Good Governance: Aspects, Definition, Governance UPSC Notes

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Good Governance is an attempt to widen the scope of public administration by going beyond formal government practices. international financial aid donor agencies such as the world bank 1990 propagated the concept of Good Governance. In federal countries like India, where there is a concept of a two-tier government system, there are higher chances of diverse administrative systems that may lead to the complications and issues that lead to the emergence of the concept of Good Governance.

Governance, in simple terms, can be defined as the principle of dealing with issues related to the development of a country and improving the future of the nation by laws. A government having Good Governance is a value-based government that makes the public administration open, transparent, accountable and abides by the rules. In this article, we are going to cover important aspects of Good Governance, its impact, need, and features.

What is Good Governance?

The concept of Good Governance in India was adopted in the wake of many administrative and Judiciary issues. The concept of Good Governance cannot be defined in one sentence as its meaning changes from organization to organization with respect to the context and the references.

Good Governance UPSC Notes

  • Good Governance may seem to be new, but it is a very old format that was introduced in India by Mahatma Gandhi as Su-raj.
  • In fact, if we go through the ancient scriptures, Arthashastra and Chanakya also mentioned the concept of Good Governance where he defined a good king as the one who- ” in the happiness of his subject lies his happiness, in their welfare, his welfare, whatever pleases himself he does not consider as good, but whatever pleases his subject he considered as good”.
  • Apart from the government, there are many other bodies also, like associations, corporations, unions, NGOs, and religious leaders who talk about and represent society to the government for the sake of Good Governance.
  • It should be noted that governance is all for the citizens. Therefore, citizen-centric administration and Good Governance are complementary to each other.

Definition of Good Governance

As already discussed above that they are can be no one definition given to Good Governance, but different eminent organizations describe Good Governance in their own words.

  • The Commission on Global Governance defined Good Governance as, individuals and institutions managing their common affairs in a variety of ways, both public and private.
  • It is the process of addressing differing interests and taking cooperative action despite conflicting interests. The term compasses both formal Institutions along with the regimes that are capable of enforcing the compliance and informal agreements between the people and institutions that they have agreed to or have perceived to be advantages for them.
  • According to the definition given by the World Bank, Good Governance is-” How power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development”.
  • In a document released by the World Bank in 1992, Good Governance is said to be an essential complement to creating a sustainable development that will foster inequitable growth.
  • Similarly, the United Nations development program has also defined Good Governance as “ the rules of the political system to solve the conflict between actors and adopt decisions.”

Good Governance Features

There are 9 Major  Features of Good Governance. Understanding and implementing these features is crucial for governments, organizations, and individuals alike, as they contribute to the overall well-being of societies.


Good Governance is one where both men and women participate equally. This participation can be direct or by legitimate Institutions or representatives. In order for participation to be effective, it has to be organized and informed. This idea is to ensure the freedom of association and expression while ensuring a civil society that is organized.


Good Governance requires accountability. Institutions of both public and private interest must be accountable to their institutional stakeholders and to the public. It depends on whether the decision or action taken is internal or external to the organization that is responsible for holding the person accountable. Generally, organizations and Institutions are responsible for their decisions and action toward the people affected. Transparency and the rule of law are essential to the enforcement of accountability.

Transparency in Good Governance

A transparent system follows the rules and regulations when making decisions and enforcing them in the public domain. In addition, it also means that such decisions and their importance are freely accessible and available. A good floor of information is also accompanied by a format and medium that makes the information easily comprehendible.


It is essential that the Institutions and processes must provide timely services to all the stakeholders in order to maintain Good Governance.

Effective and Efficient

Buy insurance that processes and institutions are efficient and the society’s needs are met while resources are utilized to their best advantage. The sustainability of natural resources and the protection of the environment also falls under the concept of efficiency in Good Governance.

Follow the Rules of Law

A fair and impartial legal Framework is an essential need for Governance. Also in Good Governance and an independent judiciary, impartial and incorrupt police forces are also essential for the protection of human rights, especially of minorities.

Equity and Inclusiveness in Good Governance

It is important for a society to ensure that each member feels they are a part of it and are not excluded from it. Providing opportunities for improvement or maintenance of Wellness must be available for all groups, especially to those who are most vulnerable.

Consensus Oriented

A particular society can have a number of people having different perspectives and points of view. In order to achieve Good Governance abroad, consensus needs to be reached in society about what is beneficial for the entire community. Also, achieving Sustainable Human Development needs a long-term goal and a broad understanding of what is needed to achieve those goals. To do so one must understand a society or community’s historical, cultural, social, and religious context.

Equitable and Inclusive

Every member of a society has a take on it and they should not feel like an outsider or stranger to it. It is imperative that all the groups particularly those who are the most vulnerable, have equal access to opportunities for improvement or maintenance of their well-being.

Need for Good Governance

There is a need for Good Governance because it helps in economic growth, social development, and political development; let’s see in detail how Good Governance contributes to all three of them.

Economic Development

In the absence of a strong administration, a state’s economic progress becomes unstable. Producing, distributing, investing, and even consuming are some of the challenges faced by economic development. However, the fair distribution of resources in the state and excellent governance will help to remove such barriers easily.

