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Philosophical Foundations Of Good Governance

“The essential character of knowledge, reality, and existence,” as defined by the language unit “philosophical,” is an adjective. This word encompasses both the sense and the substance of being an underlying support or foundation for any subject or object, which we perceive as a narrow or broad base for something.

Good Governance, by definition, does not imply “ruling,” but it does imply “doing something with authority,” deciding whom or what to control, influence, or regulate, and defining what it takes to govern oneself while governing others. Because “the rule” values supremacy, it might be “negative power,” exerting an unfavorably forceful and restrictive impact on the Governed. Traditions and beliefs of legitimacy, fairness, and social good should always be able to guide governance.

The inculcation and institutionalization of strong moral ideals describing honesty and decency, which we call probity, is required whenever the Governed experience obedience to the law, the system being fair and reasonable, and the good of society.

Principles of Good Governance

Good governance is a way of government that tries to create a system based on justice and peace while protecting people’s civil liberties and human rights. The United Nations uses eight criteria to evaluate good governance: participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus-oriented, equity and inclusion, effectiveness and efficiency, and accountability.

  • Participation: In order to participate, all groups, particularly the most disadvantaged, must have direct or representative access to government procedures. This manifests as a thriving civil society and citizens who are free to associate and express themselves. 
  • Rule of Law: The rule of law is exemplified by uniform legal systems that protect all citizens’ human rights and civil liberties, particularly minorities. This is demonstrated by an independent judiciary and a police force free of corruption.
  • Transparency: Citizens should be able to comprehend and access the tools and procedures used to make decisions, particularly if they are directly affected. This knowledge must be conveyed in a clear and accessible fashion, which is frequently accomplished through the media. 
  • Responsiveness: Simply said, responsiveness means that institutions respond to their stakeholders in a timely manner.
  • Consesus Oriented: An agenda that strives to mediate between the many various needs, viewpoints, and expectations of a diverse citizenry is characterized as consensus oriented. Decisions must be made with a complete understanding of the historical, cultural, and social context of the community.
  • Equity And Inclusivity: Equity and inclusiveness require that all members of a community, especially the most vulnerable individuals and groups, feel included and empowered to enhance or maintain their well-being.
  • Effectiveness And Efficiency: Effectiveness and efficiency are developed through the long-term usage of resources to meet societal demands. Both the continuing of social investments and the protection of natural resources for future generations are referred to as sustainability.
  • Accountability: Accountable institutions are those that are ultimately accountable to the public and to one another. Government agencies, civil society organizations, and the commercial sector are all held accountable to one another.

Need of Good Governance

Probity in a democracy is based on the concepts of equality before the law and respect for leaders’ rights and responsibilities to their constituents. Probity, on the other hand, is a societal expectation that citizens place on decision-makers and all those who work for the government.

The adoption of norms such as “accountability,” “transparency,” and “responsiveness” is often believed to lead to clean and efficient government. Standards, on the other hand, do not guarantee ethical behavior; a solid culture of integrity and probity in public life is required. The essence of ethical behavior is not only the adoption of norms in action, but also the imposition of punishments when they are broken. 

The importance of governance probity can be summarized as follows:

  • System legitimacy: First and foremost, it contributes to the system’s, i.e. the state’s, legitimacy. It fosters faith in the state’s institutions and the conviction that the state’s activities will benefit the recipients. 
  • Building trust through ethical outcomes: It leads to sensible and ethical outcomes, as well as the gradual development of trust.
  • Objectivity: It allows for an objective and independent assessment of the process’s fairness.
  • Balances and checks: It aids in the prevention of abuse and misuse of authority by various government institutions such as the judiciary, police, and all other suppliers of public services such as PWD, health, education, and so on.
  • Equitable and sustainable development is a prerequisite for an efficient and effective governance system as well as socio-economic growth.
  • To serve the constitutional cause: To uphold the Constitution’s motto, prudence in governance is essential. i.e. to ensure that all people are treated equally in terms of social, political, and economic justice. It improves people’s trust in the government.
  • Reduced bureaucratic politicization: It aids in the prevention of nepotism, favoritism, and political partisanship. The public has a higher level of trust in government, which makes participatory governance easier. It leads to the avoidance of less-than-ideal outcomes, corruption, and a negative image.

The Tenets of Probity

In order to assess the standards of conduct in public life with a focus on probity and integrity in governance, the Nolan Committee was founded in the United Kingdom in 1994. The committee identified seven public life principles that are intended to foster integrity and trust in the UK’s public institutions as part of its recommendations, which were released in a number of publications between 1995 and 1997. They are referred to as the “Nolan Principles.” This development of the Philosophical Basis of Governance and Probity can be read in the same way. 

  • Selflessness: Public servants should act in the public good rather than their own interests.
  • Integrity: Public servants shouldn’t put themselves in precarious circumstances where their objectivity and honesty could be questioned.
  • Objectivity: Decisions made by public authorities should be supported by facts, and they should not let their own opinions cloud their judgment.
  • Accountability: Public servants must take responsibility for their acts and be ready to defend their choices.
  • Openness: Public servants should act in a transparent and open manner and be eager to share information with the general public.
  • Honesty: When interacting with the public and their fellow authorities, public officials should be truthful and honest.
  • Leadership: Public servants should have excellent leadership traits and work to set a positive example. 

These guidelines are intended to serve as direction for how UK public servants should conduct themselves and to guarantee that people in positions of power are held to the highest ethical standards. The Nolan Principles are frequently cited as a crucial yardstick for probity in public life and are used as a baseline for evaluating public officials’ behavior in the UK.

Overall, it is obvious that governance must be honest. We can ensure that people in positions of responsibility are acting in the best interests of the community and that our public institutions are reliable and effective by supporting ethical standards and the avoidance of corruption.


The essence of good governance lies in its adherence to ethical principles such as transparency, accountability, and integrity. Upholding these standards fosters trust in public institutions, ensures fair and effective decision-making, and promotes sustainable development. By embracing probity in governance, we can create a more just and equitable society where leaders prioritize the common good and serve as role models of ethical leadership.

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Aayushi Chopra
Aayushi Chopra
Aayushi Chopra is a law student who is interested in creating content on education, lifestyle, law, health, and environment. She enjoys researching different topics and then expressing her views on them.

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