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Monday, April 08, 2013

Governance for public good - Summary of 12th APPR Conference

Good Governance for public good

Simply put "Governance" means: the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented and “Good governance” denotes a delivery mechanism adopted by a good government to ensure public good. 
In analysis, “Good governance” is an indeterminate term used in international development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realization of human rights. Governance describes "the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented". The term governance can apply to corporate, international, national, local governance or to the interactions between other sectors of society.
The concept of "good governance" often centers on the responsibility of Governments and governing bodies to meet the needs of the masses as opposed to select groups in society. Because the term ‘good governance’ can be focused on any one form of governance, the authorities often focus the meaning of good governance to a set of requirement that conform to the organizations agenda, making "good governance" imply many different things in many different contexts.
Three institutions can be reformed to promote good governance: the state, the private sector and civil society. However, amongst various cultures, the need and demand for reform can vary depending on the priorities of the society. Each movement for reform establishes criteria for what they consider good governance based on their own needs and agendas.
The United Nations emphasizes reform through human development and political institution reform. According to the UN, good governance has eight characteristics. Thus good governance is -
  • Consensus Oriented
  • Participatory
  • Following the Rule of Law
  • Effective and Efficient
  • Accountable
  • Transparent
  • Responsive
  • Equitable and Inclusive

Here is the summary of conference, session-wise
Dr CV Narasimha Reddi, Editor, PR Voice; [National President Emeritus, PRSI & Former Director, I & PR Dept., Govt of AP] in his presidential address explained that according to Confucius, the Chinese philosopher ‘good governance’  lies in three areas (1) feeding the people (2) possessing the weaponry (3) enjoying the trust of the people. When his disciples asked for the most indispensable of the three, Confucius clarified that weapons can be dropped, food can be delayed for a period, but the trust of the people cannot be lost even for a moment.  He recalled that good governance are not new to Indian rulers as “Satyameva Jayate”, “Bahujana hithaya, bahujana sukhaya” are indicative of the characteristics of good governance. Dr Reddi quoted the results of a survey by a media house as (1) Bureaucracy is the worst element in Indian Democracy (2) Politicians have slipped down ethically and that Corruption is the cause for decrease in growth rate.
Quoting Confucius “Rotten wood cannot be carved” Dr Reddi opined that PR Practitioners should never be under a wrong notion that Public Relations can repair any damage. Thus the challenges for communication in the process of good governance are many and it needs a deeper insight, he said. 
The 15th Anniversary issue of Public Relations Voice with the cover story “Events as PR Tools” edited by Dr CV Narasimha Reddi was released by the Chief Guest marking the inauguration of the Conference.

Chief Guest: Justice B Subhashan Reddy, Hon’ble Lokayukta of Andhra Pradesh [Former Chief Justice of Madras & Kerala High Courts] in his inaugural address observed that Public Relations needs a set of rules to regulate the profession and an Academy to equip its practitioners with skills to publicize the policies of the Govt that are meant for the welfare of the people. Information is the oxygen of Democracy and hence all those involved in dissemination of public information will have to be equipped with necessary inputs and updates, for which continuous learning is a must, he felt. He advised Public Relations Society of India to approach the Govt with a plea for establishing an Academy. This is because a professional needs proper orientation towards the task and it is possible only in the established institutions and not through conferences, he opined. Mal-administration is anti-thesis to good governance. Non-implementation of laws is mal-administration. The golden Act, RTI replaced the ‘Writ of mandamus’. It empowered the public and it is a gesture of good governance.
Session – I: Topic:  “Good Governance – Expectations and Realities”
National awards were presented to the winners, both institutions and individuals, in various categories.
Presiding the valedictory session, Dr. CV Narasimha Reddi  -

Information is the oxygen of democracy. The public has a right to know about the actions and decisions of their leaders at all levels and the availability of detailed information is an essential element of democracy and good government”. Thus, to ensure ‘Good governance’ what is conducive is a democratic form of Government, where the public opinion is honored and where public are assured with several fundamental rights.

In the process of carrying public information to the destination publics, back and forth, several communication hurdles are being faced by the Public Relations Practitioners. At the instance of the Legendary PR Personality, none other than Dr CV Narasimha Reddi, Hyderabad Chapter of Public Relations Society of India has organized its 12th State Level conference on the theme: “Good Governance: Challenges for Public Relations Communication” on 9th Feb 2012 at Hotel Green Park, Greenlands, Hyderabad in order to understand as to what is ‘good governance’ vis-à-vis the role to be played by PR Practitioners in its deliverance.

Inaugural Session
Sri N L Narasimha Rao, Chairman of the Hyderabad Chapter welcomed the gathering saying that he and his colleagues are fortunate enough to organize this 12th Andhra Pradesh Public Relations Conference on a subject that needs explanation by the experts. He said, if the releasing of 15th Anniversary issue of “PR Voice” marks the beginning, the winners of various categories of competitions taking away the prizes towards the end of the day, will enrich the Conference. 

Sri Y Babji, National Vice President (South), PRSI while conveying the wishes of Dr Ajit Pathak, National President and the  greetings of the National Vice Presidents of West, North & East said that Hyderabad Chapter , in its 42 years of existence has always kept its members updated with relevant knowledge by organizing various professional programs. Through the 11 State level conferences conducted so far, the Chapter has recognized and promoted the best PR practices and products.

