Citizen Centric Governance
Governance aims at efficient and effective administration in a democratic framework, by promoting transparency, openness, accountability, rule of law and participation of the ‘governed’. The concept of governance extends the scope of public administration beyond the ‘formal government’ and seeks to build collaborative interdependent partnerships among the citizen, private sector, the voluntary organisations and the various government structures. The emphasis in this new paradigm is on ‘collective problem-solving’ rather than ‘individual problem-solving’.
In good governance, it is people at the centre of the development process. In order to be citizen centric it should be participative, transparent, responsive and accountable to the common man as ultimately the credibility of the government is based on the satisfaction they provide to the people.
Degree of people’s active participation can be gauged on the following parameters (as per UN Guidelines on Citizen’s Engagement for Development Management and Public Governance):
- Involving citizens (individuals, not representatives) in policy or program development, from agenda setting, need identification and planning to decision-making, implementation and review.
- Two-way communication regarding change (interactive and initiative): between government and citizens; and among citizens and civil society groups.
- Includes easy accessible and relevant forums and processes through which citizens come to an opinion and facilitate decision-making.
Contribution to collective Problem-Solving and Prioritisation:
Efforts have been initiated since independence to improve the performance of the government. The Indian Constitution provides a reference point for values that should guide the governance of the country.
The Preamble and the chapters on Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties clearly indicate the values that should guide the actions of the government and its citizens.
The basic theme is to have a democratic government. The governance structure and philosophy has seen a major change since independence keeping pace with philosophy of the Constitution. The colonial ‘Mai-Baap’ structure of government has been altered completely and it is now entrusted with agenda of rapid socio-economic development and social welfare. Some recent initiatives to bring the government and the governed closer are as follows:
- Citizen’s charter
- Grievance Redressal System
- Increased use of Information Technology
- Right to Information Act, 2005
- Decentralisation initiatives such as Panchayats and Municipalities -ensuring people’s participation at grassroots.
However, still we have a long way to go, in achieving a perfectly responsive government which is the key to ‘Good Governance”.