“BJP remains steadfast in its commitment to ensure governance with a difference; governance that is sensitive to the aspirations of all sections and strata of society, including minorities; governance that would socially, politically and economically empower women, SCs and STs,” said a resolution adopted at the two-day BJP’s National Convention on Good Governance. The convention was organised at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini at Uttan, around 40 km north-west of Mumbai, from May 5 to 6 to discuss ‘good governance’.
As many as 67 ministers, ministers of state from eight states-six BJP-ruled states and two where the party is an alliance partner (Punjab and Bihar)-took part in the convention. Apart from Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Smt Sushma Swaraj and many other senior national party leaders, the Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Narendra Modi, Karnataka Chief Minister Shri BS Yeddyurappa, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prof. PK Dhumal and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Shri Sushil Modi, 20 office-bearers and about 40 central leaders prominently attended the convention. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh could not attend the meeting as his father passed away a day before.
The resolution emphasised on “pro-active and pro-people good governance” in the states under BJP’s rule. Coined as P2G2, it further dwelled on the rule of law, participatory democracy, consensus-not conflict, institutional reforms, accountability and transparency. “The BJP would strive for Saksham, Samriddhshali and Shaktishali (capable, prosperous and powerful) Bharat, a nation which can truly aspire to emerge as a superpower, a country with happy, contented people. In keeping with the philosophy of integral humanism, this Suraj Sankalp (good governance resolve) reflects our determination to guarantee excellence in governance,” the resolution added.
Inaugurating the convention BJP national president Shri Nitin Gadkari said: “Good governance is enabled by the prevalence of the rule of law. Transparency marks the entire process of decision making and the process of implementing those decisions made. Both the process and the end result should be clearly inclusive in every sense of the word.”
Shri Gadkari advised the Chief Ministers to examine the concerns for good governance at the Panchayat level and at the level of other civic bodies such as Zila Parishads, municipalities and municipal corporations. “Consensus building, an important defining feature of good governance, should be considered as an effective lubricant in the process of decision making,” he said.
“In our Indian philosophy, dharma (righteousness) is the foundation of good governance, which immediately distinguishes it from the present materialistic repository of values. The test of Good Governance is to promote physical, social and spiritual development of the people. Governance is the manner to exercise authority, control and power of government in mobilising the society’s economic and social resources to address the issues of public interest,” he added.
In her concluding remarks, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Smt Sushma Swaraj urged the Chief Ministers to give attention to minor details, accord recognition and respect to the opposition in their respective states. Illustrating her point she explained how, when she was Union Health Minister, she made it a habit to check out whenever any Member of Parliament was admitted to hospital and also send flowers. “Wherever the party is in power, it must also behave on similar lines as an example of good governance,” she said. She suggested the ministers that they should win over the opposition with a ‘personal touch’. About the convention she said the ministers got to know about unique initiatives taken by other governments and they could exchange their experiences.
Speaking at the convention Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said a good government should function with the welfare of future generations in mind rather than the outcome of the next election. “Contrary to the prevailing notion that good governance is bad politics, in reality good governance is good politics,” he said. He added that mere governance was not enough as it had to be pro-active and pro-people. Good governance was putting people at the centre of development process, he emphasised.
Dwelling on the issue of accountability, Shri Modi said it should not be based merely on procedural audits but also on performance audits. “One should not merely look at commission of errors but also at omission of duties,” he said explaining his concept of accountability. “Good governance actually goes beyond transparency in achieving openness. Openness means involving the stakeholders in decision-making process,” he stated.
Citing the importance of transparency and public participation in governance, he pointed out that transparency is the right to information while openness is the right to participation. Citing Gujarat’s example of e-gram network connecting 18,000 villages online and the effective use of SMS during disasters as a way to exploit technology for the public good, he said such innovative steps could be emulated in other states too. “Technology has been put to effective use for good governance,” he remarked. He also acknowledged the efforts of good governance by BJP governments, and mentioned the Ladli Laxmi scheme in Madhya Pradesh, computerisation of land records in Karnataka, pollution control steps in Himachal Pradesh and PDS reform in Chhattisgarh, as instances of good governance.
Shri Modi stressed that the government should concentrate on providing quality service rather than free service. People should be provided with options and should be informed of consequences of their choice to enable them to take informed decisions.