What is probity? What is probity in governance? What is the purpose and importance of probity in governance? Are there any measures to ensure the probity in governance? How does it cater to the need for good governance? Are there any ways to improve probity in governance? These are some of the questions we are going to address in the coming article and have a deeper understanding of the topic.
Let us understand it with an example.
Customers of all types go to banks. Some clients take out loans totaling thousands of crores of rupees but do not repay the debt. Then some borrow very little money—perhaps a few thousand rupees—and repay it all at once.
Lal Bahadur Shastri, the first prime minister of India, borrowed Rs 5,000 from the Punjab National Bank in 1965 to purchase a Fiat automobile.
Before he could pay back the money, he passed away in Tashkent in 1966. His widow Lalita Shastri received a letter from the bank requesting repayment of the Rs 5,000 loan that her late husband owed. The woman agreed to repay the debt with payments from her family pension. She paid back all 5,000 rupees in full.
At his house, the Fiat automobile is still there, serving as a reminder of a time when men were a “different species.”
The above incident is a classic example of probity.
What is Probity?
Probity is defined as a complete and confirmed integrity having strong moral principles. It is strict adherence to a code of ethics based on undeviating honesty. Never resorting to illicit practices or cheating during an exam can be good examples of probity.
Probity reflects the maximalist method of living, in which one upholds the greatest goals and beliefs, as opposed to merely refraining from engaging in unethical or corrupt action in one’s personal and professional life.
What is Probity in governance?
Probity in governance is defined as the adherence to ethical and moral values like honesty and integrity.
It refers to procedural integrity with a high level of ethical standards which is very important in the governance system, and for the socio-economic development and the welfare of the people of the country.
Strong actions by the IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal against the land scam and sand mafia racket in Uttar Pradesh is a real-life example of probity in governance.
The passing of the Social Audit by the Meghalaya government will further help in increasing the level of probity.
Why do we need Probity in the governance system?
It helps in preserving the confidence of the public in the government and enhances the public trust in the governance system of the country.
Probity helps in maintaining the integrity upright in the public service of the nation, which is the bedrock of the governance system.
It helps in avoiding the potential if any for misconduct and corruption and also helps in ensuring compliance with the processes and accountability in the governance system.
How to ensure probity in the governance?
To make someone high on probity it becomes important to provide them with proper training on moral ethics so that they are inspired, and reflected in the governance. Moral education can help in ensuring it. For example, training can be given to avoid bribes.
Accountability can play a positive role, when an individual is expected to give answers and is answerable to the higher authorities then they avoid performing acts that are not correct which ultimately transforms into good governance. For example, social audits help in ensuring accountability and thus result in probity.
Transparency is an integral part of any organization, it compels the state and the civil society to look into rules and have clear objectives, monitor and report on the performance.
Compulsory display of the citizen’s charter in the government offices under the right to information act can help in ensuring probity.
Probity is maintained by formulating and implementing the code of conduct and adhering to the model code of conduct for the ministers, bureaucracy, civil society groups, etc. For example, the Indian army maintained the code of conduct in the treatment of the Pakistani prisoners of war with respect to their living quarters and food.
We can allow the different stakeholders the participation in various decision-making processes via public hearings, capacity building of citizens, and so on.
Merely making rules and regulations will not help, we need effective laws, rules, and regulations governing every feature and its effective implementation. For example, following covid distancing norms during the lockdown period.
Strong anti-corruption machinery with real and effective power is the need of the hour to probe government officials and high-level politicians. Ashish Tiwari, an IPS officer along with smart policing 2018 introduced smart governance through low-cost initiatives to weed out corruption.
All the people and the organizations interacting with an organization are expected to be impartial at every stage of the process. For example, recruitment procedures conducted by Union public service commission ensures impartiality at every stage of the process.
Transformational leadership mighty help, for example, the salt satyagraha led by Mahatma Gandhi where he motivated thousands of people for a common goal can be the best example.
Emotional intelligence can be a useful tool as it helps in understanding and managing emotions. People with high emotional intelligence know what they are feeling and these emotions can affect others.
Lastly, participative democracy can be the best way forward as it is concerned with ensuring that citizens are provided the opportunity to directly participate and be involved in the decisions that affect their lives.
Measures taken by the government
Prevention of corruption act 1988 defines a public servant combining the purview of corruption and bribes.
The right to information act helps probity in governance through citizen activism. Even the second ARC considers the RTI act as the master key to good governance.
The central vigilance commission advises the government in matters related to the maintenance of integrity in the governance system.
Lokpal and Lokayukta act 2013 provide an institution of ombudsman which helps in enquiring the allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and the matters related to them.
Probity in governance is an essential tool for an efficient and effective system of governance and the socio-eco-development and welfare of society.
Article written by Chetna Yadav.