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From Good Governance to Clean Governance


The World Bank and IMF were those twin agencies who for the first time talked about the basic tenets of governance like transparency, accountability, efficiency and fairness in order to check the excessive concentration of state power. The concept of good governance was aired by these agencies in order to justify there policies in which they tried to show that they are really bothered about addressing the social and economic problem faced by different countries and will stress on pursuing those policies which will help in reducing poverty and will lead to the real development of the society. But in reality the World Bank advocated the concept of good governance in which they wanted state to play an active role only for creating a conducive environment for the market to flourish and wanted the state only to function in a manner that would not intrude upon the efficient functioning of the market forces .This article tries to highlight that even after streamlining the Indian administration on the principles of good governance, governance still remains  poor as is evident from various scams like fodder scam, commonwealth scam, 2G spectrum scam etc. In this we would also like to show that privatization is not a solution to problems of governance as governance itself is an issue with in the corporate world. This article proposes a shift from good governance to clean governance and also highlight the measures to ensure clean governance in India.



          It was due to the intellectual discourse coming from the World Bank and other multilateral agencies that the concept of good governance gained prominence. It was in a particular background that the concept of good governance was aired by IMF and World Bank. Until the early nineties, the ‘Washington Consensus’ was the main influence in the discourse of multilateral agencies like World Bank.1 The main prescription of the ‘Washington Consensus’ were the policies of liberalization, privatization and globalization. It was assumed that adherence to these policies by the developing world would result in higher economic growth and reduction in poverty. It considered excessive intervention of state as a major cause of economic slow down and stressed on the liberation of markets from state regulation, in this way they supported the concept of ‘minimal state’. However in the early nineties, the ‘Washington Consensus’ and the policies of the IMF and the World Bank were criticized as it lowered the growth of world economy, aggravated the economic and social problems of many countries and increased the gap between rich and poor. Thus the fundamental principles and assumption of the IMF and World Bank policies which were based on ‘Washington Consensus” were seriously questioned. In order to respond to these criticisms the World Bank started emphasizing the importance of institutions and governance. According to them the existence of ‘weak institution’ and ‘poor governance’ were the main reasons which created hurdles in the development process. In 1998, study titled “Assessing Aid: What Works, What Does Not and Why”, the World Bank concluded that foreign and world have made a greater impact on poverty reduction if it were focused on poor countries with stronger economic institutions and policies. Now the World Bank redefined the role of the state also. It now recognizes the important role played by the state in the development process, although markets are regarded as the main engine of sustained economic growth. The state and the market are now viewed as complementary to each other rather than alternatives to each. The effective state is now regarded as vital to creating an environment that allows the markets to flourish.

            The concept of ‘Good Governance’ assumes importance against this background. The World Bank maintains that the role of good governance is vital for well-functioning market and thus for the economic performance of the country.2 Good governance as a concept aired by World Bank thereof to establish a balance between the power of the state and the markets. The World Bank had emphasized the need for the ‘Minimal State’ until the nineties. However in the post- nineties period the bank acknowledged the ‘effective state’ as essential for economic and social development.3

            On one hand the World Bank wanted an environment conclusive for market to flourish and on the other hand added a new aspect to the concept of good governance in order to reduce the state power. According to the World Bank the power of the state could be controlled and reduced by different measures like ensuring the participation of people in designing and monitoring projects and programmes, bringing more transparency to state activities and making public officials and politicians accountable to people.4 Decentralization of state power can also check an excessive concentration of power. Effective and strong institutions can limit the space for arbitrary action and restrain corruption.5 Effective instititutions call for greater separation of power among the different branches of state. An independent judiciary can ensure accountability of legislature and executive authorities. The provision of a regulatory regime can promote competition and innovation while constraining the abuse of monopoly power.6 The introduction of greater competition in different areas such as hiring and promotion, policymaking and service delivery can improve the performance of state and make it more responsive.7 The World Bank and IMF talked about the basic tenets of good governance like transparency, accountability, efficiency and fairness in order to check the excessive concentration of state power. Thus the concept of good governance came as a response to the critics of world bank policies in which they tried to show that they are really bothered about addressing the social and economic problem faced by different countries and will stress on pursuing those policies which will help in reducing poverty and will lead to the real development of the society. But in reality the World Bank advocated the concept of good governance in which they wanted state to play an active role only for creating a conducive environment for the market to flourish and wanted the state only to function in a manner that would not intrude upon the efficient functioning of the market forces. 

It was only later that the term good governance was used to represent the interest of all the groups in the society and stressed on the promotion of social cohesion, integration and well being of its population. Like UNDP views Governance as the exercise of political, economic and administrative management of public affairs. It encompasses the mechanism, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, mediate their differences and exercise their legal rights and obligations.8 The result of good governance is development that “gives priority to the poor, advances the cause of women, sustains the environment, and creates needed opportunities for employment and other livelihoods”.9 UNDP defines governance in terms of eight specific characteristics i.e. participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive, and  the rule of law.10

Though they are not new concepts, the terms “Governance” and “Good Governance” have recently come to occupy an important place in development literature, and in the concerns and considerations of major international donors. Indeed, more and more importance is attached to the notion of good governance, thus rendering bad governance as one of the worst possible features of society and a major cause of its problems and dysfunctions. Good governance often refers to the task of running the government in an effective manner. It is qualitatively and conceptually superior to a mere good government. The concept of governance and government do not have the same meaning. Government often denotes the formal legal institution of the state, capturing the site and dominance of formal political authority and leadership structures. By contrast governance is much broader and more useful concept that includes the exercise of political authority and control over society and how that affects the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development. Governance brings on board all development actors and lays emphasis on shared responsibility in ensuring human development. From this perspective, governance entails the institutional capacity of public organizations (not limited to government) to furnish public and other goods to the citizens in an effective, transparent, impartial and accountable manner. Thus the issues of economic and political governance are inseparable and together they underpin sustainable development.11

The right to a legitimate and accountable government, promotion of a society where the rule of law and fundamental human rights are respected, ensuring a socially and economically equitable society that is inclusive in nature are inherent to the concept of good governance. Good governance depends on various factors. A government, in discharge of its sovereign functions, has to discharge many constitutional obligations and in discharge of these obligations it should be capable of enabling, enhancing and developing the power of the state for sustainable development. It is essentially a package to strengthen the institutions of government and civil society with the objective of making governments more accountable, open and transparent as well and democratic and participatory.12

For good governance, there should be a government which is stable and truly representative and which accelerates the economic growth and development and ensures the welfare of all sections of the society. In this, the fact that transparency is also an important attribute of good governance must not be forgotten. Openness and opportunity for public participation have emerged as a universal principle of good governance.13 The interested group should be provided with opportunities to observe and contribute in the policy-making of the state where availability of relevant information would give them a chance to advance their ideas in the policy making process.

