Although it is a universal fact that the trade name of a developed nation is good governance and clean politics but in the context of Jammu & Kashmir it is considered as an auxiliary matter to fiddle with. Before proceeding further it is imperative for us to know what good governance means. In common terms, it can be defined as an inordinate term under which the Institutions of a state is functioning on the basis of meritocracy, equality, accountability, transparency, justice and impartial. Professor Nayef Al- Rodhan in his book Sustainable History and the dignity of Man: A Philosophy of History and Civilizational Triumph, proposed eight minimum criteria for ensuring good governance in a state which is 1) Participation, Equity, and Inclusiveness, 2) Rule of Law, 3) Separation of Powers, 4) Free, Independent and Responsible Media, 5) Government Legitimacy, 6) Accountability, 7) Transparency, and 8) Limiting the distorting effect of money in politics. In the book, he argues that good governance is an important component in creating a history of sustainability for the human race.
To mark out these minimum eight-point criteria in the context of the state of Jammu & Kashmir it seems that the phrase of good governance is elusive in nature and spirit, hence an illusion continuous for a common masses.
Participation, equity, and inclusiveness
Participation, equity, and inclusiveness are the pivotal forces for the success of any policy related to social upliftment and progress. Participation of people defines the parameters of any policy, government initiates. The larger the participation and the larger guaranteed is the success. Equity is an unbiased and disinterested endeavour of the government for the goodness of general public and inclusiveness is the soul of any policy government initiates regardless of gender, caste, creed, colour, sex and region. The society that witnesses and enjoys such parameters is definitely enjoying the glimpses of good governance. So the concept of participation, equity and inclusiveness provide us an opportunity to take accurate and tested decisions for the betterment of the society and the generations to come.
Rule of Law
Rule of Law implies that every person is subject to the law, including people who are lawmakers, law enforcement officials and judges. Rule of law indicates the quality of the human resource of society. The implementation of the law at gross root level keeps the society free from panic, free from robbers and dacoits and inculcates among its people the feeling of protection and safety. But in the context of Jammu & Kashmir, both general public and law implementing agencies enjoying the subversive tactics to subdue the influence of law thus paves the way for lawlessness, chaos, riots and other unlawful activities.
Separation of Powers
Separation of powers refers to the division of responsibilities into distinct branches to limit any one branch from exercising the core powers of another. The typical division is into three branches: a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary. The crux of Separation of powers is to prevent the concentration of unchecked power by providing for checks and balances to avoid autocracy. The juxtaposition of these powers while in the exercise by a single entity brings chaos and despair to the nation. The judicious exercise of powers renders the way smooth for a common man to harvest its benefits. A responsible nation or society always keeps vigil over the powers which are responsible in making the society a happy and prosperous society.
Free, independent and responsible Media
It is a verifiable fact that media is the fourth Pillar of democracy hence its role should be free, autonomous and responsible. The nation which has a media which work judiciously free from any bias, power clutches, discrimination and for the betterment of society is progressive, developed and a receptor of good governance. Media is a mediator between the general public and Government. Its portrayal of events, policies and incidents should be based on the disinterested endeavour and judicious for the general public.
A Government should be acceptable to its general public. The government should be elected in nature and in return the government should exercise its control over the institutions and establishments fairly. But here in Kashmir, the political gap is very wide between an electorate and a politician hence, government legitimacy lacks its spirit. Although Kashmir is a part of a big democracy in the world, the spirits of democracy are not evinced in Kashmir. For better governance, it is imperative to have a popular government in vogue which can be answerable and questionable.
It is an important aspect of governance. People both in power and in general shall groom in them the nature of being accountable in every means. The nation or society which develops such belief is considered developed. Corruption is something that renders the state dead and poverty ridden. Although Jammu & Kashmir has the institutions in vogue and in recently Hon’ble Governor has amended the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006 and J & K State Vigilance Act, 2011 and formally established Anti-corruption Bureau in the state to do away with the shortcomings and multiplicity of roles in the existing anti-corruption mechanism and to effectively handle the menace but its spirit is yet elusive at the grass root level where a common man can feel a sigh of relief.
In the context of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, the term transparency is a distant one. Government departments are always remaining in the discussions within the public circles regarding the issue of transparency regardless of their services like recruitment and other routine service deliverance approaches.
Limiting the distorting effect of money in politics
In true senses politics is the second name of social work and selfless effort of people for the betterment of its society but unfortunately here in Kashmir people misusing it as a profession and a familial tradition. This myth is consuming the bright future of a common citizen of J&K in every sphere of life, be it economically, politically and socially. They make use of their wealth to rope in people in their fold but not by the work, integrity, accountability and morals. This wide gap of politics in its spirit renders the general public annoyed and unsatisfied with the current belief of politics.
The above threadbare delineation of the minimum eight-point criteria for good governance proposed by the professor Nayef Al- Rodhan remains elusive in the context of Jammu & Kashmir. Its onus lies on the levels government, Society and individual level. It is a tripartite matter. The government cannot do things correct single-handedly unless public plays its role but the government should correct its ways to deal with the prospects for the betterment of the society in all walks of life.
The Author is the PhD English Research Scholarin the Department of English Literature & Foreign Languages SRM University-Delhi, NCR