Good governance beyond motherhood and apple pie

Source– The post is based on the article “Good governance beyond motherhood and apple pie” published in The Hindu on 19th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Important aspects of governance

Relevance– Issues related to good governance

News– The article explains the steps taken by the current government at centre for good governance. It also exp[lains the steps that are needed to be taken by state governments to promote good governance

What are the steps taken by the current central government for good governance?

The current government has repealed an estimated 2,000 obsolete Acts, statutes and subordinate legislation which include dozens of Appropriation acts, the Excise Act 1863, Foreign Recruiting Act 1874 etc.

There existed a contentious provision in the Prevention of Corruption Act. Any pecuniary benefit to any private parties, without public interest, regardless of whether there was an intent to cause such gains or not, was construed as criminal misconduct by a public servant. Therefore, even honest officers had to face this cruel law. This government finally scrapped this provision.

Another step of this government towards good governance is the DigiLocker. It is an integral part of the India stack. It now has more than five billion documents and 100 million users.

What is the way forward for good governance?

Repeal of obsolete laws by state governments– They should repeal obsolete laws that are often tools for rent seeking. Take the example of Karnataka. It is one of India’s fastest growing States. However, Karnataka ranked 17th in the 2019 Business Reforms Action Plan national rankings.

Avantis RegTech has studied industries and compliance across Indian States and concludes that Karnataka features in the top five States in India in terms of compliance burden. Karnataka’s employers confront a total of 1,175 State-specific jail clauses and ranks among the top five in the country.

Digilocker by state government- State governments can set up enterprise DigiLockers to store all documents that any small or large business is expected to possess. Karnataka has implemented KUTUMBA (family beneficiary database), FRUITS (Farmer Registration and Unified beneficiary Information System), all leading to more good governance.

Common portal– No State government or the Government of India has any common portal, through which businesses even get to know fully the extent of the compliance burden.

There is a need to create a common portal where all the compliances for a particular industry are listed.

Responsible citizenry– Good governance is also the responsibility of enlightened citizens who should give some thought to complex trade-offs like compliance of tax laws in national interest.

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