DailyPost 2655

A term which is rarely used but is a reality at differential levels and all us have experienced it in some form or the other. What is governance vacuum? It is lack of governance when the structures, mechanism and all externalities of government look normal and functional. It is the not the total lack of it, but just a semblance of it. The core deliverables of governance are found missing and also the ease with which mandated services are expected to reach the masses. All the human resources top to bottom from the political executive to the lowly government functionary adorn their offices.

With all around, smooth, seamless and responsive governance is missing. The magic glue of governance transforming government into an administrative machine is found missing. To cover governance vacuum there are variety of ways, and most of them have been perfected by governments over the ages and they practice it to the best of their advantage. The governance vacuum while be fully there, you are made to believe that it does not exist and that everything in hunky-dory. It is the creation of a smokescreen which does not allow you to see empirically the missing elements of governance or facilitate you to see it in a different light.

The ultimate test of governance vacuum is the lack of ability by the electorate / citizenry to ask or demand and worse still if it is demanded the powers that be smallest to the biggest are able to ride roughshod. Responsiveness and transparency go missing and so does accountability. A governance of brick and mortar is what you are made to believe in, in reality it should exactly be the opposite. The will and attitude should take the lead and quite naturally then everything follows. Turning a blind eye to issues which are hitting right in the face are the ultimate manifestation of governance vacuum. There were vast tracts of land in Naxalite dominated areas, where governance used to visit only during elections.

When life hangs in a balance and the cry for help cannot become shriller, we find governments fighting amongst themselves to find out who was at fault, when nearly always both have been at fault. Think of natural disasters happening out of human greed and a conniving government too eager to placate. An incomplete flyover hangs in a balance in the middle of Bangalore for years together, is an example of governance vacuum. Missing governance has become the norm and it has made cover page stories at times. Think of the governance vacuum leading lack of quality education in large number of government schools and of health care in our government run hospitals, when quality health care is everyone’s right. And what about air quality in our national capital.

Sanjay Sahay

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