Category Archives: governance

West Bengal completes rural e-governance project

Published by Indo-Asian News Service on Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The West Bengal government, in association with microprocessor manufacturing major Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Monday announced successful completion of rural e-governance programme in the state.

To bridge the digital divide, the programme was targeted at providing effective governance through computer penetration within the Panchayati Raj institutions, covering 210 rural local bodies across 19 districts. Continue reading


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Filed under governance, India, Poverty

Governance Assessments for Local Stakeholders: What the World Governance Assessment Offers

Author: Goran Hyden, Kenneth Mease
Date: 2008
Size: 37 pages (500 kB)

Access full text: available online

How can governance assessments enhance governance as an analytical tool and a civic activation mechanism? The World Governance Assessment (WGA) is based on principles of national ownership and local consultation, and the need to strengthen monitoring institutions and diagnostic tools. This Overseas Development Institute (ODI) paper publishes findings from the WGA second round, arguing that it is uniquely placed to serve both donor and local interests. The WGA builds capacity of local researchers, provides a sense of ownership, captures local context, and allows for cross-country comparison. Continue reading

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China’s State Enterprises – a success story with many lessons

Virodhi’s post on China is revealing and a direct challenge to the orthodoxies of growth, development and liberal agendas..

China is the center of the debate. With the brilliant show of Olympics at Beijing, the debate regarding the character of the Chinese state and society has also resurfaced. What is China? Socialist? People’s Democracy moving towards capitalism or socialism? Degenerated workers’ state? Capitalist? Imperialist? I argue that China was never a socialist state. Since its birth in 1949 in a very backward terrain, China continues to be a People’s Democracy moving towards socialism. With the advent of the period of Deng Xioping, revisionism took hold of Chinese ecnomics and society and the movement towards socialism was reversed. However, lately new information has been emerging from China which provides an interesting perspective, i.e., the reversal of the process of reversal. I am posting here an interesting article (I am not in agreement with the analysis, but the facts are interesting) that appeared in The Australian regarding the role played by the State Owned Enterprises in China:

China’s state enterprises aren’t dinosaurs

THE Olympic Games comprise China’s most prominent state-owned enterprise.

In some other countries, including Australia, the Olympics, and sport in general, are chiefly the realm of volunteers, of corporations, of a discrete professional world. Continue reading

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Filed under China, governance, Growth, Southeast Asia

Reforming Governance Systems under Real-World Conditions

This is a policy brief worth reading. Full text here

Although necessary and often first rate, technocratic solutions alone have been ineffective in delivering real change or lasting results in governance reforms. This is primarily because reform programs are delivered not in controlled environments, but under complex, diverse, sociopolitical, and economic conditions. Real-world conditions.

In political societies ownership of reform programs by the entire country cannot be assumed, public opinion will not necessarily be benign, and coalitions of support may be scarce or nonexistent, even when intended reforms really will benefit those who need them most…

The publication mentions six key challenges for governance practitoners:

Six Key Challenges for Governance Reformers

Uncovering the challenges inherent in building support for governance reform through political analysis;
Securing political will and the best methods for reaching out to political leaders, policy makers and legislators;
Gaining support of public sector middle managers, often the strongest opponents of change;
Building broad coalitions of pro-change influentials and dealing with powerful vested
Transforming indifferent or hostile public opinion into support for reform objectives;
Encouraging citizen demand for accountability to sustain governance reform.

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Producing Social Accountability? The Impact of Service Delivery Reforms

Summary of a recent IDS report

Which types of state reform improve public services and citizen engagement? How can accountability mechanisms improve service delivery? This Institute of Development Studies (IDS) paper draws on the polity approach, which suggests that the organisation of state institutions influences who engages in collective action and around what issues. Collective action is essential for the poor if direct accountability is to work. Successful cases of social accountability are often the result of alliances that cut across class and public-private divides.

New public management (NPM) reforms aimed to improve public services by changing the incentives faced by providers. Pluralisation of services in order to create competition and enable user ‘choice’ was a key NPM reform. Decentralisation and privatisation often accompany pluralisation. There is little evidence that NPM reforms have worked in developing countries. Reforms are increasingly focusing on accountability. Accountability relationships between stakeholders – citizens, policymakers and service providers – are not transparent, formalised or effective. Continue reading

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Filed under accountability, Development, governance, Service Delivery

How widespread is corruption in Asia: 1 in 3 poor Indians pay bribes for essential services

Courtesy Eideard Blog

One out of every three families living below the poverty level in India paid a bribe last year for basic public services, like admitting a family member into a hospital.

The report by Transparency International India and the Center for Media Studies said poor people in India paid about $210 million in bribes last year to the police, schools, hospitals and power companies.

The bribes were for basic services, the report said: to file a police report, to enroll a child in school, to admit a family member into a hospital or to get electricity turned on.

“This kind of corruption that denies people their entitlement to basic and need based services, many of which may be ‘free’ by law, results in the poor finding themselves at the losing end of the corruption chain,” said R. H. Tahiliani of Transparency International India.

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Filed under corruption, governance, India, Poverty

Rethinking Governance to Fight Corruption

Came across the insightful Brief by Sue Unsworth which argues that:

the key to more effective anti-corruption strategies is to think differently about governance. Instead of starting with an OECD model of governance in mind, and assessing the gap between the developing country reality and OECD institutions, policymakers would do better to start with fewer assumptions, and some questions. What are the underlying reasons for poor governance and high levels of corruption in so many poor countries? What do we know about the political processes involved in building more effective and acountable public institutions?

Some donors are even talking openly about politics. As the British government’s 2006 White Paper puts it: “Politics determines how resources are used and policies are made. And politics determines who benefits. In short, good governance is about good politics.” (DFID 2006:23). The same paper tells us that building better governance takes time and has to come from a political process within each country: outsiders cannot impose models. Good governance is about how citizens, leaders, and public institutions relate to each other, to make change happen. However, despite these insights, the White Paper goes on to advance a technocratic and largely conventional agenda for enhancing growth and improving basic services, with barely a nod in the direction of politics.

This failure to connect the rhetoric about politics with an operational agenda to improve governance and fight corruption is widespread…

More here

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Filed under Aid, corruption, governance