[Model Answer QP2022 GS4 Ethics]What do you understand by the term ‘good governance’? How far have recent initiatives in terms of e-Governance steps taken by the State have helped the beneficiaries? Discuss with suitable examples.

Good governance must be founded on moral virtues ensuring stability and harmony. Confucius described righteousness as the foundation of good governance and peace. The art of good governance simply lies in making things right and putting them in their right place.
The majority of the member States of the free world today are founded on the principle of “Welfare State”, run with full participation of their respective inhabitants, striving to achieve the common good and in the process affording optimum opportunity and involvement for growth of the individual so as to attain societal interests. This has led to evolution of “Good Governance”, as opposed to mere governance, as the umbrella concept embracing within a system of governance that is able to unequivocally discover the basic values of the society where standards concern economic, political and socio-cultural issues including those involving human rights, and one that follows the same through an accountable and upright administration.
Good governance is thus linked to an enabling environment conducive to the enjoyment of Human Rights and promoting growth and sustainable human development.

 Good Governance 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.

Recent initiatives  of e-Governance taken by the State that have helped the beneficiaries:

Punitive measures act as a deterrent whereas preventive measures reduce opportunities for corruption by making systems transparent, increasing accountability, reducing discretion, rationalizing procedures etc. Better preventive measures such as e-governance act as ‘Systemic Reforms’ as they seek to improve systems and processes. Some of the initiatives taken in recent years in this direction are listed below:
  1. Railway Passenger Bookings (Indian Railways): The computerization of railway passenger bookings, including ‘on-line’ booking and e-ticketing has eliminated the middlemen, decongested booking offices and brought considerable transparency to the Railway reservations process.

  1. Common Entrance Test (Karnataka) : This seeks to ensure merit-based selection to professional colleges in a timely and transparent manner.

  1. Teachers Appointment Scheme (Karnataka): This unique effort provided for a fool-proof, objective and transparent system for appointing teachers.

  1. Registration & Stamps (Maharashtra): The intention was devising more transparent property valuation tables, computerization of records, setting time limits for returning a registered document, use of digital cameras for photos and finger-printing, etc. The expedient of ‘valuation tables’ has virtually done away with arbitrary assessment of stamp duty and achieved the multiple objectives of minimizing corruption, ruling out harassment to purchasers of immovable property and augmenting tax collection.
  2. Unit Area Scheme (Delhi): This provided a system for the payment of property tax and registration of property involving self assessment and normative basis of calculation .

  1. e-Cops (Punjab): This seeks to ensure on-line registration of complaints and their systematic follow-up enabling complainants to ascertain the outcome and the higher police echelons to keep ‘real time’ watch over the manner the ‘cutting edge’ level functionaries act on complaints.

  1. e-Governance in Andhra Pradesh (E- Seva), and Kerala (FRIENDS standing for Fast, Reliable, Instant, Effective Network for Distribution of Services): These provide improved service delivery by simplifying transactions between government and citizens involving use of information technology for payment of utility bills or seeking different services on a single platform. Mention may also be made of the initiative ‘E-Choupals’ in Madhya Pradesh for the benefit of farmers selling their produce.

Good governance is not a mirage or a utopian concept. It only signifies the way an administration ameliorates the standard of living of the members of its society by creating, and making available, the basic amenities of life; providing its people security and the opportunity to better their lot; instills hope in their hearts for a promising future; providing, on an equal & equitable basis, access to opportunities for personal growth; affording participation and capacity to influence, in the decision-making in public affairs; sustaining a responsive judicial system which dispenses justice on merits in a fair, unbiased and meaningful manner; and maintaining accountability and honesty in each wing or functionary of the Government.

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