Good Governance

The term “good governance” is being used in development literature. Bad governance is being increasingly regarded as one of the root causes of all evil within our societies. The concept is elusive and value-laden. Hence proved to be difficult to define accurately.

The outline of the concept attempted to sketch through two documents.

Firstly, the World Bank’s 1989 document on Sub-Saharan Africa, and secondly World Bank’s 1992 document. In its document of 1989 World Bank cleared the concept of Governance with three parameters-

  • Public Sector Management and Accountability
  • Legal framework for development
  • Information and transparency

In the document of 1992 entitled ‘Governance and Development’ the World Bank stated three applications of the concept of governance;

  • In the form of a political regime
  • The process by which governmental power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources
  • The capacity of governments to design, formulate and implement policies

Features of Good Governance

From the above discussion, we can spell out some important features of Good Governance. Good Governance insists on the removal of corruption, voices for the minorities, participation of the most vulnerable in decision-making, and responsiveness to the present and future needs of society.


Fig: Feature of Good Governance



Inequalities and discriminations of various kinds like gender, race, caste, creed, place of birth, etc. are addressed in good governance by the participation of various stakeholders in governance either through direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives. Informed and organized participation is emphasized. It means freedom of association and expression for all to raise their concerns.

Rule of law

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Good governance requires fair legal frameworks that are enforced impartially. It entails protection of human rights, particularly those of minorities; impartial enforcement of laws that require an independent judiciary, and an impartial and incorruptible police force.


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Transparency suggests three things; firstly, decisions must be taken and enforced in a proper legal manner, secondly, the information must be freely available and directly accessible to the affected, and thirdly, complete information in easily understandable forms and media.


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The literal meaning of ‘responsiveness’- The quality of being responsive; reacting quickly; as a quality of people, it involves responding with emotion to people and events. It suggests that governance must be responsive to the concerns of all stakeholders within a reasonable timeframe.

Consensus oriented


Good governance requires mediation of the different interests in society to reach a broad consensus in society on what is in the best interest of the whole community and how this can be achieved. It also requires a broad and long-term perspective on what is needed for sustainable human development and how to achieve the goals of such development. This needs the sensitivity of the administration to the historical, cultural, and social contexts of a given society or community. In political terms, it is called political pluralism.

Equity and inclusiveness

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Good governance must address the issues concerning justice and equity. None in society should feel side-lined or exploited in the process of development. Growth should be inclusive and equitable. Mostly the vulnerable and marginalized must share the fruits of the development and must have opportunities to improve and maintain their well-being.

Effectiveness and efficiency

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It means that the developmental needs of the society must be achieved by the optimum utilization of the resources at their disposal. It further suggests sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment.


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Accountability is a key to good governance. Both public and private institutions along with civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. Transparency and Rule of Law are prerequisites of accountability.

Hence, Good governance is thus a vague normative formulation that is very difficult to practice in its original form and also it altered the administrative fabric of the third world

countries with its eight principles to be accountable for the assistance received from the international donor agencies for developmental purposes.

Also Read | Indian Culture and History

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