Need for Probity in Governance
In a democracy, probity espouses the principles of equality before the law and respect for the
rights and duties of leaders towards their citizens. Conversely, probity is a societal expectation
which citizens demand from decision-makers and all those who function as a part of the state’s
It is a shared belief that the adoption of standards like “accountability”, “transparency” and
“responsiveness” will lead to clean and efficient governance. However, standards do not, by
themselves, ensure ethical behavior: which requires a robust culture of integrity and probity
in public life. The crux of ethical behavior does not lie only in standards, but in their
adoption in action and in issuing sanctions against their violation.
The need for probity in governance can be understood as follows:
• Legitimacy of the system: Foremost, it helps build up the legitimacy of the system, i.e. the
state. It builds trusts in the institutions of the state and a belief that the actions of the state
will be for the welfare of the beneficiaries.
• Trust building through ethical outcomes: It leads to prudent and ethical outcomes and
building of trust over time.
• Objectivity: It provides for an objective and an independent view on the fairness of the
• Checks and balances: It helps in checking the abuse and misuse of power by various organs
of government such as magistracy, police, and all other providers of public service e.g. PWD, health, education, etc.
• Equitable and sustainable development: It is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective system of governance and for socio-economic development.
• To serve the constitutional cause: Probity in Governance is required to serve the motto of
Constitution. i.e. to provide Social, Political, and economic justice to all. It enhances faith in
• Reduced politicization of bureaucracy: It helps address nepotism, Favoritism, Political
partisanship. Public reposes more trust in governance and therefore it facilitates
participatory governance. It leads to avoidance of sub-optimal outcomes, corruption and
The famous economist Mehboob-Ul-Haq remarked that corruption existed everywhere but it
is a greater cause of worry in South Asia because it is exploitative and feeds on the helpless
Through instilling a sense of morality in the people and their representatives is a long-term
a process that needs immediate attention, some legislative measures can be designed with
an utmost urgency to ensure probity in governance.
According to the National Commission to Review the Working of Constitution’s (NCRWC,
2002) report on ‘Probity in governance:
• ‘An important requisite for ensuring probity in governance is the absence of corruption. The
other requirements are effective laws, rules, and regulations governing every aspect of
public life and, more important, effective and fair implementation of those laws, etc.
• The NCRWC made suggestions on ways to enforce probity in governance, specifically on
legal and procedural aspects to control the menace of corruption.
Thus, Probity in governance is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective
system of governance and for socio-economic development.
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