How far has the governance in India achieved the twin objectives of transparency and accountability? Discuss.

NITI Aayog’s recent step to bring out a “Good Governance Index” to measure parameters like transparency & accountability has brought focus on India’s positions on the two.

Analysis of governance in India:

  1. Transparency:
    • In formulation of schemes: Citizen feedback has become an important element of scheme like EIA, MGNREGA.
    • Implementation of schemes – Digitization of beneficiaries list for various schemes. E.g. PMAY, Integration with Aadhar to reduce exclusion & inclusion errors. E.g. PDS.
    • Grievance redressal in schemes. E.g. PMGDisha platform to address grievances & track status online.
  2. Accountability:
    • Social Audit as a tool has become a compulsory component for some schemes. E.g. MGNREGA, Meghalaya Social Audit Law.
    • Some states have came out with laws allowing recall of legislation.
    • Online portals like PFMS, CPGRAMS to track funds and deliverable schemes.
    • RTI Act – section 4 provides for proactive disclosure by departments.

Despite above steps, several challenges remain:

  • Lack of manpower at 3rd tier to carry out effective social audit.
  • Citizen feedback processes are weak due to lack of awareness.
  • Bureaucratic apathy & attitude of superiority.
  • Despite RTI, proactive disclosure is not a norm.
  • Many departments still run on pen & paper.
  • Official Secrets Act provides undue protection.

Steps like compulsory digitization across departments, code of ethics & compulsory social audit for all major schemes are needed to usher in truly transparent & accountable government.

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