The nation’s masses, while hearing the public speeches during the campaigns by contestants in the elections to both the country’s Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of many States that were conducted in 2014 and 2015, were assured various benefits if their respective parties got the mandate to form the government. Some of those benefits, concrete in word and deed, seem to have been realised to some extent. Two other assurances, abstract in nature, namely achhe din (good days) and good governance have suffered ridicule by the opposition both on the floor of the Legislative bodies and in public debates on various platforms across the country to the point of saying anything more on these assurances amounts to flogging the dead horse. The electorate also heard the more eloquent speakers of the ultimate victorious party chanting the slogan Less government, more governance. Which of these is more and which other is less shall always remain a puzzle.
Mysureans of the present generation may not get the full import of the statement by knowledgeable public speakers invoking on various occasions the name of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, whose four-decade rule of the State also earned adoration by Mahatma Gandhi likening the region as Ramarajya, bestowing a praise of epic proportions.
Rating a government for its performance and also assessing the quality of governance during the assigned tenure can both be objective and subjective depending on expectations of different sections of society and the extent of perceived fulfilment. The outcome of assessing the two related ingredients of democracy falls under a wide range with the opposition at one end and common people at the other. Even as the debate on the work and style of working of successive governments goes on till eternity, the government of the day prepares its data-based work report and presents it both for public consumption and on the floors of the Legislative bodies.
In the foregoing backdrop, the Bengaluru-based think tank Public Affairs Centre has come out with an index worked out by taking into account many parameters (infrastructure, human development, protection to women and children, crime, law and order, delivery of justice, environment, transparency, fiscal management, economic freedom) rating Kerala as the top-most State in providing good governance and Karnataka at the fifth place behind Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Himachal Pradesh. The exercise may or may not trigger public debate.