Indian Polity Part 1 – Governance

Indian Polity Notes For Civil Services Examination

  • Governance is the act of governing. It relates to the decision that defines expectations, grant power or verifies performance.
  • It consists of either a separate process or part of the decision – making or leadership processes. In a modern nation-state, these processes and systems are typically administered by a government.
  • When discussing governance in particular organisations, the quality of governance within the organisation is often compared to a standard of good governance.
  • In the case of a business or of a non – profit organization, governance relates to consistent management, cohesive policies, guidance, process and decision – rights for a given area of responsibility.
  • For example, managing at a corporate level might involve evolving policies on privacy, on internal investment and on the use of data.
  • To distinguish the governance from the government: “governance” is what a “governing body” does.
  • It might be a geopolitical entity (nation-state), a corporate entity (business entity), and a socio-political entity (chiefdom, tribe, family, etc.).
  • Or any number of different kinds of governing bodies, but governance is the way rules are set and implemented.


  • Participation: All men and women should have a voice in decision – making, either directly or through legitimate intermediate institutions that represent their interests.
  • Such broad participation is built on freedom of association and speech, as well as capacities to participate constructively.
  • Rule of law: Legal frameworks should be fair and enforced impartially, particularly the laws of human rights.

  • Transparency: Transparency is built on the free flow of information. Processes institutions and information are directly accessible to those concerned with them, and enough information is provided to monitor them.
  • Responsiveness: Institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders.
  • Consensus orientation: Good governance mediates differing interests to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the group and where possible, on policies and procedures.
  • Equity: All men and women have opportunities to improve or maintain their well – being.
  • Effectiveness and efficiency: Processes and institutions produce results that meet needs while making the best use of resources.
  • Accountability: Decision – makers in government, the private sector and civil society organisations are accountable to the public, as well as to institutional stakeholders.
  • This accountability differs depending on the organisations and whether the decision is internal or external to an organisation.
  • Strategic vision: Leaders and the public have a broad and long-term perspective on good governance and human development, along with a sense of what is needed for such development.
  • There is also an understanding of the historical, cultural and social complexities in which that perspective is grounded.

Creating the conditions for good governance

Given the characteristics of good governance, its implications and the relevance to public sector reform within small developing nations, governments must create and sustain the condition necessary for good governance within their respective territories.

Conditions for good governance

  • Create and adapt basic legislation and institutions that guarantee political and economic freedoms as well as strive to meet a broader range of basic human needs (food, housing, health and Medicare, education etc.)
  • Relax regulations in order to remove obstacles to economic participation.
  • Improve financial management
  • Build infrastructure to ensure that organisational capacity is available to handle the growing needs for services, increasing demands for better and more responsive services and creating conditions for economic progress and social cohesion.
  • Train public officers, business people and entrepreneurs. With the improvements in access to education brings the challenges of rapid changes in many knowledge areas, therefore, the government must institute
  • An ongoing development programme for its human resources to ensure that they are equipped with necessary skills.
  • Reform public management practices to address issues such as budget deficits, external pressure on competitiveness (globalization), adequate work procedures, excessive centralization, inflexibility, lack of efficiency and perceived lack of public confidence in government.
  • Freedom from distortionary incentives through corruption, nepotism, patronage or capture by narrow private interest groups.
  • Accountability of politicians and civil servants to ensure that the power given to them through the laws and regulations they implement.
  • Resources they control and the organizations they manage is used appropriately and in accordance with the public interest.

Accountability and Transparency

  • The term accountable came into usage in the English language in 1583, the Oxford dictionary defines it as liable to be called to account, responsible (to, for).
  • Similarly, the Webster’s dictionary defines it as liable to be called on to render an account.
  • Thus the concept of accountability connotes the obligation of the administrators to give a satisfactory account of their performance and the manner in which they have exercised power conferred on them.
  • Its main aim is to check wrong and arbitrary actions and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the administrative process.
  • The two terms of administrative accountability and administrative responsibility are very often used interchangeably.
  • Responsibility refers to the public servant’s responsiveness to the public will, whereas accountability denotes the specific methods and procedures to enforce the public servant’s responsibility.
  • In a constitution and democratic system government, administrative responsibility cannot be allowed to depend solely on the personal responsibility procedural basis.
  • This basis of enforcing responsibility is known accountability.


  • Administrative accountability is enforced by means of various controls. In other words, it involves devising a control mechanism to keep the administrative under a close watch and in check.
  • Thus, the public servants are made accountable to different agencies which exercise control over them.
  • The purpose of control is to ensure that the public servants exercise their powers and discretion in accordance with laws, formal rules and established procedures and conventions.

The external control over administration is exercised by the following four agencies:

  • Legislature
  • Executive
  • Judiciary
  • Citizen

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