Countdown to elections for the 17th Lok Sabha seems to have started early. The sense of purpose that is normally seen six months or so ahead of the elections is already in the air with a year still to go. Positions are being taken and parleys have started. As far as the electorate is concerned, there is a sense of unease, which perhaps has not been able to find a concrete ground. Locating the source of unease and addressing the concerns will determine who can effectively form the next government.
In the post truth era, the fourth estate has become a cacophony of claims and counter claims. The more strident and partisan the views, the more likely such a person is to be in the news and live under the delusion of shaping opinion. This is what has resulted in the emergence of alternative media, which is likely to get stronger as we get closer to the elections.
The loss of credibility of media, more so the electronic media is far more than the loss of credibility of politicians. This then has created a peculiar and refreshing situation where evidence on performance comes at a higher premium than vote bank considerations.
This is where credible third party research and reports will be at a premium. SKOCH has been doing this for well over a decade with its annual State of Governance Report Card, making it the only credible timeline study of governance, based on actual delivery; keeping a tab on states’ performance in governance and hailing successes and taking note of room for improvement. Applying bottoms-up methods to assess and evaluate the impact and outcomes of such interventions from a citizen’s perspective has been the hallmark of SKOCH State of Governance Report Card released annually. Largely, compared to a few years ago, almost all states have performed well and improved upon their previous growth indicators, including Health, Sanitation, Waste Management, Governance & Development, e-Governance, Finance, Municipal Governance, Rural Development and so on. Innovation, scale and outcome orientation have become the drivers for the states’ performance.
While this issue brings you the State of Governance Report Card as of September 2017, we continue to work on measuring the improvements in governance and the next Report Card will be released before elections covering the interim period. As a run up to the elections, which are likely to be announced ahead of completing the 16th Lok Sabha’s full-term, this Assessment and Report Card will then become an invaluable resource and reckoner for both the Central Government and the States.