Good Governance Index (GGI) – Indicators, Highlights, Significance & Limitations

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On December 25th, 2019, the Minister of State for Public Grievance and Pensions Dr. Jitendra Singh had launched the Good Governance Index on Good Governance Day, which is observed on the birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The GGI is said to have been “scientifically designed” on various parameters of governance with an emphasis on citizen-centricity.

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What is governance?

  • The United Nations Development Programme defines governance as “the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises of the mechanisms, processes and institutions, through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate differences”.
  • World Bank’s definition states that governance is “the method through which power is exercised in the management of a country’s political, economic and social resources for development”.
  • However, in the current times, higher emphasis is given to issues of governance like transparency, accountability and judicial reforms.
  • In short, issues related to good governance are gaining more popularity in recent years.

How is governance different from the government?

  • Governance is what a government does.
  • Here the governance may mean geopolitical governance, corporate governance, socio-political governance etc.

What are the different aspects of governance?

The term “governance” is very broad and thus includes all formal and informal organisations. It includes a wide range of aspects and some of them are as follows:

Public Governance:

  • It is the relationship between the government and other actors within the social sphere and it includes the process of decision making in the public policy sphere.
  • It ensures:
  • Securing of the nation’s territorial integrity
  • Rule of Law
  • Delivery of services like education, health, employment opportunities, food security
  • The public governance is undertaken in three broad ways:
  • Through top to bottom method
  • Through public-private partnership (PPP) or through collaboration with community organisations
  • Using market mechanism whereby competition within the market serves to allocate resources while operating under government regulation.

Private governance:

  • Private governance occurs when private entities make rules/standards that have binding effects on quality of life and opportunity of the larger public.
  • For example, insurance companies exert a greater societal impact.

Global governance:

  • It refers to the complex formal and informal institutions, mechanisms, relationships and processes between and among nations, markets, citizens and organisations.
  • It can be both intergovernmental and non-governmental, through which collective interests at the global level are voiced, rights and obligations established and differences mediated.
  • Examples: UN Global Compact brings together companies on one platform, UN agencies, labour organisations, and civil societies for advocating environmental and social principles.

Corporate governance:

  • This termed describes the manner of governance and the laws/customs of the corporations.
  • The corporate governance is influenced by shareholders, management, the board of directors and other stakeholders like employees, suppliers, customers, creditors, banks and the government.

Project governance:

  • The term is commonly used in the IT sector to describe the processes that are essential for the success of a project.

Environmental governance:

  • This term describes all processes of governing that specifically focuses on environmental protection and sustainability.
  • It encompasses all environment-related laws, bodies, rules, regulations, stakeholders and public at large.

Internet governance:

  • The World Summit on the Information Society defined internet governance as “the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the internet.”
  • It deals with how much influence each sector of society should have on the development of the internet, such as to what extent a state should censor it and how issues on the internet like cyber-bullying should be dealt with.

Electronic governance/E-Governance:

  • It refers to the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to deliver government services, exchange of information, communication, integration of stand-alone systems and services between government-to-customers (G2C), government-to-business (G2B), and government-to-government (G2G) as well as back-office processes and interactions within the entire government framework.

IT governance:

  • It mostly deals with the connections between business focus and IT management.
  • It aims to ensure increased investment in IT to generate business and address risks associated with the IT projects.

Participatory governance:

  • It focuses on the promotion of citizens’ participation in the processes of governance to promote the value of democracy.
  • in is a platform that promotes participatory governance.


  • It is a normative concept that refers to “governing of governing”.
  • It denotes the ethical principles that shape the whole of the governing processes.

Good Governance:

  • It is a normative concept that defines how the government ought to conduct public policies and manage public resources.
  • It promotes public participation, human rights, rule of law, multi-actor partnerships, accountable processes, political pluralism, transparency, legitimacy, effective and efficient working of the public sectors, improved access to information and education, political empowerment of the people, equality, sustainability and attitudes and values that foster responsibility, solidarity and tolerance.

What is Good Governance Index?

  • On December 25, 2019, the Indian government had launched the Good Governance Index (GGI).
  • December 25, the birth anniversary of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is observed as the Good Governance Day since 2014.
  • The GGI is a tool that seeks to assess the status of governance and the impact of interventions by the governments of all States and UTs.
  • Several principles were taken into consideration while selecting the indicators. That is, it should be easily understandable and calculable, citizen-centric and result-driven so that it allows for improved results and is applicable to all states and UTs.
  • Its objectives are:
  • To provide quantifiable data to compare the state of governance in all states and UTs;
  • To promote improved governance by enabling all the states and UTs to formulate and implement necessary strategies;
  • To shift towards result-oriented approach and administration.

How is GGI calculated?

  • The GGI considers 10 sectors. They are agriculture and allied sectors, commerce and industries, human resource development, public health, public infrastructure and utilities, economic governance, social welfare and development, judicial and public security, environment and citizen-centric governance.
  • These governance sectors are measures based on a total of 50 indicators that are given different weight under one governance sector to calculate the value.

