Curtain Raiser: NHRC National Seminar on "Good Governance, Development and Human Rights" at Teen Murti Bhawan, New Delhi on 21st-22nd September, 2017 (20.09.2017)

New Delhi, 20th September, 2017

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has been consistently highlighting any issue related to the promotion and protection of human rights. Good governance and development are the two such issues. The Commission is striving for being a catalyst to achieve good governance and sustainable development in the country, which may not be relevant without protection to human rights.

In this context, it is organizing a two day National Seminar on Good Governance, Development and Human Rights at Auditorium, Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, Teen Murti Bhawan, New Delhi on 21st - 22nd September, 2017.

NHRC Chairperson, Justice Shri H.L. Dattu will deliver the inaugural address. Shri Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister will deliver the presidential address in the inaugural session starting from 10.00 am on 21st September, 2017.

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister, Ministry of Law & Justice and Electronics and Information Technology will deliver the valedictory address in the concluding session starting from 1.00 pm on 22nd September, 2017.

The Seminar is divided into five technical sessions spread over two days. These will be chaired by NHRC Members and addressed as well as attended by different domain experts and top government functionaries from Centre, State Governments and Union Territories. The discussion will focus on the role of media in civil society in promoting good governance and human rights, discerning indicators of good governance, global best practices and impact of information technology on good governance, service delivery mechanism and measures to enhance transparency and accountability, health and Swacch Bharat initiatives, new paradigm and challenges in good governance with an Indian perspective.

This national seminar is the culmination of three regional workshops organized by the Commission on the subject in Shillong (Meghalaya), in Bangalore (Karnataka) and in Chandigarh (Punjab) respectively in order to discuss, among various stake holders, the different aspects related to good governance in the North-Eastern region, Southern region and Northern region of India. Each region had different as well as common issues. Important suggestions emerging from these consultations will be finalized and sent to the Government.

The objective of these consultations is to raise awareness among all stakeholders about the importance of good governance in relation to human rights and development. It will also provide a platform to discuss challenges in the way of good governance, identify them and devise ways to deal with them.

Good governance as a concept does not have a single exhaustive definition, nor is there a delimitation of its scope, that commands universal acceptance. However, there is a significant degree of consensus that good governance relates to political and institutional processes and outcomes that are deemed necessary to achieve the goals of development and is thus seen in terms not only of outcomes but also of processes.

In India, the concept of governance was decisively shaped by the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and the aspirations of founding fathers of the Constitution. The Directive Principles of State Policy remain guiding tool towards ensuring good governance. Thus, India has been striving for good governance since its independence and various steps have been taken towards this goal so far. However, corruption, lack of infrastructure and connectivity through transport and telecom remain major challenges, which can be resolved through better governance.

Therefore, good governance is a key to realization of human rights. Strong, transparent and accountable institutions - executive, legislature and judiciary are indispensable for the exercise of government in a way that promotes and protects human rights.

In the workshop organized at Chandigarh some of important suggestions were as follows: Identify the grievances of the people, which may be region specific, and make digital solutions for them. Have good feedback system and be responsive. Bring in change in mindsets & attitudes to implement new ideas. Vacancies of teachers, doctors etc should be filled, which have been lying vacant since long. Organised training for capacity building of all stake holders. Develop and maintain Seva and Suvidha Kendras at grass root level in a manner that these remain 'public service delivery centric'. The service delivery module should be based on 'single delivery system'. A 'social audit' of learning outcome and governance initiatives at regular intervals should be conducted. An access point at Panchayat level for education through technology should be created.

Some important suggestions from the workshop conducted in Karnataka were as follows: Minimize government and maximize governance through a collaborative and coordinated functioning of the three organs of democracy - legislature, executive and judiciary and by ensuring more participation from the citizens in the decision making process. The workshop also emphasized on various issues like combating corruption, providing training and awareness to different stakeholders, motivating private players to protect and promote rights of employees and marginalized sections to ensure good governance. Develop national data bank for migrant workers and improvement of prisons was also suggested.

In the workshop on good governance in north-east region of India at Meghalaya (Shillong), some of the important suggestions included opportunities for enabling sustainable development by ensuring peace and security in the region. It was also suggested that public affair index may be used to gauge the performance of governments towards good governance and development. It was also proposed that human rights should be brought in curriculum as one of the subjects at primary, secondary, graduate and post-graduate level. Some other suggestions were on the need for identifying 'development gaps', simplifying legal jargons for common man's understanding and creating single window system for quick delivery of services. It was also recommended to incorporate a few changes to enhance the efficiency of the working of the police departments.

With this national seminar, the NHRC aims to strengthen the ground for furtherance of human rights awareness and attainment of good governance on a sustainable basis.