            The traditional concept of governance simply implied an exercise of control by a body of persons elected or brought into power by force, to rule and to reign over their subjects in whatever way they like, in total disregard of their own obligations. However, with the passage of time and the consciousness and growth of democratic atmosphere throughout the world, it began to be realized that the people are not merely the subjects but they have their legal rights and their sovereigns have their corresponding obligations towards them for securing and promoting their welfare, social, economic and political. The perception came to be realized that the people have their own rights, sometimes called as inalienable natural rights, and that they were entitled to be governed consistent with these rights.

            After the Second World War a large number of nations throughout the world achieved their own freedom from colonial domination and after their emancipation, political structures were created providing for the institutions of their self-governance. Constitutions were famed by their own people and in a vast majority of cases they provided for a democratic model of governance to elect the government of their choice through exercise of their electoral rights. They also incorporated specifically certain inalienable human rights. The fundamental concept started gaining ground that mere governance was not enough but in every country, the need was for providing equality governance, i.e. good governance, which took into account not only the social, political and economic rights of the people but the establishment of the social order as well as in which social, economic and political justice would pervade through various institutions of the national life and inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities among the people would be eliminate and the economic system would secure maximum common good by substantially just distribution of material resources of the country so as to ensure benefit to all concerned in the society. Thus the mandate of the welfare of the people of a nation was enthused into various political institutions.

            Gradually, certain principles were evolved which expected to ensure for good governance. Transparency of the government became the code word through which its accountability was liable to be tested. Another great feature of good governance which gained prominence was participation of the people in running the government at various levels including grass-root level. It was rightly stressed that unless democratic principles had the basic foundation at the lowest village level, their functioning at a particular higher level might not ensure full welfare benefits to the people.

            A genuine and moral political structure requires not merely an absolute authority to enact laws but it must have political legitimacy. Thus the political institutions should not merely be constituted in accordance with the provision of formal law but the basic element must be that of creation of effective and informed political institutions.13 An ideal system of participatory democracy has to be developed by providing public platforms, where informed persons from various fields could air their views of public importance in order to create healthy public opinion. Such dialogue between different groups should form the basis of any democratic society. Apart from this the civil servants should also become responsive to societal requirements. Thus participation, transparency, legitimacy and responsiveness are the pillars of governance.





UNDP human Development Report 2002 elaborates the concept of ‘Democratic Governance’.14 Like the concept of Good Governance, Democratic Governance seeks efficient institutions, and a predictable economic and political environment necessary for economic growth and effective functioning of public services. But the concept of democratic governance concerns political freedom and human rights, and removal of discrimination as central objectives. A reform agenda would aim at building institutions and rules that are not just efficient but also fair, and that are developed through democratic process in which all people have a real political voice. Democratic Governance thus incorporates into the notion of good governance for development, democratic processes and institutions, and a concern with the securing of political and civil rights and freedom as human rights.15

Democratic Governance embodies most fundamental of democratic principles: that people should rule themselves through the government they freely choose. In countries where human development is a priority, governance has to be democratized for development outcomes to be sustained. This means that Democratic Governance incorporates into the notion of good governance, democratic principles, norms and institutions. Democratic Governance seeks in common with good governance, efficient institutions and a predictable economic and political environment that makes economic growth possible and public service effective. However moving beyond economic growth the human development requires political participation and economic freedom backed by a broader human right platform.16

Democratic Governance differs from the concept of good governance in recognizing that political and civil freedom and participation have basic value as developmental ends in themselves and not just means of achieving socio-economic progress. Democratic Governance is built on the concept of human development in its full sense of the term, which is about expanding capacities people have, to be free and able to lead lives that they would choose to. The capability to be free from threats of violence and to be able to speak freely is as important as being literate for full life. While the range of capabilities that people have is huge and almost infinite, several key capabilities are fundamental in human life and are universally valued, not only those in the socio-economic sphere such as health and survival, education and access to knowledge, minimum material means for a decent standard of living, but those in the political sphere such as security from violence, and political freedom and participation. Indeed, these are core values of human well being. Democratic Governance as a concept wants the political regime to guarantee civil and political freedom and also ensure participation of people and accountability of decision makers.

UNDP, human development report 2002 has elaborated different features of democratic governance. Firstly, democratic governance means that people human rights and fundamental freedom are respected allowing them to live with dignity. Secondly, the people can have say in decisions that affects their lives and they should have power to hold decision makers accountable. Thirdly, it stresses on inclusive and fair rules, institutions and practices which govern social interaction. Fourthly the concept talks of treating women as equal partners with men in private and public spheres of life and decision-making. Fifthly, it wants people to be free from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, class and gender. Sixthly, it wants economic and social policies to be responsive to people needs and aspirations and also that policies should respect the needs of future generation. Lastly it talks about economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty and expanding the choices that all people have in their lives.17 In India the concept of good governance and democratic governance was applied through the passing of RTI act, 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment.