Highlights of GGI:

  • The states and UTs were divided into three groups:
  • Big States
  • North East and hill states
  • Union Territories
  • In the big states category, Tamil Nadu had topped the Good Governance Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh followed it.
  • The bad performers in this category include Odisha, Bihar, Goa and Uttar Pradesh. Jharkhand was ranked last in this list.
  • Himachal Pradesh had topped the North East and hill states category. It is followed by Uttarakhand, Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim.
  • The bad performers in this category are Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Among the UTs, Puducherry bagged the first position, followed by Chandigarh, Delhi, Daman and Diu and Andaman and the Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep.

Agriculture and allied ranking:

  • The best performing states in big states category are Madhya Pradesh (1st position), Rajasthan (2nd position) and Chhattisgarh (3rd position).
  • Mizoram topped the north-east and hills category.
  • Daman and Diu is the best performer in the UT category.
  • This finding is based on several parameters like food grain production, milk and meat production, horticulture production and crop insurance.

Commerce and Industries:

  • The top performers of this category are Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • Among the north-east and hill states, Uttrakhand has the top rank.
  • Delhi is at the first rank in the UT category.

Human Resource Development sector:

  • Goa has topped this category among the big states.
  • Among the north-east and hill states, Himachal Pradesh was given the top rank.
  • Puducherry is at the first place among the UTs for this sector.

Public Health Sector:

  • Kerala, followed by Tamil Nadu and Goa are in the top positions among the big states.
  • Manipur and Puducherry got the top rank in the north-east and hill states, and the UTs categories.

Infrastructure and Utilities sector:

  • Tamil Nadu has been ranked first in this sector followed by Gujarat and Punjab among the big states.
  • Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh have got the top slot in the north-east and hill states category and UT category respectively.

Economic governance:

  • Karnataka got the top position among the big states.
  • Uttarakhand and Delhi got the top rank in the north-east and hills category and UT category respectively.

Social Welfare and Development:

  • Chhattisgarh has gotten the first position in this sector among the big states.
  • Meghalaya and Daman and Diu topped the north-east and hills states and UTs categories respectively.

Judicial and Public Security sector:

  • In this sector, Tamil Nadu got the top position among the big states.
  • Himachal Pradesh is at the first position among the north-east and hill states and Puducherry got the top slot among the UTs.

Environment Sector:

  • Under this sector, West Bengal got the first position, followed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu among the big states.
  • Jammu and Kashmir is in the first place among the north-east and hill states.
  • Chandigarh topped the UT category.

Citizen-Centric Governance:

  • This sector was not included in the scoring and ranking because, at present, there is only one indicator that is identified as a part of this sector.

What is the significance of the GGI:

  • The findings of the GGI’s first edition are significant in many respects.
  • Although Tamil Nadu has always had a reputation of being a better-run state, it was not ranked first in any of the similar studies until now.
  • Its strength has been its ability to ensure stable and smooth delivery of services without much delay.
  • Its neighbours, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were also the top performers among the 18 big states.
  • It is well known that the south has always been ahead of the other states in numerous parameters related to development.
  • The most significant finding of this study is that the dubiously labelled “BIMARU” states are among the toppers in several indicators.
  • BIMARU states may include Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand
  • Of the nine sectors, Rajasthan has a position among the top 10 states in five sectors, Madhya Pradesh in four and Uttar Pradesh in three.
  • In the agriculture and allied sectors, almost all BIMARU states are among the top 10 performing states and in human resource development, UP and Bihar hold respectable positions.
  • In the composite ranking, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are ranked fourth and ninth respectively.
  • From this, it is evident that these northern states can catch up with others in due course of time if the political leadership is willing to overcome the historical obstacles and stay focused on the development of the people.

What are the limitations of the GGI?

  • Any index of this nature is bound to have some defects, at least in the first round.
  • Some indicators like farmers’ income, the prevalence of micro-irrigation or water conservation systems and inflow of industrial investment have not been included in this index.
  • The “ease of doing business” indicator has been given disproportionate weight in the commerce and industry sector, to the near exclusion of growth rate of major and MSME enterprises.
  • There is also the unceasing debate over which indicator, process-based or outcome-based, should get more importance in the study.
  • Despite these shortcomings, it is noteworthy that the Union Government has attempted to address the problem of the absence of a credible and uniform index for an objective evaluation of the states and UTs.
  • It is understood that the GGI requires further fine-tuning and improvement.
  • Yet, that does not take away the characteristic strength of the work that has been accomplished, keeping in mind India’s size and complexity.


The Good Governance Index is necessary to understand Indian federal governance’s limitations and progress. It not only helps us understand the progress made by the states and UTs but also promotes competitive federalism – a vital tool to promote the growth of the country by incentivising the States and UT governments to make their people’s welfare the top priority.

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The recently released Good Governance Index is a vital tool to promote competitive federalism. Elucidate.

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