Governance is a broad concept covering all aspects of how a country is governed, including its economic policies, regulatory framework, and adherence to rule of law. Poor governance offers greater incentives and more opportunities for corruption—the abuse of public office for private gain. Corruption undermines the public’s trust in its government. It also threatens market integrity, distorts competition, and endangers economic development. Because poor governance is clearly detrimental to economic activity and welfare, the IMF adopted in 1997 a policy on how to address economic governance, embodied in the Guidance Note “The Role of the IMF in Governance Issues.” To further strengthen the implementation of this policy, the IMF adopted in 2018 a new Framework for Enhanced Engagement on Governance. The framework aims to promote more systematic, effective, candid, and evenhanded engagement with member countries regarding governance vulnerabilities—including corruption—that are critical to macroeconomic performance.

The term ‘Good Governance’ had been very popular in the field of Public Administration as well as social sciences during the last decade. But the concept of good governance is very old, like human civilization.

We have found the concept in the ancient Indian writings like Kautilya’s ‘Arthashastra’ ‘Mahabharat’, Shukracharya’s ‘Nitisar’ and other western scholars like Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas Hobbes, etc. In that ancient India, rulers were obligated by the precepts of Dharma which was closely related to good governance. 

Governance as the normative sense has given the concept of ‘Good Governance’. It refers to the welfare in governance and improving the quality of governance.  It enables the government to provide equal opportunities and fair delivery of goods and services to the people who are most marginal in society. 

Good governance refers to mobilizing the people of a country in the best direction possible. It requires the unity of people in society and motivates them to attain political objectivity. In other words; It ensures proper utilization of all the resources of the state for its citizens which ensures sustainable development.


According to the world bank (1992) “good governance is central to creating and sustaining an environment which fosters strong and equitable development and it is an essential complement to sound economic policies”.

According to UNDP, “Good Governance is, among other things, participatory, transparent and accountable. It is also effective and equitable. And it promotes the rule of law. Good governance ensures that political, social, and economic priorities are based on broad consensus in society and that the voices of the poorest and the most vulnerable are heard in decision making over the allocation of development resources”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has defined the concept “as a broad concept covering all aspects of how a country is governed, including its economic policies, regulatory framework, and adherence to rule of law”. 

The IMF very much emphasized promoting the concept of mainly two areas:

  • The management of public resources through reforms covering public sector institutions and
  • The development and maintenance of a transparent and stable economic and regulatory environment conducive to private sector activities.

Mohit Bhattacharya (2013) has been discussed the recent developments of good governance in three ways:

  1. It is an attempt to widen the scope of public administration by going beyond the formal government.
  2. It is an externally dictated term invented to prescribe aid-conditionality.
  3. It is a more genuinely democratic intensifying concept- to make public administration more open, transparent, and accountable.

He has also opined that good governance needs to be discussed beyond the World Bank and other funding agencies have been representing this. “A more creative approach would be to treat the issues as new opportunities to have a fresh look at state-civil society relationships in today’s complex world of governance”.


Governance needs some parameters to make it good. From the above definitions, we can be said that good governance has some Characteristics or indicators for the establishment of sound economic management and ensuring the relationship between the state and civil society. From the study of World Bank documents and several studies, there are 8 major characteristics of good governance. These are mentioned below-


The participation of citizens in the process of governance is the key characteristics of good governance. Participation as an important step for mobilizing people to participate in the decision-making process. It can be direct or indirect but Participation needs to be informed and organized. The aims and objectives of the political rights would be fulfilled by the greater participation of the people in the society. The legal framework represents the rule of law which ensures impartiality in terms of participation in the decision-making process of governance.


Another important characteristic of good governance is rule of law. It needs a fair legal framework to establish rule of law in society. Rule of law ensures impartiality which helps to protect human rights, particularly who is most marginal in society. The Independent judiciary system, its impartial nature, and the incorruptible police force are the key element to ensure rule of law.


Governance needs transparency for the fair delivery of services to the citizens. It ensures a balance between policymaking and its enforcement following proper rules and regulations. It enables the citizen to access governmental information regarding various policies and their implementation freely. Proper media should be established for an easy understanding of this information.


Responsiveness has a basic necessity of the administration which can motivate the interrelationships between administration and people. It requires sufficient services to the people within a specific time.


Governance depends on the consensus of people in society to make it good. It could fulfill the interest of the people as well as the community. It helped to achieve the long-term perspective of human development. And it originated from the social culture and institutional behaviors of the particular society.  


An equitable just society must be established for ensuring good governance. Society’s wellbeing depends on how its members feel about it. It requires all its members feel that they have a stake in it and they are not excluded from the mainstream in the governance.