Decentralization has assumed a central role in matters of governance. In the process of democratization of governing structure and to involve people in the process of governance and decision making most of the developing countries around the world are carrying out measures to decentralize governance. The major promise of democratic decentralization is that it brings popular participation and accountability to local governance and therefore makes local governance more responsive to citizen’s desires. The commitment toward popular participation in governance at the local level has been reinforced through recent policies of affirmative action through which an opportunity has been given to the marginalized and disadvantaged groups to express their voice and have a say in the making of the policies that affect them. The 73rd constitutional amendment act 1993 opened a new chapter in the history of democratic decentralization in India by devolving power to the people and giving constitutional status to panchayati raj institutions. The increased importance of participation in the panchayats through policies of affirmative action has necessarily increased the number of SCs, STs and women in the rural political institutions.18

Participation has been acknowledged as a central theme of democratic governance. Of late, scholars have disagreed with the Schumpeterian notion of public participation as it undermines public involvement and minimizes people’s role in decision-making process. Schumpeterian notion of public participation speaks only of the citizen’s role in electing representatives whereas critics believe that such restrictive participation has resulted in the establishment of institutions and processes that tend to discourage citizen’s participation.19 Citizen’s participation in recent years has been greatly valued and democratic countries around the world are making efforts to broaden the scope of participation beyond citizen’s electoral responsibilities. It is now widely believes that participation helps in establishing legitimacy and it is through this mechanism of participation the people can hold public officials accountable. The passing of 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment has become a mean for ensuring effective governance since the twin aim of decentralization i.e. deepening democracy and good governance can be achieved with active participation of the people.

With the passing of 73rd and 74th amendment the structure of governance has changed permanently from a two-tier to a three-tier system of governance with union, state and panchayats as the three tiers of governance. However, it is one thing to pass a law but quite another to make it work. The functioning of the third tier of government crucially depends on the devolution of resources, transfer of subjects and the passing down of administrative control over civil servants. After the constitutional amendment, states too have met their legal obligation by passing conformity legislations. Even though the law has been passed empowering panchayats for local development but capacity building of elected representatives is poorly addressed. There is a great need for capacity building in accounts, budgeting, and monitoring so that the representatives can know how the work is supposed to be done, were from the resources need to be arranged in a situation of hard budget constrains.20

The level of participation of the representatives can be assessed from activities like there attendance in regular panchayat meetings, participation in setting the agenda, involvement in identifying issues and problems of the constituencies, raising these matters in panchayats meetings, participation in discussing and involvement in decisions on planning, budgeting, development projects etc.21 Even after legal empowerment the real empowerment has not happened due to which governance still remains poor in villages. The main reason for poor governance is low participation of elected representatives in regular gram panchayat meetings. Most of the representatives belonging to SC’s, STs and women did not attend monthly gram panchayat meetings and wherever meetings are held they are basically upper class male-dominated. In most of the villages proxy meetings are held and even the proceedings recorded are not in the knowledge of those who on paper attended the meetings. The capacity to raise issues in the panchayat meetings is very low among members belonging to scheduled castes, scheduled tribe and women. Elected members coming from the disadvantaged groups in majority of cases did not raise the problem related to their community. Active participation which means initiating and being involved in discussion in meetings was found to be very rare in the case of representatives belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.22

The basic rationale with which the institutions of local governance were established was that they would bring government closer to people, so that people from all walks of life could participate in politics. Democratic local governance as a concept wanted to ensure that citizens local interest to be secured by there active participation in political process. Looking at the prevailing situation in India one can say that affirmative action in decentralization has not been successful in ensuring proper and effective representation of the disadvantaged groups. In order to strengthen governance in rural areas local development capacity building programmes should be organized for elected representatives. When the elected representatives are trained then they will understand the law well and try to take up governance in their local areas. Even making the elected members understand the law well through training programmme will not solve the problem of governance until they are taught how to deal wit the official who still will be creating hurdles in the implementation of decisions taken by them in the name of rules and procedures. Thus in order to address this problem the panchayat members and the related line department officials should attend the training sessions for the elected members.23

The onus of good and clean governance rests both on bureaucracy as with civil society. Very often bureaucracy feels threatened by decentralization process for the fear of losing power to the panchayati raj institutions. Bureaucracy should suo moto draw up a model of rural governance which is in the interest of society at large.24 A series of seminars and workshops should be organized where discussants could be from bureaucracy, scholars, NGO’s and the representatives of the rural bodies. The SIRDs (State Institute of Rural Development) which are autonomous institutions for training at the state building for functionaries, panchayat members, and women elected members. SIRDs could develop core competencies and consequently create confidence among panchayat members to demand devolution of power.25 If panchayati raj institutions have to fulfill its foundational tenant of empowering the community then they need to transform themselves from being a constitutionally created institution from above to community institution which attains certain legitimacy with the support and participation from a large section of population.


Right to Information

In democratic state, each government official is accountable to the citizens. In Indian democracy, however, we have a convoluted system of accountability, which is not only very little understood but is almost impossible to put to use. This system of accountability has rendered all government servants completely unaccountable to the public but accountable only to their bureaucratic or political bosses, whoexert a corrupting influence on them. Right to information is an important tool in such a democratic setup to fill this gap and to make the official’s directly accountable to the citizens.

Right to information is a basic requisite of good governance. It is perceived as a key to strengthen participatory democracy and ushering in people-centered governance. With access to information on their side, people can function better as an informed and responsible citizenry - investigating and scrutinizing government actions and reviewing the performance of their elected representatives with a view to seriously holding them accountable. The world over, access laws have been used to monitor and oversee the functioning of the Member of Parliaments and Governments officials. People can access information on how officials are delivering on their commitments, how the bureaucracy is spending public money and how representatives are interacting with special interest groups. Without good governance, no amount of developmental schemes can bring in improvement in the quality of life of the citizen.26 Good governance has three main elements- transparency, accountability and participation. Thus Right to information helps in making system transparent, accountable and promotes participatory development.

The right to Information act promulgated countrywide on October 13, 2005 is a significant milestone in the journey of Indian democracy. The passing of this act was an effort by the government to make democratic governance participative in real sense. Right to information as a concept stresses on participatory decision making were by individuals are supposed to actively participate in decision making process.27 But in India even after the enactment of the RTI act real participation of certain sections of society is denied due to their social marginalization. Socially marginalized groups like women, dalits, advises, apart from suffering poverty, are actually denied access to public spaces due to the social mores of their particular contexts, even if they happen to be literate. As a result, their ability to use the RTI is severely compromised.28 This requires expanding the vision of RTI related activism to include social change processes and internal democracy and information sharing within people’s movements and organizations without which citizenship of a democratic state is impossible to actualize. The RTI movement in the country needs to deepen its understanding and activities by giving special consideration to these groups. The question of local, easy to understand language in which information is provided is inherent to the issue of access.