Social Development and Good Governance

In a Civilization, people from different religious backgrounds, social groups, and castes live together in harmony. However, the lack of proper distribution of income will cause societal unrest if incomes are not distributed fairly. The distribution of wealth is not equitable enough, but the right accommodation must be made for minorities so that they can walk out without any fear. For the gender gap in society to be closed, several reform measures must be implemented.

Political Development

The honesty and adherence of politicians to the rules and regulations of the establishment is the key to success for having Good Governance for society. In order to foster good competition the government and political parties need to design policies for the benefit of the people and work constructively together.

Challenges to Good Governance

The challenges in Good Governance encompass a wide range of factors that hinder the smooth operation of governance systems. However, achieving and maintaining good governance is not without its challenges.

Criminalization of Politics

  • According to the reports given by the Association of Democratic Reforms a total of 43% of MPs of Lok Sabha in 2019 were charged with criminal cases. This number has increased from 26% in 2014.
  • Because of the criminalization of politics and the unfair alliance between politicians, civil servants, and business houses, government schemes, and governance are negatively influenced.
  • Because of this increasing criminalization of politics, the political class has started to lose respect in the public domain.

Corruption in Good Governance

  • Corruption is the practice prevailing in the governance system of India for a very long time. It is a big hindrance in the way of quality and Good Governance.
  • Undoubtedly it is human avarice that leads to the practices of corruption but apart from that the poor enforcement system and structural incentives are also the driving force for the increasing corruption practices in India.
  • In the corruption perception index released in 2019, India has secured the rank of 80th position.

Increasing Violence

  • For Good Governance, it is important to have the proper peace and law and order to be implemented in the public domain.
  • The increased rates of violence and crimes in society are signs of a bad governance system.

Gender Discrimination in Good Governance

  • Gender disparity has been a part of the traditional Indian culture, where women are considered less than men.
  • The condition of a state can be analyzed by the situation and status of women living there. Ideally, the male and female ratio should be 50:50, which is imbalanced in nearly all the states. Also, because of this, the participation of women in politics and other allied sectors is inadequate as compared to men.

Delayed Justice

  • Because of activities like criminalization and corruption in politics, issues like timely justice to the public get hampered. This leads to the cases staying pending for months and years, and justice gets delayed for the victims.

Centralization of Administrative System in Good Governance

  • The lower-level governments can function to their best only if they are empowered enough and given the powers through the process of decentralization.
  • Panchayati Raj Institutions, whose constitutionally mandated functions are not carried out due to insufficient funding and functionaries, are particularly affected by the centralization of the administration system.

Marginalization of Backward Classes in Good Governance

  • Ever since the independence of India, the economically and socially backward class of society has been marginalized.
  • Despite several provisions in the constitution for the upliftment of socially and economically backward sections, they still lag behind in many important domains like education, economics, etc.

Examples of Good Governance in India

Good governance refers to the effective and transparent management of public affairs, where government institutions and leaders adhere to principles of accountability, responsiveness, and inclusivity. Examples of Good Governance in India are as follows:


  • Being a member of the international covenant on Civil and political rights, India is obliged to guarantee The Right to Information under Article 19 to all the citizens of the country.
  • Introducing the RTI in the country contributes to strengthening democracy. The access to information regarding government activities to all the citizens of the country promotes a positive and responsible attitude of the government.
  • Access to written information promotes the accountability of the government.

E-Governance & Good Governance

  • The government is envisioned as a way for all government services to be accessible to the common people in the country by guaranteeing transparency, reliability, and efficiency.
  • New emerging Information and Communication Technology which Herald a Rapid social and economic transformation throughout the world, create better opportunities for e-governance to deliver better programming and services.
  • The use of e-governance services is directly beneficial for the citizens who make transactions directly from the services offered by the government.

Good Governance for Ease of Doing Business

  • To promote the is of doing business, the government has launched the visionary program of Make in India.
  • The government has also improved the business environment and policy ecosystems by adopting legislation that is meant to improve the business environment.

Legal Reforms

  • It aims to bring about transparency and improve efficiency by scrapping nearly 1500 updated rules and regulations.
  • Mediation prior to incarceration needs to be a focus of criminal justice and procedural reforms.

Good Governance UPSC

Good governance is a topic of immense significance in the UPSC exam, as it lies at the core of effective and accountable administration. It encompasses the principles of transparency, accountability, participation, and the rule of law in the functioning of governments and public institutions. Understanding the importance of good governance is essential for aspirants, as it directly affects the social, economic, and political fabric of the nation, and it is a part of the UPSC GS-2 Syllabus. Moreover, questions related to the significance of good governance are asked in IAS Interviews, and that’s why this topic must be covered comprehensively.

Good Governance UPSC Questions

Question: Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of good governance? a) Transparency b) Accountability c) Centralization of power d) Rule of law

Answer: c) Centralization of power

Question: Good governance promotes: a) Corruption and nepotism b) Inefficient public service delivery c) Transparency and accountability d) Bureaucratic red tape

Answer: c) Transparency and accountability

Question: The principle of the rule of law in good governance ensures: a) Arbitrary exercise of power by authorities b) Equal application of laws to all citizens c) Limited access to justice for marginalized groups d) Violation of human rights

Answer: b) Equal application of laws to all citizens

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