• UNDP, the World Bank, the OECD define governance as the exercise of authority or power in order to manage a country’s economic, political and administrative affairs.
  • The 2009 Global Monitoring Report sees governance as ‘power relationships,’ ‘formal and informal processes of formulating policies and allocating resources,’ ‘processes of decision-making’ and ‘mechanisms for holding governments accountable.’ 
  • The word “governance” came from the Latin verb “gubernare,” or more originally from the Greek word “kubernaein,” which means “to steer.” Basing on its etymology, governance refers to the manner of steering or governing, or of directing and controlling, a group of people or a state.
  • Governance is commonly defined as the exercise of power or authority by political leaders for the well-being of their country’s citizens or subjects.
  • Governance can also be defined as set and norms, strategic vision and direction and formulating high-level goals and policies.
  • It refers to overseeing management and organizational performance to ensure that the organization is working in the best interests of the public, and more specifically the stakeholders who are served by the organization’s mission
  • It is about directing and overseeing the management to ensure that the organization is achieving the desired outcomes and to ensure that the organization is acting prudently, ethically and legally.







ASPECTS of Good Governance:

  • Four Pillars of Governance (Citizen Centric)
  1. Ethos (of service to the citizen)
  2. Ethics (honesty, integrity and transparency)
  3. Equity (empathy for weaker sections)
  4. Efficiency (speedy and effective, use of ICT and no harassment)
  • Governance must provide for Citizen Centric Administration
  • Institutions set up for this:
  1. Institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission, National Women’s Commission, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, and Lokayuktas etc. have been set up.











  1. Accountability
    1. Accountability also means answerability i.e. questions asked of public officials have to be answered by them.
    2. There are two types of questions that can be asked.
    3. (1) Under RTI Act: One type as under the RTI Act merely seeks information/data and involves one way transmission of information. It promotes transparency and to a much lesser degree accountability in Government.
    4. (2) Why?: The second type of question enquires not just as to what was done but why; and therefore involves a consultative two-way flow of information with the citizens usually providing a feedback in respect of the working of government departments and service delivery of public agencies.
      1. Such mechanisms include citizens’ charters, Service Delivery Surveys, social audits, citizens’ report card and outcome surveys.
    5. Transparency
      1. Transparency in decision-making, disclosure of standards of delivery and openness in the every day functioning of the administration are the hallmarks of a citizen centric approach.
      2. As this is a reasonably new concept, which has gained acceptance after the enactment of the Right to Information Act, a change in approach is required at all levels of the government.
    6. Aspects of Regulation
      1. Only where necessary
      2. Should be effective and not symbolic
      3. Self regulation is best form of regulation
      4. Regulatory procedures should be transparent, and citizen friendly.
      5. Involve citizen groups and professional organizations in regulation
    7. Single Window System for Delivery of Services
      1. One of the ways in which governments across the world have approached efficient and effective service delivery to citizens (and businesses) is by adopting a ‘single window system’.
      2. The driving force behind this approach is the belief that citizens need not run around different government offices for getting various services.
      3. This is achieved through a number of ways. One approach allows a service providing organization to re-engineer its processes in such a way that all the services provided by it get delivered to citizens through a single outlet/unit.
      4. Another approach is to establish an organization, which would create an infrastructure through which different government organizations are able to provide services to citizens at a single point of delivery. Some governments have adopted an approach where no separate organization is created – all the organizations work in tandem to establish a common service delivery infrastructure. Eg: Germany


  1. Bottlenecks


Transparency International Index: India features at No. 70 with a rating of 3.3. This is a very low ranking in the international scenario and shows that corruption is a serious problem in India