Today, in spite of the fact that man possesses the resources and the technology to create a poverty-free world in the period of one generation.” About a quarter of human population on earth continue to live in poverty. Everyone will be richer without poverty” is a forceful statement made by UNDP, given the human will to target poverty.
“Poverty is not simply the lack of income. It is also the lack of a voice, of a responsive local administration that can redress local needs; the lack of a system of governance that is transparent and accountable to people it supposedly exists to serve: ¹
“Good governance means eliminating poverty. Good governance means empowering the poor and the unprivileged and the exploited. Good governance means a system and a structure that are democratic, transparent, clean, efficient, equitable, sensitive and accountable.
Among many crises engulfing India, and similarly placed countries of Asia, Africa and the Pacific Region, the one that is most palpable is the crisis of governance. It affects the life and working environment of millions, who consider themselves free citizens of welfare states. In the last half-century, we have witnessed a growing restlessness with the systems and instruments of governance. Available evidence suggests a continuous decline in the quality of governance in most developing countries and a perception of the state being alien to people has gained ground
Some of the obvious elements of this crisis are: -
Good governance requires, to quote the Planning Commission of India, “not so much additional resources as better personnel policies and sound delivery mechanism. Unless teachers attend schools and teach, unless doctors attend health centres and provide health care, and subsidies reach the poor, mere increase in the social sector expenditure would only result in further leakage…” ²
The government., non-profit organizations, government agencies and public sector corporations are important contributors to the vitality and well being of Indian society. From community development, arts and recreation to social services, education and health, these groups provide a wide range of service and support to the Indian public.
The structures and processes used to govern these organizations have a strong impact on the services they provide, and other functions they may perform, such as advocacy and representation. Effective governance ensures their objectives are realized, resources are properly managed, and the benefits of their work are enjoyed equitably.
Prima facie good governance is a quest, a dream. It is ruthless in its demands, but it is equally generous in its rewards.
Governance is too serious a job to be left only to the government functionaries. The political and administrative institutions are not owned by anybody. There is confusion and a crisis of ownership.