A critical omission is the exclusion of private bodies like Corporations, Companies, etc. from the purview of the Bill. Given increasing privatization and cases of violations of environmental laws, community and human rights violations, these bodies must be made transparent and accountable to the citizens of the country. The accountability of private bodies, whether corporations or media organizations to the citizens of the country cannot be ignored.29 One of the essential prerequisite features of right to information is that itshould have minimal exemptions but in India both judiciary and army wants to avail this exceptions.

In view of increasing emphasis on privatization as well as the impunity with which powerful international and national corporations violate rights of the people, this becomes extremely important. The increasingly profit driven nature of media organizations aligns them with the elite, rather than the marginalized, colouring the information they provide.30 Similarly, many NGOs, through misguided market- and profit-oriented or communal ideologies, end up hurting the interests of the poor and the marginalized and need to be held accountable. A comprehensive RTI legislation has to bring private bodies within its purview; else it will remain severely handicapped.

A good RTI legislation needs to ensure that information is provided by the government in a timely manner in order for it to be effectively used. In order to achieve this penalty clause was introduced in the act. But since no penalties are being imposed on the officials, timely delivery of information is not happening due to which people have started loosing faith in RTI.RTI activist’s also alleged that non-imposition of penalty has increased the work load of the commission.31

Although right to information is recognized as a necessary condition to improve governance but up till now it is not sufficient enough to achieve this as lot more need to be done to usher accountability in governance like including protection of whistle blowers. Protection of whistle blowers is an essential element in the concept of right to information because in the absence of this protection it will be extremely difficult for the insiders to highlight the corrupt practices going on in the organization.32 without "Whistle Blowers Protection Act", the Right to Information Act by itself will not serve a very effective purpose, the reason being that if a citizen gets information and he uses the information for promoting and protecting public interest, he continuously runs the risk of being assaulted, harassed, blackmailed, maligned, and equal risk also applies to the members of his family, including kidnap and murder, for that matter. Therefore, if such a law is not passed by India, then to that extent this will remain incomplete and inadequate.

One of the main reasons for the introduction of RTI ACT was that it will help the citizens in making informed choices and ensure accountability in the system by seeking information from the administration but due to lack of proper awareness among the citizens regarding the use of this act the purpose remains defeated. Section 26 of the Act states that the appropriate Government may develop and organize educational programmes to advance the understanding of the public, especially disadvantaged communities, regarding how to exercise the rights contemplated under the Act. However, as per the survey carried out by PriceWaterHouseCoppers it was revealed that only 15% of the respondents were aware of the RTI Act.33 It is also important to highlight that the quality of RTIawareness in common public is significantly low.  

Non-availability of basic Infrastructure is also acting as the biggest hurdle in the implementation of RTI Act. The Implementation of RTI requires the PIOs to provide information to the applicant through photocopies, soft copies etc. While these facilities are considered to be easily available at a district level, it is a challenge to get information from Block/ Panchayat level. PIOs highlight that the lack of infrastructure hampers the RTI implementation at the PA level.34 Another negative feature noticed in the implementation of Indian RTI Act is high level of pendency. The pendency at the Information Commission is a huge challenge. Unless and until the pendency is kept at manageable level, the objective of the Act would not be met. High pendency of appeals is due to non optimal processes for disposing off appeals and complaints.35

 Information is not just to be passively received by citizens but the State must actively seek information from the people in order to function effectively in their interests. Apart from ensuring systems wherein people’s experiences influence state activities the RTI must ensure that there is space for expanding and/or altering the practice of governance and access to justice based on people’s experience. The law cannot be conceived of as complete when formulated as such, and must be seen as continually evolving though insights from implementation efforts and the struggles of the citizens in accessing our rights.

Law on access is essential, but it is not enough. By itself, legislation will do little to transform a closed, secret, elitist governance environment into an open democracy. Strong bureaucratic resistance, inconsistent legislative frameworks, process and systems constraints and lack of understanding of the law by the bureaucracy and the public all create hurdles on the road from secrecy to openness. Change happens only when there is unequivocal political commitment to tearing down all barriers to access and well-crafted and deliberate strategies are developed that support each element of a new access regime36. Upholding transparency, accountability and participation requires governments to break bureaucratic resistance and generate political will; create a culture of the right to information; remove restrictive laws from the books; enact supporting legislation; and evolve an effective monitoring system to remove existing flaws.



Clean governance as a concept stressed the promotion of honesty and uprightness among the public, especially government officials. According to suggestions on clean governance it is imperative to foster and carry forward the merit of honesty and uprightness, and officials should have the awareness of using power justly and pursue clean-fingered work style. Clean governance also urged to strengthen education on the public about the value of honesty and cleanness combining social morality, professional ethics, family virtues and personal moral character. It is stressed that anti-corruption should be a subject that is reflected in literature works, films and TV dramas, as well as newspapers and magazines, books, and electronic products.

Clean governance talks of corrupt-free governance and pledges to act quickly and decisively against public officials convicted of corruption. It talks of upholding the highest levels of integrity, rising above their private lives in the execution of their duties. Not accepting material or financial gain arising from their public positions beyond the official remuneration which they receive in their capacity and Offering their immediate resignation from public office should they fail the public in this undertaking. Encourage a whistle-blowing culture, by civil servants, the Public and the private sector, which acts as a watch dog and a deterrent; and strengthen the protection of individuals who provide information on corruption.