He recalled how an Act made in 2002 making the registration of marriages compulsory became dormant and not even a single marriage has been registered in the State as envisaged in the Act, for the reason that public is not aware of this Act.  In addition to Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles, the constitutional amendments in 1976 provided for Fundamental Duties, but so far, not many know about this. This is because of poor knowledge of laws & information. Here lies the role of PR. This void can be avoided if a strong and regulated public relations network is in place, he hoped.

Session Chairman: Dr CGK Murthy, IIS (Rtd), Former Director, Press Information Bureau, GOI

·         All the five elements of the nature are meant for all the thing - both living and non-living
·         Human beings enjoy all the comforts envisaged equally for all the living things
·         Polity is referred to as Rajadharma or Rasthradharma
·         Dharma is not an invention of the man, but instituted by the Almighty for common good of all the living things
·         Sarvaloka Sangraha is nothing but the present day buzz-word Lok Kalyan
·         Common good is taller than individual good, hence the need for governance
·         Good governance lies in converting people’s expectations into realities

Keynote Speaker: Sri M Gopalakrishna, IAS (Rtd), Former Spl. Chief Secretary to Govt. of AP

·         Veda is a distilled wisdom of mankind
·         Dharma gathers people together to uphold values
·         ‘Sadachara’ is the present day standards of ISO
·         Good governance is “suparipalana”
·         There is a lot of difference between administration & governance
·         There is more to govern than governance
·         People expect that their problems be solved, dissolved and resolved Governance shall have a right direction like a compass and deliver services with precision like a  clock
·         For good governance Political will, Managerial skill & Public good will are necessary conditions
·         Being the art of social science, Public Relations calls for Homework, Hard work, Smart work, Teamwork and Network

Dr. J. Chennaiah, Asst. Professor & PRO, Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad has convened this session.

Session – II: Topic:  Right to Information Act – The oxygen of Indian Governance

Session Chairman: Sri K Chandramouli, IAS, Commissioner, AMR-AP Academy of Rural Development, Govt of AP

·         Swaraj is not an authority by a few.
·         An aware community is the key to good governance
·         The test of RTI is on how much the common man benefits from it.
·         RTI propels good governance.
·         The Right to Information is considered as the  5th Pillar of democracy and is used as the killer of corruption.
·         Right to know, as a tool to access public held information, has significant bearing on good governance.

Keynote Speaker: Prof Madabhushi Sridhar, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad

·         Good governance is governance by discussion & not merely discretion.
·         Discussions always lead to good decisions.
·         Pet animals, Farm animals & Wild animals is a method of categorizing the animals, but among the pet animals there can be mild animals and wild animals and this can be decided only upon giving reasons about their mildness or wildness in the event of a liability.
·         ‘Why’ is a good question. If this question isn’t there, the ‘apple that Adam ate’, the ‘Newton’s apple’ and the ‘Steve’s apple’ have not answered several mundane issues.
·         A Public Information Officer under RTI Act will disseminate information of an ‘Authority’ where as a Public Relations Officer of an ‘Organization’  will handle information  both as feedback and feed-forward.

Smt. S Sujatha, Asst Producer, EMRC, Osmania University, Hyderabad convened this session

Session – III: Topic: Good Governance – A blueprint for effective PR Communication

Session Chairman: Sri Krishna Baji, Former Manager (PR), Hyderabad Metro Development Authority.

·         The characteristics of Good governance in India are in conformity with our values and ethics
·         This country is looked from two different angles. One is ‘India’ and the other is ‘Bharat’
·         Insiders look at it as ‘Bharat’ which is enriched with its cultural heritage
·         Outsiders view it as ‘India’, which is potential in all aspects
·         PR communication, therefore, shall keep this in mind

Keynote Speaker: Sri Mathew Joseph, Director, SHARPX Corporate Training & Consultancy Services, Hyderabad

·         Governance like Public Relations is a management function where preference ought to be given to feed back.
·         A pig is comfortable in mud slurry. In governing, this shall be kept in mind
·         The e-procurement of goods and services introduced by Govt of AP in 2002 is smart governance in tune with Corporate governance
·         Anna Hazare movement is an indication that people wanted corporate governance

Smt. B Aruna, Chief (CorpCom), M/s Sri Krishna Group, Hyderabad convened this session.

·         PRO in India, by and large, is a technician and not a strategic manager
·         PR has an identity crisis, unlike Journalism, HR and such other professions
·         India will have 50 States by 2020 as predicted by Times of India and hence there is lot of scope for the PR profession to develop.
·         There is a need to have an Academy to educate PROs so that, in turn, they inform and transform the society

Chief Guest: Sri Kantilal Dande, Director of Tourism, Govt of AP –

·         Good governance is possible only when there is information sufficiency
·         Information about the Government can be better reached through various PR exercises
·         Information mechanism of the Country should enlighten the common man about his rights & responsibilities
·         For promoting Democratic governance and Right to development, strengthening of information regime shall be the first priority
·         50 States by 2020 may be prophesying, but it would be better if 50 lakh Information Officers are trained to eradicate information poverty in the country.

Sri NL Narasimha Rao, the host chapter Chairman saw to the presentation of the awards to the winners.

Sri DV Subba Rao, Secretary of the Chapter in his proposal of vote of thanks conveyed his gratitude to all the sponsors & advertisers and thanked the delegates, Guests, speakers and the Media.

Y. Babji,
National Vice President (South),
Public Relations Society of India