Governance as Development-A debate

 In contemporary era, it has been seen the word ‘Governance’ has always been used as a medicine to overcome from all the problems related to crisis and underdevelopment. Most of the time, it has been used as a metaphor for development. In this context, it is important to understand and identify these two concepts the ‘governance’ and ‘development’ are synonym to each other, or mutual dependent or it has no relation.

Before moving further, it is important here to conceptually define and understand the terms. On the meaning and definition of these two terms there is no unanimity. The World Bank has used the term 'governance' as means process – by which authority is conferred on rulers, by which they make the rules, and by which those rules are enforced and modified. Most of the time it has been taken as ‘effectively working of government, regulatory quality, and stability and absence of violence, maintenance of peace and friendly nature, control of corruption’. It means to fulfill and achieve the end with multiple scenarios. As Woodrow Wilson has used it as ‘the performance of agents in carrying out the wishes of principals, and not about the goals those principals set’. Furthermore, he said governance is all about execution, opposed to politics. It helps to combat poverty, unemployment and promoting sustainable development, e.g. humanitarian aid, support for building up transport, health and education institutions, support for administrative reform, combating corruption, maintaining peace and security, promoting respect of human rights and participation by civil society, trade promotion, support to enable the country to take ownership of reform programmes and budget support.

The term ‘development’ has many connotations, sometime it has been call as process sometime an economic phenomena. But in contemporary period it can be taken as; Firstly, it is process when people arise from poverty, empowering poor people, prevention of corruption, raising peoples’ living levels, i.e. incomes and consumption, levels of food, medical services, education through relevant growth processes. Secondly, it includes, the creation of conditions conducive to the growth of peoples’ self-esteem through the establishment of social, political and economic systems and institutions which promote human dignity and respect. Thirdly, the availability and access to liberty, freedom from political, social and economic perspective e.g. varieties of goods and services.
On the basis of above meaning and understanding of the term ‘Governance’ can be majorly identified with as;
1. Process of decision making
2. Utilisation of resources (Man, Money and Material)
3. Transparency, accountability and People’s Participation
4. Political Stability
5. Government Effectiveness
6. Regulatory Quality
7. Control of Corruption
8. Government effectiveness
9. Absence of Violence and Peace
10. Proper Coordination and Cooperation
11. Control of corruption
Whereas the term ‘development’ has many connotations, But it can be identified as a;
1. GNP per captia
2. Literacy Rate
3. Infant Mortality Rate
4. People per Doctor
5. Life expectancy
6. Nature of people employment
7. Human development
8. Population below income poverty line
9. Increase in literacy rate
10. Net intake ratio in primary education
11. Process of Utilisation of man, material and Money

In this regard it will be interesting to see the current situation and debate on Governance and Development. In recent days, it has been seen especially by the NDA government is more specifically using the term governance and development. Even though, the party has fought 16th Loksabha election on the issue. In this regard, it will be interesting to see and analyse the function of government on the name of Governance rather than development. Regarding this the government has taken some initiatives like the decreased the number of ministries, appointment of Judges, replacing planning commission, constitution of SIT on black money etc.

Here, it is important to understand the linkage between governance and development. Firstly, how Governance and Development is similar? Secondly, if they are not synonym does they are supportive to each other? thirdly if no! both these terms have any relationship at all.


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Written by Santosh Kumar Singh
1. Arrighi, G. and Silver, B. J.(1999), Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System, London: University of Minnesota Press.
2. Fukuyama, Francis (2013), What Is Governance?, Working Paper 314 January 2013, Centre for Global Development: Washington.
3. Prakash, A. and Hart, J. (eds) (2000), Globalization and Governance, London: Routledge.
4. Stiglitz, J. (2003),’Democratising the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank: Governance and Accountability’, Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, 16(1), 2003, 111–39.
5. Wilson, Woodrow (1887), "The Study of Administration," Political Science Quarterly 2(2) : 197-222.
6. Wolfensohn, J.(1994), Governance: the World Bank’s experience, Washington DC: World Bank.


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