Puducherry

Ramadass faults GGI methodology

An aerial view of Mettupalayam in Puducherry.

An aerial view of Mettupalayam in Puducherry.   | Photo Credit: T_Singaravelou

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‘Report has not focused on major components of what constitutes governance’

M. Ramadass, former MP, has flagged “glaring shortcomings, methodological flaws and serious calculation errors” in the recently released Good Governance Index (GGI) report, which incidentally had placed Puducherry at the top among Union Territories.

In a memorandum to Jitendra Singh, Union Minister for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, he said the net result of these failings “tended to diminish the utility of the report, mar its credibility and also mislead the public” and sought withdrawal of the report from public domain.

According to Mr. Ramadass, the GGI is chiefly constructed as the composite score (ranging from 2.97 for Lakshadweep to 5.62 for Tamil Nadu) aggregated from the normative values of ten broad sectors and 50 related indicators. Strangely enough, most of these indicators do not exactly and directly fall in the realm of Good Governance thereby making the official GGI less relevant and inappropriate, he pointed out.

Good Governance encompasses sound citizen-centric public administration characterised by responsiveness, accountability, rule of law, transparency, equity and inclusiveness, an efficient and effective public sector, people’s participation and decentralised power sharing , democratisation and democracy, political empowerment of people, human rights, equity, sustainability and values of fairness. In fact, governance of a State may be good or bad depending on the presence or absence of these attributes.

Unfortunately, the GGI has not used these relevant indicators for measuring Good Governance of States. In other words, the report has not focussed on major components of what constitutes governance — what Government does and how it does and how it safeguards the interests of stakeholders.

Contrarily, development performance in sectors such as agriculture, industry, human resource, health, infrastructure, social welfare, environment etc, have been used which have partial and indirect bearing on governance.

These sectors and indicators identified from them may be directly relevant in the construction of Development Index for the State but not good governance index, was his argument.

While it is true that good governance may result in good development of the State, good governance is not fully and always determined by achievements in the development spectrum alone, as sometimes, good development occurs even without proper governance at the State level.

Lack of proper weightage to citizen-centric governance as one of the three qualitative variables, the other two being economic governance and judicial governance, has distorted the results, he said.

He felt it was inappropriate that all States and Union Territories (36) have been assessed for governance by grouping them into three categories — Big States (18), North East and Hill States (11) and Union Territories (7). Structurally, all seven UTs do not have same status and instruments of governance.

The Union Territory of Puducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi have elected Legislature while the remaining UTs are without legislature and are almost directly governed by the Central Government through the Lt. Governors.

Governance in UTs with legislature will have to be citizen-centric and responsive to the needs of the people as they are elected by the people with a committed pre poll manifesto while UTs without legislature have no such compulsion.

Alternatively, since Puducherry and Delhi have matured into States and exhibit all the characteristics of a State, they should have been grouped with States — North East and Hill States just as Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) or with other States just as Goa. When the Union Territory of J&K without legislature is included in the category of North East and Hill States, why not Puducherry and Delhi?

“The best course of action would have been clubbing of 36 States and UTs together without categorising them as is done by the present GGI study itself for the purpose of applying Dimensionless Index Method,” he said.

Equal weightage

Mr. Ramadass pointed out that sectors included for the analysis are incorrectly assigned equal weightage of 1 implying that all 9 sectors are of equal importance. Agriculture, for instance, is not of same significance to Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

The fact is that all nine indicators are of varying importance to all States and UTs and assigning equal weightage to the sectors would only distort the overall picture of ranking.

All UTs except Chandigarh suffer from inaccuracies in final score. In sum, among the 36 States and UTs considered for GGI, composite scores calculated by the government are inaccurate in the case of 35 States and UTs and also disrupt the ranking scale.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:16:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/ramadass-faults-ggi-methodology/article30539322.ece

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