Posted On   -   11-04-2018
The shady portrait of Karnataka’s Governance


Governance in Karnataka

Governance in Karnataka has been pretty stable, as the state has been one of the top ranked states in terms of governance for several years. The previous and present governments have focused on a corporate form of governance to maximise the revenue, while getting the job done by hook or crook. Several regions in the state have bore the brunt of crony capitalism, while cities like Bangalore, Hubli, and Mangalore have seen tremendous growth and development, regions like Raichur, Belagavi, and Kalaburagi lie on the opposite end of the development. The Siddaramaiah led-Karnataka government has taken substantive measures to improve the democratic aspect of governance, to usher in a collective development including the previously neglected regions of the state.

The economic disparity

 Karnataka’s GDP has been a major contributor in terms of state wise contribution to the Indian economy, as it contributes approximately 9% towards the Indian GDP. The state’s growth has resonated ever since the IT revolution hit the subcontinent shores, with capital Bangalore becoming the IT capital of India. There are certain regions of Karnataka that haven’t really benefited from the development taking place in the cities, and have often been neglected, while the government pushes the resources towards the revenue generating areas of Karnataka. Even though Karnataka stands at the 8th rank according to the 2015 Human Development Index , the state ranks low in HDI on several parameters, ranging from high Infant Mortality Rate to lowest rural per capita income compared to the rest of India. Karnataka’s growth story is a lesson for the other emerging states, the states can learn from the mistakes made by government to promote a region-biased development, while neglecting the backward areas. Karnataka slipped from 3rd place to 4th in the governance index in 2017, the study was conducted by Public Affair Centre, a central government agency which has been forming the Public Affairs Index on yearly basis since 2016.

Ingrained corruption in Karnataka

The persistent corruption and politcian-contractor nexus has seen the state being labeled as of the most corrupt states in India, and the state has an infamous history of political leaders and ministers being convicted for corruption charges. There have been several high profile scams such as illegal iron ore mining and illegal denotification of land that have rocked the politicians, while defaming the state’s reputation. Although the nexus has helped state generate large sums of revenue from the mining and infrastructure industries, contrary to that it has hindered the development of the rural and peripheral regions of the state. Corruption has dominated the political scenes in Karnataka, as the state is blessed with abundance of natural resources, thus giving birth to land mafias and private mining contractors, who utilise the loopholes present in the state’s function to maximise profit, even if it means bribing senior administrative officials or political leaders. The uneven development in Karnataka is a result of the biased working of state’s governance structure, although, recently the Karnataka chief Minister Siddaramaiah has made an attempt to improve the condition of governance in the state. He envisions on moving towards good governance model which is responsible for all inclusive development of the state.

Good governance – the way forward?

Good governance is a relatively new political concept that is based on several factors ranging from fair and effective participation in the government policy framing to a sustainable development of the state. Although, Karnataka’s economy is booming with the help of state’s IT sector and mineral resources, but the state needs to work on certain parameters in order to achieve holistic development. There are certain regions that have been often overlooked by the government, have been made to suffer, while the state ranks 18th in Public Affairs Index in terms of fiscal management. These neglected regions have a chance to make their plea heard during the upcoming elections, as political parties would be promising the people of good governance in the state.

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