Even after streamlining the Indian administration on the principles of good governance, governance still remains poor as is evident from various scams happening in our country like Satyam Scam, Commonwealth Scam, 2G Spectrum Scam etc. it was generally believed that with privatization, with opening up the economy of liberalization the problem of governance will be solved. But this assumption shattered with Satyam Scam in which Ramalinga Raju, the former chairman of the Satyam Computer Services, India’s fourth largest information technology company stated that he has manipulated accounts to inflate revenues and profits. The result was a collapse in the value of the company’s stock and dissolution of its board. Raju’s confession essentially stated that having doctored the firm accounts for many years, he was left with highly overstated cash reserves and understated liabilities that amounted to the shortfall of more than Rs 7000 crores in the company balance sheet. This revelation led to the loss of stakeholder’s money and also many people lost their jobs in this whole scandal. With no fault of either stake holders of people who are employed in this firm were made to suffer for the thing done by the management. No one is able to understand that how this high profile company has reported consistently strong revenue growth, export expansion and profitability. It is also surprising to know that this firm was given several special tax benefits by the state. One also fails to understand why conventional monitoring and disciplinary mechanism failed in this case, permitting accounting frauds over a long period.37 Satyam scam showed the weakness of the institutional and regulatory environment prevailing in India. This scam also made us realize that it is not that accountability and transparency should only be ensured in public sector but private sector should also be made accountable and transparent as they are also proving services to the people and public money is also invested in this sector.

Another recent scam in the row is that of 2G spectrum. In this scandal CAG has contended tht department of telecommunication by under pricing second generation 2G spectrum and by allowing companies to use two competing technologies- the global system of mobile (GSM) communications and the code division multiple access (CDMA) technology- with the same license . It also question the DOT decision of allocating more spectrum to companies than what there license specified. It is also alleged that Raja deliberately ignored recommendations to ensure a transparent and fair system of spectrum. Raja was not alone who was involved in such a scam as earlier to him in August 1996 the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) registered a FIR against former telecommunication minister Sukh Ram after recovering Rs. 3.62 crores from his residence. Thirteen years later in 2009 he was sentenced for three years of rigorous imprisonment. Another minister for communications, the late Pramod Mahajan was also accused of assisting Reliance Infocomm to become a nation wide operator offering full mobility in its cellular phone operation without paying the full license fee. This decision of the department of telecommunication was against the wishes of
TRIA and resulted in the loss to the exchequer that was in the region of Rs. 1,100 crore.38 In other words 2G spectrums is not the only one scandal but is one in the series of scandals happening in telecom sector.





In a democratic setup citizens expect speedy and transparent delivery of public services. The public services are delivered to the citizens through ministries, departments, agencies and bodies. The delivery of services and information can also be made available through information technology, portals and web-sites. E-governance can act as a great tool to enhance transparency and accountability and in turn promotes clean governance. The use and spread of e-governance helps to reduce of brokers, middlemen and public officials to extract payment in return for delivery of services. The information and access to delivery of public services is usually complicated and cumbersome due to multiplicity of agencies, complicated procedures, red-tapism, untoward attitude and behavior of civil servants. E-governance is the delivery of government services and information to the public by using electronic means. Most of the government particularly local governments have already launched on-line information and monitoring system for delivery of services like issue of certificates, license, payment of bills for telephone, electricity, water supply etc. the delivery of public service is improved through the information technology and e-governance since it lead to less time in completing transactions. It also enhances accountability, responsiveness and transparency in the delivery of services and also checks corruption.

            E-governance as a concept broadly focuses on three main areas. Firstly, from governance point of view it enhances transparency and encourages democratic values. Secondly, it tries to make public services efficient, cost effective and responsive to citizens and business. Thirdly, it ensures simplicity, efficiency and accountability in managing voluminous information and data effectively.39 E-governance is more than streamlining processes and improving services. It is about transforming government in such a way that citizens can actively participate in democracy. The toughest task before the government is to create an environment where e-governance solutions can be effectively developed, designed and implemented.

Most scandals can be averted if e-governance is properly put in place because scandals happen where transparency is missing. The major areas of corruption and scams in public sector are commission paid for contracts, kickback in construction of work, official discretion etc. if e-governance is properly put in place then the major factors leading to scams can be controlled. There are few success stories of e-governance in India. First success story is that of ‘Bhoomi’ project in Karnataka. This project provided computerized record of right tenancy and crops needed by farmers to obtain bank loans, settle land disputes etc. Bhoomi provided faster and easy accessibility of records.40 One very peculiar feature of this project was that the information provided was in regional language which allowed citizens to participate in it effectively.41 Second success story is of ‘CARD’ in Andhra Pradesh. This project aimed at the complete computerization of the land registration process in Andhra Pradesh . Within a short span of three years nearly ninty percent of registration transactions performed were electronically done in Andra Pradesh. 42Third is the ‘Gyandoot’ project in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It provided information on mandi rates on-line. Apart of this public grievances redressal issue of caste and income certificate were also done online. This project benefited the farmer a lot as it provided them the appropriate price for their crop. It drastically minimized the role of mediators and the farmers through this can directly access various types of forms and land records. In this project the villagers can also participate in decision-making of various functional bodies for their welfare by effective grievance redressal.43 Fourth project is of ‘Vahan’ and ‘Sarathi’ introduced in Tamil Nadu. ‘Vahan’ is for processing all transactions related to vehicles and ‘sarathi’ is for processing driving license and related activity. The key benefit of these projects were the online availability of complete vehicle information, monitoring of sale-purchase of the vehicle, transfer of vehicle, address modification etc. becoming very fast an easy through this.44 These success stories of e-governance in India make us realize the enormous scope of e-governance in India. Through the introduction of e-governance the corruption can be minimized and the delivery of services can be made faster and efficient. E-governance in India can be justified on the grounds that it costs less, reduce waste, promotes transparency, eliminates corruption, generates possibilities to resolve rural poverty and inequality and guarantee a better future to the citizens.

Although e-governance is a great tool which can be use to ensure transparency and establish clean governance in the county but still there are many challenge before it. The firs major challenge in the establishment of e-governance in India is the poor accessibility of internet. Even in those state where internet is available it is too expensive for a average India to afford it. The second hurdle is that of technical illiteracy. In India the technical literacy of masses is very poor due to which facilities even if provided by the government will be of no use. The third challenge is the dominance of single language i.e. English on internet due to which non English speaking population find it difficult to access internet sources. Fourthly lack of awareness among the general masses regarding the use of e-governance and also lack of necessary infrastructure like electricity, internet etc delays the implementation of e-governance.45 Once all these challenges are addressed by the state e-governance will emerge as a key to good and clean governance in India.

