Jayal and Kothari on The Concept of Governance

The observations made by academicians like Adrian Leftwich, Niraja Gopal Jayal and Rajni Kothari are much relevant in the context of debate on crisis and governance. Leftwich dismissed Banks agenda as continuation of its technicist illusion, a kind of neo-managerialism surrounding more difficult spheres of political management of ‘development’ in the developing countries. He further argued that development is fundamentally a political matter and that it is illusory to conceive of good governance as independent of the forms of politics and type of state which alone can generate, sustain and protect it. Niraja Gopal Jayal also expressed the same kind of opinion by emphasising that good governance is inherently valuable, it is a political value which must be negotiated by the political community in question, and speak to the relations between citizen and state. To accomplish this independently of democratic political processes, is impossible.

In his article ‘Under Globalisation’, Rajni Kothari opined that there was a convergence of the views of some intellectuals on the crisis of governability and the concerns of foreign investors and international institutions regarding demands from the labouring classes. While tracing the roots of the debate on ‘governability’ in India, Kothari argues that the crisis of ‘governance’ in contemporary India comes from the state’s efforts to stifle the initiatives of the poor and the marginalised by ruling on a ‘techno-managerial structure’.

Kothari claimed that this ‘crisis’ has been the result of the several facets of the reviewed dogma of ‘development’ by the World Bank, which is fundamentally apolitical. In consequence, as Kothari argues that ‘it has gradually become inimical to any large-scale participation of the people, and decentralisation of power, has supported a high degree of centralisation verging on authoritarian governance and in the process eroded the diversity and plurality of traditional societies’. All this is further moving towards the end logic of the global development paradigm, giving more importance to the processes of world accumulation than to distribution and dispersal of economic and technological resources across regions and classes.

In this context, the growing pressures and demands from masses against the de-humanised conception of development were perceived by some sections of the elite and some intellectuals as becoming problematic to governance. For these sections of society, as Rajni Kothari commented, pressures, and demands from one’s own people are more dangerous than the pressures and demands coming from foreign corporations, institutions like the World Bank and IMF.

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