Effectiveness and efficiency ensure the outcomes of the institutions to meet the needs of society. Proper utilization of society’s resources for the establishment of sustainable development is the key to good governance. It also ensures the sustainable use of natural resources for the protection of the environment.


Accountability is one of the most important characteristics of good governance. Good governance depends on how accountable Governmental as well as private sectors and civil society organization to their people and its institutional stakeholders.  Without transparency and rule of law, accountability cannot be established.


The importance of good governance in a state is immense. Sustainable development is not possible without good governance. 


Without good governance in a state, the economic development of that state is not stable. All elements of economic development, such as production, distribution, investment, and even consumption, face various obstacles. If good governance is established, such obstacles will be removed and the fair distribution of state resources will be possible.


Good governance is essential for social development. The role of it does not end only with economic development. The result of development ensures that every class of people in society enjoys the basis of fairness. People of different religions, castes, and classes live in a society. Now, if there is no fair distribution of wealth among all these people, social discontent will increase.

Again, the proper distribution of wealth is not enough. We have to make arrangements so that the minority people can walk without fear. In the same way, various reform laws have to be enacted to reduce the gap between men and women in society.


Its relationship with political development is quite important. If the political leaders of a country are not active in establishing good governance, then its establishment in that country is not possible. Its success depends largely on the sincerity of the political leadership and adherence to the rules and regulations of the political establishment.

The constructive cooperation between the political institutions and the political parties and the formulation of programs for the welfare of the people play an important role in establishing good competition and good governance among themselves. For example, in a democracy, mutual cooperation between the government and the opposition helps to establish it in the country.


During the freedom moment our leaders through various objectives like swaraj, ahimsa, Satyagraha wanted to introduce good governance in India. After independence the preamble to the constitution of India focuses on moral and human values and inclusiveness of all in the governance of the country. Besides these directive principles of state policy, sixth and seventh schedules of the constitution also included various provisions for equity and inclusiveness. The 73ed and 74th constitution amendment acts change the trends by providing the constitutional status to grass roots level democracy and by bringing some significant changes in it including reservation of seats for women. The second Administrative Reform Commission laid stress on establishment of an ombudsmen type of institution to make administration more accountable towards the people. On 15 June 2005 the parliament passed the historic Right to Information Act to make administration more accountable and transparent. Our present Prime Minister Narendra Modi also laid stress on inclusiveness, transparency and responsiveness for good governance. But the process of modernization and socio-economic changes over the past few decades have given rise to a new set of problems pertaining to public policy and administration. These are:

a) Women empowerment

b) Empowerment of socially and economically backward people.

c) Growing incidence of violence

d) Environmental security, sustainable development

e) Challenges of globalization, liberalization and market economy

f) Changes in science and technology.

Corrupt official, unnecessary delay in providing justice, mindset of the people, and

complex procedure of administration, rigidities, and complexity and over centralization of administrative system have rendered even the best of schemes ineffective. Bureaucracy is called the engine of good governance. The government implemented different welfare policies like PDS, NRHM, MGNREGA, Prime Minister’s JAN DHAN JOJONA, etc. which are very influential for good governance. But because of corruption practice among our bureaucrats our government cannot achieve success in implementation of these programmes.


  • Through open online discussions people can discuss various problems of the govt. and can give suggestions to solve it which will be beneficial for the govt. itself.
  • Social media can also help for proper functioning of good governance.
  • Fair conduct of election is also very important for good governance.
  • From the grass root level to the upper level all men and women should have a voice in the decision making so that people from all walks of life can take part in the decision-making process.
  • Requests and complaints should be responded within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Decisions should be taken and enforced in accordance with the rule.
  •  In democracy respective govt. should not try to fulfil their own party aims instead of caring the needs of the people. Therefore decisions, taken by the govt. should be made available to the public.
  • Public officials should always try to improve their performances.
  • The govt. should be ready to experiment new programmes. Officials should always try to learn for experience of others.
  • The budget should be prepared in consultations with the public. The govt. should constantly monitor the financial matter of the different departments.
  • All decision makers both individually and collectively should take responsibility for their performances.


In conclusion, good governance is the proper management of the state, society, and resources. It seeks to protect the interests of people from all classes. It emphasizes on public sector management, the legal framework for development, accountability, transparency, and free flow of information. 

When good governance is established in a state, people can easily guess it by some of its characteristics. Then characteristics of good governance like Participation, Rule of Law, Transparency, Responsiveness, Consensus Oriented, Equity and Inclusiveness, Effectiveness and Efficiency, Accountability can be easily noticed. 

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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