Abstract This paper makes an effort to provide a framework for good governance in India by identifying its essential features and shortcomings in its working and emphasizes need for innovative approaches. No theory of governance could be intelligible unless it is seen in the context of its time. India’s democratic experience of the past six decades has clearly established that good governance must aim at expansion of social opportunities and removal of poverty. Good governance, according to the author, means securing justice, empowerment, employment and efficient delivery of services. The paper deals with these subjects in detail and also analyses administrative and political faultlines. It identifies criminalization of politics and corruption as two major challenges. It also highlights shifts in meaning and content of national values of the freedom movement particularly those of nationalism, democracy, secularism, non-alignment, and mixed economy and its impact on the nitty gritty of administration as well as on the intellectual build up of the organs of the Indian State. The paper lists several areas of concern that need to be addressed energetically and calls for synergy of efforts between government, the market and the civil society. Innovations are generally taking place. There are, however, two areas that need special attention by innovators, namely, economic empowerment of women and livelihood programmes based on local resources and upgraded skills. The need is to formulate a national strategy that accords primacy to the Gandhian principle of ‘antodaya’ without sacrificing growth and by making instruments of State accountable for good governance.
Meaning As a student of political science, one was taught that the essential features of the State included: (i) a definite territory; (ii) population; (iii) government; and (iv) sovereignty. The government is