'Involve people in decision-making process'

NEW DELHI NOV. 9. The Cabinet Secretary, Kamal Pande, today called for evolving criteria to determine definitions of `public good' or `public interest' on the basis of public consensus and suggested that in the era of globalisation, Governments should create a level ground for the free play of market forces and also act as a promoter and regulator.

Delivering the valedictory address at the Second Specialised International Conference of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences here, he emphasised that Governments should promote the activities of positive stakeholders who conform to the growth and development of society.

But the negative stakeholders working against the interests of society should also be regulated.

Governments had to create awareness among the people about their environment and the best practices to protect it.

He called upon Governments to involve the people in the decision-making process while devising strategies for sustainable growth and development. For quality governance, the pillars should be accessibility and responsiveness, transparency and honesty, responsibility and accountability, participative decision-making process and maximising public well-being and satisfaction.

``It devolves upon the leadership of a country to ensure that the foundation of its good governance rests on these pillars. Without the political will, the idea and vision of quality governance will remain on paper.''

Lack of sustainable development in many parts of the world could be attributed primarily to flaws in the decision-making process.

Besides this, another factor for mass poverty in many nations could be `political compulsions', though Governments were not `insincere or incapable' of fighting poverty and ensuring sustainable development.

Mr. Pande stressed the need for proper consultation among the policy-makers and said that the people should not be forgotten in this process.

India had implemented a three-tier administrative system by institutionalising `panchayati raj' over a decade ago and this authorised people at the grass-root levels to decide on strategies for their development.

Phenomenal increase in population, changing consumption patterns and quantum rise in consumption of natural resources had occurred.

``We, as denizens of this planet, did not realise as to when we crossed the critical threshold where we started taking more from nature than what could be naturally replenished''.

This imbalance in consumption had upset the ecological balance resulting in various threats to environment and unexpected shortages of natural resources, he said.

The South African Public Service Minister, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, stressed the creation of an institutional mechanism for sustainable development and sought stringent steps to check corruption.

She, however, said that corruption was not just prevalent in the public sector the world over but in the private sector as well as had been witnessed in some recent cases where transnational corporations had been involved in bribery and other scandals.

She sought the creation of a global institutional mechanism for ensuring sustainable development that would have an impact on the poor.

The three-day conference, inaugurated by the Minister for Personnel, Vasundhara Raje, was attended by senior bureaucrats from several countries. The next annual conference would be held in Cameroon.

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