mining, GMO – Genetic Modification and land acquisition for Economic Processing Zones, industrial corridors, rural infrastructure, defence and housing, when in reality it is against the law of the land and the constitution.

It is not ‘good governance’, but religious persecution to destabilise religious minorities and their freedom of practicing their religion and other freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, because this goes against the rule of law and is contrary to responsiveness (serving the community) and equity and inclusiveness, rule of law and the constitution. And, obviously,it is not a process of participatory decision-making which involves the affected parties, the government, civil society and the weakest members of society.

It is not ‘good governance’ but despotic subjugation to crush and subdue dissident voices, human rights activists, social justice activists, civil liberties and civil rights activists,

environmental activists, animal rights activists and humane journalists in the independent media, because, they should, in reality, be participants in the decision-making process to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of society and make the best use of their expertise and resources, to sustainably and protect the environment and humanity.

It is not ‘good governance’ but intimidation to still the voice of an independent media, or to control it, or threaten it, and compromise the independence of a free media.

It is not good governance to put citizens through surveyance through the covert and overt imposition of Aadhaar,by ordinance, and by amending laws to facilitate the use of Aadhaar for purposes beyond delivery of social sector benefits to the country’s citizens. And then re-promulgate it to undo a Supreme Court order restricting the use of Aadhaar. Neither is the Amendment of the Citizenship Act. All these go against good governance as they are against the rule of law and go against the characteristic of transparency, equity and inclusiveness.

It is not good governance, but coercion, when “the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill 2018”, conceived in secrecy,is tabled and passed without public consultations, casting aside the Pre-Legislative Consultation Policy of 2014, which mandates public disclosure and consultation on draft legislations. This amendment junks the rules of transparency, participation, and inclusion in good governance.

Politicians usually say that security is the reason for secrecy in policy-making. However, good-governance is consultative, representative, consensual and participative. Itis the art of recognizingproblems, analysing them and transparentlyfinding solutions through collective decision making and being accountable to citizens. Good governance is nurturing, supportive and creates positive interactions between citizens and government. It unifies. It does not separate and divide.

The practice of good governance is theoretically and practically possible, because it is not a set of rules, but a process of decision-making built on co-ordination with the public sector and civil society and the continuing interaction of the government with various people’s organisations, representatives and stakeholders.

Good governance is possible if it is the will of the government to be consultative, participative, consensual, transparent, accountable and inclusive. It is democratic governance. i.e., governance by the people, for the people and of the people.

Good-governance can be conducted by politicians who love people and empower them, and not by politicians who wish to gather powerto themselves and control people.

Pratap Antony writes on ecology and environment, social justice and pluralism, management ideas and issues, jazz and western classical music and Indian classical dance.


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One Comment

  1. Lydia Flynn says:

    Thanks Pratap. Well said.