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Accountable, Responsive and Legitimate Government

When we talk about a government it has to be...

  • Efficient 
  • Effective 
  • Accountable 
  • Responsible 
  • Responsive 
  • Legitimate

Now let us see what these qualities stand for.



An efficient government should be well-organised, resourceful, competent and capable of governing the country in the best possible way.


An effective government should be able to perform its duties without delay. It should be able to implement projects for the betterment of its citizens.


An accountable government is answerable to its citizens. It is responsible for all the decisions it makes on behalf of its citizens.



A responsible government should make decisions that are useful to a majority of its citizens. The government has to accept responsibility for wrong decisions and rectify them immediately.



A legitimate government should be a lawful government were all the laws of the land are applicable to all its citizens. People should be governed without fear or favour.


Now let us consider these qualities in relationship with democracies

Democracy is based on the idea of deliberation and negotiation
Deliberation and negotiation cause delay. So in a democracy there is a possibility of delay when some major decisions have to be taken. These delays make cause problems for the well being of the citizens and hence make the government inefficient.

Deliberation and negotiation have an advantage also. They ensure that the decisions taken are acceptable to all the people.

In terms of cost, a dictatorship government may be cost effective because it does not need time to take decisions. There are no deliberations as the decisions are taken by one man. In a democracy deliberations may cause delay and thus costly. But, in a dictatorship decisions may not be accepted by the people and there may be problems, while in a democratic government decision will be acceptable to all. So, the cost of time that democracy pays is perhaps worth it.

Democracies are accountable to its citizens. That is, all decision making has to be transparent. This factor is missing from a non-democratic government. In a democracy, citizens also take part in decision making.

Democracies are responsible for the decisions they make. If a wrong decision is made, it is the duty of the government to rectify it. In a non-democratic government, decisions are taken by a single person and the question of rectification does not arise, even if it is a wrong decision.

Democracies follow a constitution, so they are legitimate. The laws of the country are applicable to everyone, even to the government members. Free and fair elections are held in democracies and the people have the power to eliminate parties they are not happy with, in the next election. In a non-democratic government this is not possible as elections are not held.

Democracies have to be responsive. The government should function in a transparent manner and the common man should be able to approach the government to address his grievances.

There is one major problem faced by democratic and non - democratic governments, that is corruption. In spite of this people wish to be ruled by representatives elected by them.

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