New Delhi: Good Governance Day is celebrated on December 25th, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The essence of Good Governance, according to Vajpayee, is that all governance projects and schemes should actually ensure that the fruits of development reach Daridranarayan – the faceless common and poor Indian. And this has been truly inculcated in every administrative measure of Gujarat.
If we look at some recent data, Gujarat has performed strongly in 5 of the 10 sectors including economic governance, human resource development, public infrastructure and utilities, social welfare and development, judiciary and public safety. It tops ahead of Maharashtra and Goa.
The state’s achievements in five core sectors is no small achievement. It is also essential to keep in mind that an ideal leadership or administration would not hesitate to learn new things. The administration in Gujarat has led by example on these lines. For years now, the state government has initiated various projects to make the common man feel a sense of belongingness with the government through the spirit of ‘Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas’
Major milestones can be reached only with the ‘trust’ of all and the efforts of all major stakeholders.
When a Common Man is in the Driving seat:
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel’s basic virtues are simplicity and cheerfulness. Countless BJP workers today say that Gujarat is “fortunate” to have a simple man like him at the helm. To add, he has been successful in stamping his image of a Common Man.
His admirers say Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has indeed started a new chapter of politics – mixing simplicity, ground-zero understanding of things and putting everything together for development. His Good Governance is straightaway linked to the last man in the remotest area of Gujarat.
Observers of Gujarat bureaucracy are not new to this phenomenon. Illustrious Narendra Modi displayed these virtues and even went the extra mile when he lead the state from 2001 to May 2014.
Signatures of gazetted officers are no longer mandatory and self-certification is valid. In a new set of initiatives, the Bhupendra Patel regime has taken a page from the Moditva phenomenon and it was declared that affidavits have been exempted in matters which are not legally required. This may appear too small and symbolic, but they give immense relief to a common man in the village who would have been constantly making rounds of the government office otherwise.
It is important to understand that United Nations defines Good Governance through 8 the parameters of Participation – Rule of Law, Transparency, Responsiveness, Consensus Oriented, Equity and Inclusiveness, Effectiveness and Efficiency, and Accountability. And these are also the essence of the Gujarat administration for more than 2 decades now.
To add, optimum utilisation of technology can only accelerate Good Governance.
This actually takes us back to the Modi era in Gujarat. Not many – especially youngsters – would know that Godhra made news for the IT revolution in 2002 within a few months of Modi taking charge as the Chief Minister of the state.
Even in 2001-02 itself, Gujarat had one of the finest IT scenarios in India. At the same time, Gujarat was the first state to draft a comprehensive IT policy in those days.
With a trade-friendly work culture and pragmatic business acumen, Gujarat’s E-governance had already reached the Taluka level.
In 2002, Panchmahals Collector, Jayanti S Ravi told this journalist that on Dec 31, 2001, the Panchmahals district and its headquarters, Godhra, clicked into a web history when citizens in the district were given the opportunity to walk into the nearest STD or cyber kiosk and obtain ration cards or file pension claims. These were Good Governance initiatives – as we understand by the phrase today.
Cut to 2021-22, it would be imperative to highlight that the Gujarat government also linked Good Governance to basic elements. And in August 2021, the state government had chalked out programmes for Gyanshakti Divas, Samvedana Divas, Annotsav Divas, Nari Gaurav Divas, Kisan Sanman Divas and Rojgar Divas. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also invited to virtually grace the “Annotsav Divas” program organised under “Sarvne Ann, Sarvne Poshan”.
Recently, I interacted with officials at the Gujarat Secretariat-Swarnim Sankul and also had a brief tete-a-tete with Chief Minister Patel. One would be thrilled to find that the ‘Team Gujarat’ has embarked on a journey towards achieving the dream of Surajya. To achieve the same, Chief Minister Patel is leading from the front. He wants to infuse a breath of fresh air and new life into the state’s development journey and ensure that all departments follow the mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Prayas’.