What is Governance ?
UNDP (The United Nations Development Programme) defines governance as “the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions, through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences”.
World Bank defines governance as “the method through which power is exercised in the management of a country’s political, economic and social resource
But of late, it has placed special emphasis on governance issues like Transparency, accountability and judicial reforms. It has started looking at issues related to good governance.
A. Distinguishing ‘governance’ from ‘government’
Governance is what a government does. The government may be of different kinds. It might be a geo-political government, a corporate government, a socio-political government etc. The dynamic exercise of management of power and policy is known as governance, while the governments act as the instrument that does it.
B. Different Aspects of term “Governance”
This term “governance” is very broad and includes all formal and informal organizations; and can be used as suffix to a wide array of processes of governing such as Public Governance, Private Governance, Global Governance, Corporate Governance, Non-Profit Governance, Project Governance, Environmental Governance, Internet Governance, Meta Governance and so on. They are discussed briefly as follows:
C. Public Governance
Public Governance is simply the interaction between government and other actors of the social sphere and the process of decision making in public policy sphere. It serves the citizens by safeguarding territorial integrity of the state, securing individual security, rule of law, and delivery of services such as education, health, livelihood and food security. There are three broad ways of public governance:
*Top to bottom methods which include various tiers of government and state bureaucracy
* The networks involving public-private partnerships (PPP) or with the collaboration of community organisations;
* The use of market mechanisms whereby market principles of competition serve to allocate resources while operating under government regulation;
D. Private governance
Private governance is when the Non-governmental / private entities make rules and standards which have a binding effect on life of public at large. This implies that in private governance, private entities make public policy. In India, examples of such mode of governance can be seen to limited extent in Special Economic Zones and Industrial townships.
E. Global governance
This refers to the complex of formal and informal institutions, mechanisms, relationships, and processes between and among nations, markets, citizens and organizations, both inter- and non-governmental, through which collective interests on the global plane are articulated, right and obligations are established, and differences are mediated”.
F. Corporate governance
This term is used to describe the manner in which corporations are governed and the laws / custom that applies to such governance. The key players in corporate governance include shareholders, management, board of directors and other stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, customers, credtors, banks and government bodies.
G. Project governance
This term is generally used in the IT sector and describes the processes that are needed for a successful project.
H. Environmental governance
Environmental governance refers to all processes of governing via various laws, norms, power or language with focus on environmental protection and sustainability. It covers all environment related laws, bodies, rules, regulations, stakeholders and public at large.
I. Internet governance
This refers to the development and application of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.
J. Electronic governance / E-Governance
E-Governance refers to application ICT for delivering government services, exchange of information, communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between government-to-customer (G2C), government-to-business (G2B); government-to-government (G2G) as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government framework
K. Information Technology governance
IT governance primarily deals with connections between business focus and IT management. The goal of clear governance is to assure the investment in IT generate business value and mitigate the risks that are associated with IT projects.
L. Participatory Governance
This refers to governance which focuses on deepening the democratic engagement through the participation of citizens in the processes of governance with the state. It emphasizes that the citizens should play more direct roles in public decision-making or at least engage more deeply with political issues. The my.gov.in platform is an example of participatory governance. It is different from “collaborative governance” which uses a relationship management structure, joint performance and transformation management processes and an exit management plan as controlling mechanisms to encourage the organizations to make ethical, proactive changes for the mutual benefit of all the parties.
Metagovernance is a normative concept referring to “governing of governing”. It represents the ethical norms which shape and steer the entire governing process.
N. Good governance
Good governance is a normative concept which describes how the public institutions ought to conduct public policy and manage public resources. It encompasses full respect of effective participation, human rights, the rule of law, multi-actor partnerships, and accountable processes, political pluralism, transparent and institutions, an efficient and effective public sector, legitimacy, access to knowledge, information and education, political empowerment of people, equity, sustainability, and attitudes and values that foster responsibility, solidarity and tolerance.