National Seminar on "Good Governance and Development

A two day National Seminar on "Good Governance and Development" was organized by Professor Ranvinder Singh Sandhu, Coordinator, U.G.C. Special Assistance Programme, Department of Sociology, G N D University Amritsar from March 2-3, 2009.

Prof. S.L Sharma former Dean, Faculty of Arts, Panjab University Chandigarh, in his Inaugural Address pointed out that lack of good governance under the influence of market fundamentalism has impeded the process of development. “Constituent attributes” such as accountability, transparency, credibility and “Performance attributes” such as services delivery, corruption free delivery and development of people as human beings should be the hallmarks of any good governance, he emphasized.

Dr. Parmod Kumar, Chairman, Punjab Governance Reforms Commission in his Key Note Address pointed out that crisis of governance in India is not because of poverty, recession, large population etc, but because of the manner in which these problems and crisis are being tackled. He stressed upon the adoption of holistic approach for overcoming the crisis of good governance. Under the influence of market forces state has become regulatory body that lacks interconnections between those who govern and those who are being governed, he further added.

Manoj Kumar of CRRID, expressed his concerns about non meeting of targets under MDG’s, he was also critical about many paradigms of Governance as suggested by International Financial Institutions in the Indian Context. Development through ‘Self-Help-Groups’ needs to be made more effective in India. Social cultural context was another attribute identified by Dr. Sukhdev Singh from P.A.U Ludhiana to over come ills of Governance. Dr. Arun Bali pointed the role of ICT in improvising delivery mechanism hence ensuring good governance which is the key factor related to two main principles of reliability and accessibility.
The key Panelist Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh Senior Superintendent of Police Amritsar pointed out that the interests of common citizens are being neglected. He stressed upon Community Oriented Policing having theme of ‘respect of virtuous and punishment to evil-doers’. The civil servants perform like key service providers for the common citizens. He emphasized upon on community friendly approach which have been put into practice within Amritsar city and PRO system associating lady officers to overcome fear of mistrust between force and citizens.
Prof. R. N Sharma of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai highlighted the issue of SEZ as newer strategy on the part of Builders -Politicians and Bureaucratic Nexus to marginalize the vulnerable sections of the society by acquiring lands at cheaper rates and by disposing them of at fifty times profit in connivance with bureaucracy. The state has become a realtor than the facilitator for masses.
Dr C.P. Bohra highlighted that the process of Reverse Governance is a matter of serious concern. He also identified that system of Free beeies should be discouraged as these populist measures don’t pay anything in return merely harming the revenue generation and straining the resources.

Issues that could be attributed as the major outcomes of the seminar could be succinctly identified are; the country is lagging behind in the area of good governance, due to lack of Interface between the rulers (politicians and bureaucracy) and the ruled, strong nexus between the market forces and the bureaucracy that has pushed the marginalized sections further out of the development process. Apathy, half-hearted approach to governance, great dependence upon the western models and lack of their applicability in Indian scenario were the major obstacles towards good governance identified by the participants and the resource persons.

In all, five sessions were held and thirty research papers were presented on various thematic issues covering Role of Social Structure and Social Institutions, International, National & Local Agencies in Governance, Additional Issues Such as Governance and Development in Indian Scenario, followed by Role of Stakeholders and Public-Private Partnerships were also deliberated upon by the scholars from places Like Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai, ICSSR New Delhi, University of Pondycherry, Puducherry, University of Luckhnow, Gujarat National Law University, P.U Chandigarh, Punjabi University Patiala and G N D University, Amritsar participated in big numbers.
The following recommendations emerged from the discussions held various session of the seminar:

· The good governance is not only a prerequisite for the development but also a need for sustainable development. Therefore, There is need to create conducive environment for good governance at centre, state and local levels.
· The focus of good governance should be on inclusive development and transformation of society in which the downtrodden sections of the society should receive the main attention.
· For long term development of society, the political parties should not adopt soft attitude and popular politics rather they should have the holistic approach to deal with the problems.
· Good governance requires shift from feudal attitudes, capitalistic practices and socialistic pretensions.
· Pro-people politics should be nurtured rather than the popular politics.
· For good governance Bureaucrats should not consider themselves as political bosses rather they should act as service providers as is expected from a civil servant in a civil society.
· The Urban Local Bodies need to adopt a people friendly approach. In the light of Global funding through central government sponsored funding of projects in the cities, there is need to encourage the people's participation in the decision making process. The ULB's are engaging experts, who generally are not aware about the local issues and problems. As a result, these efforts are unable to address the genuine issues.

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