Financial supremacy of the legislature is the cornerstone of parliamentary democracy. If this principle of parliamentary democracy is strictly followed then the misuse of funds leading to different scams can be checked which in turn will lead to the establishment of corruption free, cleanly governed society. In most of the states what is actually happening is that states tend to overspent without the approval of the legislature. According to the provisions of the constitution if the government requires additional funds then they must approach the legislature with supplementary budget stating the reasons why the amount provided in the original budget was found insufficient during that financial year. In this case the supplementary budget must be passed during the financial year itself and before the expenditure is incurred. If despite all this, the government ends up overspending then it must approach the legislature for obtaining what is called excess grants. The basic objective of all these provisions is to make the executive accountable and to secure that no amount of expenditure is spent without the approval of legislature. This excellent system of ensuring accountability is being highly undermined because of overspending by the state governments and their failure to seek post facto authorization. According to a report of the CAG, timely investigation into and follow up action on cases of excess expenditure of the animal husbandry department that occurred and were reported year after year might have prevented the continuance of what is popularly known as the fodder scam in Bihar.46 Clean governance within the government can be ensured if the provisions within the constitution to ensure accountability are judiciously followed.

            In order to ensure clean governance the right of honest people like Satender Dubey need to be protected who tried to highlight the corrupt practices within the public sector. Right of the whistle blowers should be protected.S.K.Dubey 30 year old engineer posted at Koderma to supervise the construction of the180-km highway under the NHAI’s “Golden Quadrilateral” project. he detects a number of mal practices in the highways construction project and tried to approach his senior organizational officials but did not get the desired response. On 11, November, 2002 Dubey, writes to the Prime Minister of India highlighting several instances of ‘‘loot of public money’’ and ‘‘poor implementation.’’ He requests anonymity but fearing his complaint may not be disregarded lightly he gives his full identity in his complaint.But tragically the confidentiality of Dubey’s letter and the identity of the ‘whistle blower’ were both violated as Dubey’s letter was passed down from file to file through the bureaucratic maze. In the early hours of 27 November 2003, S.K. Dubey is shot and killed by unidentified assailants.47 Thus in order to ensure safety to those honest officials who wanted to expose corrupt practices with in the government proper laws like whistle blower acts need to be put in place.

Performance audit in India was accepted and promoted in India in order to ensure public accountability and as an aid for good governance. Performance audit is an independent assessment of the performance of an organization, program, project or an activity in terms of its goals and objectives i.e. how far the expected results have been achieved from the use of available resources. It examines the government spending from the point of view of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Performance auditing is important for making informed choices and prioritizing resources. Despite the system of performance audit in place, governance in India remains poor this is because the people have lost faith and trust in the system and by and large all people think of government as an exploitative agency. This perception about government developed because of lack of effective mechanism to ensure accountability in the system. Even after the revelations of different scams no one involved in the scams have been put behind bars. Now if the state wants to regain the lost trust the government need to ensure transparency in its working like disclosing the premises on which the policy decisions were made, the way contracts were given and executed. The performance audit system in India is not as effective as it should be because even after CAG highlighting irregular use of money by different departments in his reports no action is been taken against the concerned officials in the department.48 It is due to this only various scams such as fodder scam, 2G spectrum scams are happening in out country. Accountability in public sector can be ensure through performance audit if CAG is given authority to hold an independent inquiry in cases leading to loss of money to the exchequer due to fraud, mistake, negligence or unauthorized use of resources.



Clean governance as a concept should not be confined to public sector but should also encompass private sector as in this age of liberalization where the role of private sector is increasing it is the duty of the government to ensure transparency and accountability. For clean governance it is the duty of the government to ensure corporate governance because it is only through this government can establish its legitimacy and prove to the masses that government is not merely cutting back on welfare spending but is also developing an effective corporate structure where the interest of the masses will be secured. Liberalization marked by deregulation, privatization has also made corporate governance more crucial as in the absence of it the possibility of scams, frauds and market manipulation increases which ultimately leads to low investor confidence. In such a situation independent and effective corporate governance institutions becomes necessary to restore the credibility of capital market to facilitate the flow of investment finance to firms. Corporate governance in India is important as it only can ensure that investors other than promoters receive a fair return on their investment by protecting them against management expropriation or the use of the investment capital to finance poor project and it is only through this stake holders interest can be secured.49

            Corporate governance stresses on investment process, effective property protection and secure method of ownership registration. It also stresses on reliable and transparent disclosure of allocated available funds. By demanding transparency in corporate transaction, in accounting and auditing procedure and in all business transactions, corporate governance has attacked the supply side of the corruption relationship. It also stresses on transparency on the procedures for corporate decision-making, the distribution of authority among the company organs and the design of incentive scheme. Through all these means corporate governance tries to ensure effective monitoring of capital that is handed over to the firm.

            Looking at Indian private sector functioning from governance point of view one realizes that level of disclosure made by firms is very poor, accounting standards are weak and corporate structure are low in transparency. The greatest drawback in Indian private firms is their financial disclosures in which detailed reporting in related party transaction is absent. At the level of balance sheet, there is no requirement to report which investment and loans made by the corporations are to subsidiaries and associated companies. Indian financial statements give enough information for analysts to reconstruct the picture of a group of companies as a business group does not disclose related party transaction or transactions with affiliated companies.50 It is due to this lacuna scams like Satyam happen in our country.

            In India the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is an independent, quasi-judicial, regulatory body, regulates the stock exchanges.Despite incorporating several positive features and raising the standards in the company law, and at the level of securities market and the regulatory authority, their implementation has proven to be challenging. This is partly because SEBI has insufficient powers to police violations of regulations. Although stock exchanges in India have responsibility for surveillance, they do not have the authority to take punitive action against errant companies. Indian regulatory structure is segmented where the authority and responsibility for surveillance and enforcement is divided among various entities, leading to a mismatch between the level of authority and responsibility. India’s corporate governance environment is characterized by a lack of an infrastructure relating to the surveillance and enforcement mechanisms and the court system.51

 A major difference between the government and the corporate sector must be noted. Government at various levels is accountable to people. Its functioning comes up for scrutiny in parliament, state legislatures, zilla parishads, municipal councils and their committees as also in the media. The government is also held accountable by courts. This level of accountability and transparency is absent so far as corporate sector is concerned. While each share holder is an owner of the company, it is only in name. Most shareholders do not hold shares of a company on a long-term basis. Their aim is to obtain capital appreciation and then exit for greener pastures. Thus, in a large number of cases, shareholders are investors than owners. As a result, shareholders hardly ever pay close attention to the functioning of the companies. Often, shareholders prefer to off-load the shares of a company doing badly, rather than ask questions at the general body meetings.52 In a sense, this is the most effective weapon for ensuring good corporate behaviour, but in all such cases, the employees, small investor and a host of other businesses which are dependent on them are the loser.

