By Farman Nawaz (The Frontier Post)
Governance means to minimize the political, social and economical shortcomings of a state by the proper utilization of government machinery, civil society, media and market. If the mandatory objectives are achieved successfully, it is called good governance. But normally common people define good governance as excellent performance of the administrative bodies of the state. Common people also think that these administrative bodies of the state are at the mercy of the political government. They do not understand the complexities of the system.
Good governance is such an ideal which is not possible to achieve but in search of this ideal the country starts moving ahead and the ultimate result is an increase in the collective and individual revenue. Common people judge the government is this way. But to understand good governance there must be some questions in our minds. What are the characteristics and principles of good governance? How these principles are applied? And what are the parameters to judge good governance?
Governance is a complicated process which consists of different layers. Customs, traditions, technology, history, government, private sector, civil society and media affect governance. Public participation is must for good governance. This participation can be direct or through elected members. But it is not possible to accommodate the wishes of all in legislation. Public participation means the freedom of expression and a share in development.
Impartial judiciary is the backbone for good governance. There must be rule of law in the country. Decisions should be made according to rules regulations and then implemented. The institutions must be made binding to solve the public problems within the promised timeframe. All the people of the society must feel that they are respectable citizens of the state and their opinions are valuable.
The process of transparent accountability is essentially required for maintaining good governance. Accountability does not encompass only the government but all the institutions including civil society are accountable. Along with peaceful transfer of government different geographical and linguistic groups must have representation in the legislature. Strong institutions, monitoring of administration and professional and honest bureaucracy are necessary for good governance. Besides this the tendency of making such policies that can strengthen the economy, eradication poverty, making people as pivot of investment and purposeful competition in private sector should prevail.
On international level there are different measuring tools for good governance and on the basis of this analysis the donor agencies and banks issue funds. These organizations keep an eye on the accountability process, political stability, non violence, rite of the government, powers of the government, rule of law, corruption, education, transport, taxation, people’s trust in the government, crime rate, availability of the resources, size of the bureaucracy, economic progress, research and democracy.
Good governance is the first step towards development. If two countries are having similar resources but stands at different levels of development, it is because of the difference of governance. The countries where there is corruption, reckless handling of funds, no accountability, violations of human rights and frequent martial laws will result in low growth rate. According to the World Bank report countries having good governance can decrease poverty rate by one percent if they get funds equivalent to one percent of their GDP. Good governance results in getting higher of consciousness in public. They will not psychologically tolerate lies and dishonesty and will express their concerns boldly.
Now consider those countries where there is war. Is this possible that government of such country can abide by the rules of good governance? Because they are busy in war governance. Government tenure can be prolonged by false promises and announcements but war can not be won by hollow slogans. Good governance and war both needs resources. The problem is that if resources are consumed by war so can we apply the same measuring tools to judge the governance, which were used in peace.
Before firing the first bullet the expenditure of the war is estimated. But if the war is inherited from previous government or when there is no other way out so is this possible that war and good governance can go together. The failure and success in war does not make any difference in expenses. War needs soldiers, machinery and infrastructure which can not be prepared by the short notice of the army commanders. Besides this war needs constant tactics, thinking and energy. A government busy in war can not satisfy all the needs of the people. And the people should not expect good governance in war. War affects education, health, economy, rule of law and legislation. In war neither government can perform well nor can the people pay taxes. Both sides will have to be ready for sacrifice. The problems can be solved by resources if the country is in safe hands.