Accountability: Angst, Awareness, Action

By Jay P. Desai | 15 March, 2012 | PEARSON

India is poised at a crucial juncture in its post-independence history. Accountability, the heartbeat of governance, is under siege. The epidemic of unaccountability lurks beneath India’s myriad tragedies, conquering the spirit of the citizen and constraining India from unlocking its full economic and social potential. The misgovernance so vividly visible today is a strong signal that India’s liberal democracy is disobeying the principles of its grand design. Citizens are deeply concerned about the state of their nation, but unsure what role they can play in improving accountability.

This book was written to increase the public understanding of ‘accountability’. Jay P. Desai asks very important questions: How did accountability historically evolve in India; can accountability be measured; how does India rank against other countries; does accountability impact economic and social performance; does our socio-cultural fabric influence accountability; and what role do existing accountability mechanisms and institutions play in strengthening, or weakening the four foundations of accountability?

The author constructs a three-dimensional lens with which he examines the mechanisms that hold our governance institutions accountable. Six initiatives that can improve our accountability in India are identified and evaluated. Citizens can play a key role in strengthening accountability, using the five-fold path set out. Desai explains why a burst of governance reforms are sorely needed and describes how the journey of accountability will play out over the next few decades.

Those who read this book will transit from a state of angst about accountability, to one of awareness and finally into action. India will then truly make its ‘tryst with destiny’.

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