Shareholder activism in India is practically non-existent.53 In India greater activism by the shareholders and the other stakeholders will alone bring about better corporate governance. The stake holders should demand more transparency and timely disclosures for better and clean governance. The government should also make it mandatory for the corporate houses to create their websites through which the data can be easily passed on to the shareholders. There is no reason why the Indian investors and the shareholders be denied the same level of transparency which are acceded to by Indian companies while flouting American Depository Receipt.54

            In order to ensure transparency, accountability and integrity in the working of Indian corporate sector strong regulatory regime need to be put in place. Although few regulatory institutions are established in order to ensure sound governance but still there is wide gap between what they should do and what have they done. The success of the reform process will depend on how the political executive moves to reduce this gap between expectation and reality. What is missing today is the requisite political will to put the regulatory institutions on a professionally sound footing. Different vested interests would strive hard to capture the regulatory institutions through political affiliations, if not openly. The UTI saga gives an illuminating insight into how, for nearly a decade, the political-corporate nexus in the management of funds had obstructed reform of the institution.55 Thus in order to ensure clean governance proper regulatory regime needs to be put in place and the functioning of these regulatory regimes should also be made transparent.



Although 73rd amendment and RTI act as a significant tool to ensure participation in democratic governance and make the bureaucrats accountable but in reality even these measure were not able to improve the governance standards in our country. It was hoped that RTI will lead to better governance as official and elected representatives from now onward will not be in a position to hide their poor performance but due to lack of proper monitoring system the data or information in most of the department still exists in raw format which has defeated the whole propose of the act. Apart of this Right to Information and Information Commission are only facilitators who can assist you in getting information but they under the law have no power to initiate an inquiry on there own. It was also believed that privatization will solve the problem of governance as it is free from corruption and principles of management are strictly followed. But the exposure of different scam in corporate world and the loss of investor’s confidence in the functioning of corporate houses have also broken down this myth. Replacing a public monopolistic system with a private monopoly will not lead to better delivery of services or a reduction of incidence of corruption. What is actually required to combat corruption is to have a regulatory and monitoring regime which can ensure transparency and accountability in the functioning of private as well as public units.

Good governance as a concept should be supplemented with clean governance and it should encompass all the sections of the society such as the government, the media, the private sector, the corporate sector, the cooperatives and the non government organizations. Corruption free, transparent regime marked by public accountability is the hallmarks of the clean governance. It is only when all the sections of the society conduct their affairs in a socially responsible manner that the objectives of achieving larger good of the largest section of the society can be achieved. In order to ensure clean governance the right of honest people like S.K Dubey need to be protected who tried to highlight the corrupt practices within the public sector. Right of the whistle blowers should be protected.

It has been recognized world wide that free markets are not free for all markets. The government needs to create a regulatory regime so that the interest of the masses can be secured. Public accountability and transparency are as important for the corporate sector as for any other sector of the economy. The Indian corporate sector has escaped this responsibility for too long a time. Thus in order to avoid various scams, frauds and criminal conducts of large corporate houses the government need to ensure corporate governance so that these corporate house become accountable to their shareholders in particular and society at large.

With liberalization, India’s equity market and corporate sector structures have developed in capacities similar to other emerging markets. Even after developing such structures the quality of governance in corporate sector remains poor. One is unable to understand why Indian firms or corporate houses when exposed to international markets have adopted international corporate governance standards but when it comes to applying the same principles in India they show their reluctance. This gap within India exist because of the failure of the regulatory regimes to ensure timely disclosure and transparency by the corporate houses

In order to combat corruption in administration procedures should be simplified. Simplified forms and procedures reduce dependence of the users on middlemen and touts

 It also facilitates the government-citizen interface and reduces the potential for corruption.  Technology should be used for the delivery of public services. Use of technology will eventually reduce the need for citizens to visit public offices and government departments. Different departments should use various technology enabled features like Toll free lines, websites offering free download of information and tender bid forms etc. Each and every department need to have faster grievance redressal mechanisms. It should be made mandatory for each department to have an online grievance redressal wed site which will simultaneously be monitored by a regulatory agency to see to it how far the grievances of people are addressed.

Government should also start various official networking sites where citizens can directly post their grievances. Anti-corruption authorities should utilize the public's online comments and postings in the country's ongoing attempt to fight corruption. Channels should be expanded to solicit public opinions and efforts be made to give full play to the positive role that the Internet has had in the fight against corruption. Online supervision plays a sharp role in exposing corrupt officials. Meanwhile, it warns others and is vital in setting a proper tone for public opinion It is natural that people reporting will feel afraid especially when they are reporting the ones who have a lot of power, but the government need to address this issues as to better protect informers. Adopting online reporting can largely curb corruption. Proper training should also be imparted to the students regarding governance so that a culture of governance can develop with in our country. Governance as a concept need to include in the curriculum so that the students from the very beginning know about their rights and how ICTs can be used to ensure transparency and accountability in the system.

In India there is an urgent need for the use of ICTs by the civil society to elevate the socio-economic position of the masses. Given the weakened capabilities of the state in this age of liberalization and the penetration of market forces in the realm of socio-economic space, it becomes imperative that the voice of poor and marginalized are heard In such a situation civil society initiatives can take advantage of the power of ICTs to compel the state to fulfill its obligations to its citizens.  ICTs should also be used to ensure transparency in private sector. Through ICT the corporate houses after verifying, validating and disseminating the information should pass the same information to shareholders, industry regulators and other information stakeholders. Through such measures the corporate houses can regain the trust of the investors which they have lost after the occurrence of various scams. Thus ICT should be used as a tool to manage governance in the government as well as in the corporate sector. Now it is the duty of the civil society including every citizen and every stakeholder to use this information for ensuring transparency in the system.





