Day 70 – Q 2.What are the institutional measures to ensure transparency and accountability in governance? Discuss. How effective have these measures been? Critically comment.
2. What are the institutional measures to ensure transparency and accountability in governance? Discuss. How effective have these measures been? Critically comment.
शासन में पारदर्शिता और जवाबदेही सुनिश्चित करने के लिए संस्थागत उपाय क्या हैं? चर्चा करें। ये उपाय कितने प्रभावी रहे हैं? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।
Transparency and accountability in administration are sine qua non of participatory democracy. Government secrecy fosters disbelief of government on the part of the citizenry and transparency eliminates the wall of secrecy built against the common people by those holding power. Accountability goes beyond the mere responsibility of delivery of a task or service. It also means answerability if a service is not delivered in a timely and efficient manner such that it becomes a burden.
- UNDP describes governance as “a system of values, policies and institutions by which a society manages its economic, political and social affairs through interactions within and among the state, civil society and the private sector.”
- Transparency is broadly accepted as a major principle of good governance. Transparency allows stakeholders to collect information that may be critical to uncovering abuses and defending their interests. Likewise, transparency increases accountability of the Government officials.
- Transparency means that the criteria, process and systems of decision-making are openly known to all in a public manner. Citizens charter becomes an important measure for transparency in institutional setup.
- The declaration of Right To Information Act (2015) set the stage for transparency in the functioning of the government and its various agencies. Under this Act, access to information from a public agency has become a statutory right of every citizen.
- Major Initiatives to Enhance Transparency in India include – Right to Information Act, Public Services Bill, Citizens Charters, e-Governance, e-Bhoomi, e-Choupal, e-procurement.
- Transparency is required to make the system of public service delivery effective. However, sheer knowledge of what entitlements are, and who is responsible for fulfilling them, is not sufficient to ensure that public services are passably and effectively delivered to the ‘intended’ recipients.
- Accountability become another crucial concept in maintaining good governance. Accountability means being answerable for the performance of tasks assigned to a person.
- Accountability necessitates the clear specification of tasks to be performed, the time frame and budget available for performing those tasks. Additionally, it is also important to be clear about the responsibility for performance of those tasks; person responsible and whether it is clear to them.
- Citizens Charter Bill 2011 aims at providing rights to citizens for time bound delivery of goods and services and provide a Grievance Redressal Mechanism. Such a bill was previously recommended by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission.
- Lokpal and Lokayuktas aims at reducing corruption by setting up of a separate institution of Lokpal at the Central level and Lokayuktas at the State level. These organizations investigate cases of corruption against public servants in the respective Government organizations.
- E-Governance initiatives for providing an accountable administration include a framework for efficient handling of public grievances through the Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) which is already in place.
- The governance involving transparency and accountability suffers from the weakness that disclosed Information’s Genuineness can also be dubious and Wrong Interpretation of available information can give detrimental results to an organization.
- Further, the abundance and availability of information means that the user needs skill to determine what it is that they want. The user of information has major role to play in affecting information sharing.
- Change in the mindset of the government employees is necessary as it becomes a great hindrance in the process of ensuring transparency and accountability in governance structures in India.
- Limited digitalisation of government offices and inadequate infrastructure has further been a stumbling block in ensuring effective transparency and accountability measures.
Way Forward –
- There is imperative need to strengthen and widen the national public information infrastructure through developing information networks for wider access of digital information through wider use of information technologies.
- Changing the mindset of the government employees is important. This will be addressed to organizing programmes for orientation, training and capacity building.
- States may be advised to establish an independent public grievance redressal authority to deal with complaints of delay, harassment and corruption.
Accountability is the complementary function of Transparency. Further, if the system of governance is transparent enough it would promote accountability, transparency and accountability are linked vis-a-vis its mission of an organization where the main objective of achieving public welfare needs to be prioritised.