  1. IBRD, Balancing the Development Agenda: The Transformation of the World Bank under James. D. Wolfensohn 1995-2005, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development(IBRD),Washington,2005,P.14.
  2. World Bank, World Development Report 2002: Building Institutions for Market, World Bank and Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, pp.99-101.
  3. World Bank, World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World, World Bank and Oxford University Press, New York, 1997, p.1.
  4. World Bank, World Development Report 2000-2001: Attacking Poverty, World Bank and Oxford University Press, New York, 2001, pp.99-115.
  5. World Bank, World Development Report 2002: Building Institutions for Market, op.cit, p.99.
  6. World Bank, World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World, op.cit, p.6.
  7. ibid, p.9.
  8. UNDP, Re-conceptualizing Governance, United Nation Development Programme, New York, 1997, p.9.
  9. Ibid, p.1.
  10. Ibid, p.19.
  11. World Bank, Can Africa Claim the 21st Century, World Bank, Washington D.C, 2000, p.50.
  12. Chakrabarty, Bidyut, Reinventing Public Administration: The Indian Experience, Orient Longman Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, 2007, pp.68-82.
  13. Ibid, pp.75-76.
  14. UNDP, Human Development Report 2002: Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, p.51.
  15. ibid.
  16. UNDP,Governance for the Future: Democracy and Development in the least Developed Countries, United Nation Development Programme, New York, 2006, pp.38-39.
  17. UNDP, Human Development Report 2002: Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World, op.cit, p.51.
  18. Patnaik, Pratyusna, “Affirmative Action and Representation of Weaker Section: Participation and Accountability in Orissa’s Panchayats”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.40, October 29, 2005, No.44 and 45, pp. 4753-54.
  19. Ibid. pp4754-55.
  20. Narayana, D, “Local Governance without Capacity Building: Ten Years of Panchayi Raj”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.40, June 25, 2005, No.26, pp.2822-28.
  21. Patnaik, Pratyusna, “Affirmative Action and Representation of Weaker Section: Participation and Accountability in Orissa’s Panchayats”, op.cit, pp.4756-57.
  22. Ibid. pp. 4756-60.
  23. Narayana, D, “Local Governance without Capacity Building: Ten Years of Panchayi Raj”, op.cit, pp. 2831-32.
  24. Fernandes, Aureliano, “Aggrandiser Government and Local Governance”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.38, July 5, 2003, No.27, pp. 2877-78.
  25. Ibid.
  26. Government of India, Second Administrative Reform Commission, First Report on Right to Information: Master Key to Good Governance, June 2006, para1.1.1, p.1.
  27. Niranjan, Oulac, “Right to Information and the Road to Heaven”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.40, November 19, 2005,No.47, pp.4870-72.
  28. A Campaign comes to Fruition: National Convention on the Right to Information in Delhi, 8th-10th October, 2004,
  29. Ibid.
  30. Ibid.
  31. Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 20 February,2007, RTI Activists Launch Campaign Against CIC For Shoddy Functioning.
  32. Goel,S.L, “Right to Information and Administrative Reforms”,The Indian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. LIII, July-September 2007, No.3, p.556.
  33. Final Report 2009, Understanking the “Key Issues and Constrains” in implementing the RTI Act, Price Water House Coppers, June 2009,
  34. Ibid.
  35. Ibid.
  36. CHRI’s 2003 Report,Open Sesame: Looking for the Right to Information in the Commonwealth, Commonwealth Human Right Initiative, Print World, New Delhi, 2003, p.48.
  37. Editorials, “Reading the Satyam Scam”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.44, January 17, 2009, No.03, pp.5-6.
  38. Thakurta, Paranjoy Guha and Akshat Kaushal, “Underbelly of the Great Indian Telecom Revolution”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLV, December 4, 2010, No. 49, pp.49-53.
  39. Yadav, Sushma, “Implementing E-Governance in India: Exploring the Administrative Reform Agenda”, The Indian Journal of Political Science, Vol. LXX, July-September, 2009, No.3, p. 683.
  40. Mishra, D.S, “E-Governance as a Reform strategy for Combating Corruption in Delievery of Public Services, The Indian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. LIII,  July- September 2007, NO.3, pp.367-68.
  41. Dwivedi, Sanjay Kumar and Ajay Kumar Bharti, “E-Governance in India-Problems and Acceptability”, Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology, Vol. 17, July 2010, No. 1, p.40.
  42. Sodhi, Inderjeet Singh, “Role of Information Technology and E-Governance in effective Delivery of Public Services- Initiative, Challenges and Prospects”, The Indian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. LIII,  October- December 2007, NO.4, pp.810-11.
  43. Dwivedi, Sanjay Kumar and Ajay Kumar Bharti, “E-Governance in India-Problems and Acceptability”, op.cit, pp.40-41.
  44. Ibid, p.41.
  45. Ibid, pp 38-39.
  46. Vir, Dharam, “Legislature’s Supremacy and Executive’s Excess”,Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.42, February 17, 2007, No.07, pp.561-63.
  47. Indian Express, New Delhi, 27 November, 2003, IIT Engineer Stood Up to Highway Corruption, Shot Dead in Bihar.
  48. Shrivastava, Smita, “Espousing Effective Performance Audit for Good Governance in India”, The Indian Journal of Political Science, Vol. LXX, July-September, 2009, No.3, pp. 665-677.
  49. Som, Lalita s, “Corporate Governance Codes in India”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 41, September 30, 2006, No.39, pp.4153-54.
  50. Ibid, p. 4157.
  51. Ibid, p. 4159.
  52. Godbole, Madhav, “Corporate Governance: Myth and Reality”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 37 July 27, 2002, No.30, pp.3094-95.
  53. Som, Lalita s, “Corporate Governance Codes in India”, op.cit, p.4159.
  54. Godbole, Madhav, “Corporate Governance: Myth and Reality”, op.cit, p.3102.
  55. Ghosh, D.N, “Market Scandals and Regulatory Governance”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 38, May 17, 2003, No.20, pp.1917-18.