Political and Administrative Structure of Governance

Political and Administrative Structure of Governance

Political and Administrative Structure of Governance

1.2 Political and Administrative Structure of Governance

Political Structure of Governance

Governance mechanism is ultimately headed by the political authority. Politics construct the governance system of the state. Thus, politics is the central pillar of governance system. The constitution of a country provisions the political structure of governance for formal operation of state mechanism.

Political Structure of Governance

Political structure of governance can be studied by classifying it according to two approaches. They are: –

1: – On the basis of structure of the state: –

  1. Federal governance structure
  2. Unitary governance structure

2: – On the basis of form of governance

  1. Presidential governance system
  2. Parliamentary governance system
  3. Semi-presidential governance system

In modern democratic world, despite the difference in governance system in different countries, head of the state, prime-minister, council of ministers, members of legislature and local bodies are directly or indirectly elected by the public in order to pursue their public interest. The political structure of governance consists of following ingredients or components: –

  1. Head of the state
  2. Head of the government
  3. Council of ministers
  4. Parliament
  5. Sub-national government entities (in federal structure only)
  6. Political parties

Administrative Structure of Governance

Administration is the mechanism designed to implement the policies, decisions, and rules and regulations of the government. Though politics plays the pivotal role in policy making and operating state mechanism, the dividends of governance system are distributed to the public by administration. Furthermore, administration works in tandem with politics for policy and decision making. Thus, it is well-known fact that the governance of any country cannot be better than the administration of that country.

Administrative Structure of Governance

Administrative structure is established by the legal instruments to implement the public policy and deliver the services and development dividends as fruit of the state mechanism. It is the permanent structure also known as permanent government which extends from central to local level to deliver the benefits of governance system to general public.

Administrative structure of governance typically consists of following components:

1 :- Central Administrative Structure: –

It has direct link to central government, supports for policy making, monitors and directs the sub-ordinate mechanisms for policy implementation. Ministries, departments, commissions, constitutional bodies and secretariat fall under this domain.

2 :- Regional/Provincial Administrative Structure: –

It acts as a bridge between central and local administrative structures. It reduces the burden of the Centre and maintains regional balance. Regional/Provincial level government`s administration falls under this category.

3 :- Local Administrative Structure: –

It directly involves in service delivery and development functions. It formulates and implements policies at local level too. The benefits of governance system are ultimately distributed to public by this structure. It is the nearest point of contact between general public and government acknowledging the principle of subsidiarity. District level offices, offices of the rural municipalities and municipalities, local level offices, etc. fall under this structure.

Problems & Challenges of political structure in Nepal.

Federal democratic republican parliamentary governance structure is provisioned by the Constitution on Nepal. The problems of political structure in Nepal`s governance system that still prevails are: –

  1. Everlasting political instability that hinders the institutionalization of democracy and its benefits
  2. Disputes and lack of consensus among political parties disrupting the effective implementation of constitution.
  3. Malpractices in parliamentary system such as buying and selling of parliamentary members in heard time and again.
  4. Poor political discipline, culture and undemocratic political practices.
  5. Sub-national governments (provinces and local levels) lack adequate resources to be self-reliant that impedes autonomous sub-national governance in federal set-up.
  6. Never ending political transition, widening public finance deficit and increasing public debt burden have raised questions about sustainability of federal system of governance in the minds of public.
  7. Lack of financial discipline, transparency and accountability in political parties.
  8. Poor vision and short-sightedness of political leaderships towards post-conflict management.
  9. Substantive representation of marginalized in parliamentary and elected bodies is still lacking. Elite groups within such marginalized groups are exploiting the opportunities, further marginalizing the marginalized ones.
  10. New political structure provisioned by the constitution is still an experiment to experience.  

Problems of administrative structure in Nepal`s governance system.

Despite rhetoric pledges and efforts for administrative reform since very long, it is still entangled with various problems. Some of the clearly spotted problems are: –

  1. Despite the provision of federal governance in constitution, centralized and cumbersome administrative structure and mind-set is still prevalent in bureaucracy.
  2. Heavy political interference and undue influence in appointment, promotion and transfer of bureaucrats can be felt.
  3. Focus on process orientation rather than result orientation is deeply rooted in Nepalese administration.
  4. Principles of decentralization and devolution are confined to laws and policies lacking effective implementation. Sub-national governments depend excessively on fiscal transfer from the national government, and are lacking adequate resources for administrative activities and smooth operation of services.
  5. Lack of coordination due to structural bottlenecks, and poor communication mechanism within and among administrative bodies.
  6. Rent seeking behaviour remains as legacy in Nepalese bureaucracy.
  7. Poor efficiency and effectiveness in public service delivery.
  8. Ineffectiveness in making public administration people-centric, responsive and directly accountable to public. Sub-par implementation of citizen charter.
  9. Embryonic stage in the application of modern ICT technology and digital governance concept in public service delivery.
  10. Low level of public trust and their perception of wide-spread corruption and irregularities in public administration.

Historical Account of Nepal`s Governance System

Nepal is one the old states. Various style and structure of governance has been practical in Nepal since long. Nepal`s governance system from pre-historic period to now is discussed briefly hereunder: –

1:- Ancient Period: – Feudal monarchies existed. Gopal, Ahir, Kirant and Licchavi ruled until the introduction of Nepal Sambat in 936 B.S.

2:- Medieval Period: – Malla kings ruled during the medieval period in Kathmandu valley. Similarly, Baaise and Chaubise states existed outside the valley in a disintegrated form until the unification campaign of King Prithvi Narayan Shah.

3:- Unification Period: – King Prithvi Narayan Shah, a charismatic leader in Nepal`s history, unified the country. Then, modern period began after 1825 B.S. in Nepal. Due to Sugauli Treaty signed in 1816 A.D in the aftermath of Anglo-Nepal war, Nepal lost her one-third territory.

4:- Rana Period/Regime: – Janga Bahadur Rana established active Rana Regime after kot massacre in 1903 B.S. that prevailed until 2007 B.S. it was characterized by feudal and autocratic family governance. It remained as a dark period in Nepal`s governance history.

5:- Democratic Realization Period: – People`s Movement uprooted autocratic Rana regime and laid foundation stone of democracy on Falgun 7, 2007 B.S. Rule by the people for the people started. Fundamental tenets of democracy such as rule of law, constitutionalism, principle of independent judiciary, and democratic norms and values were established and embraced.

6: – Panchayat Period: – Thethen King Mahendra dissolved the parliament, squeezed the throat of embryonic multi-party democratic polity and introduced party-less Panchayat system on Paush 22, 2017 B.S., that remained effective until Chaitra 26, 2046 B.S. The royal family exercised direct control on state matters. Panchayat period was characterized absolute monarchy. Though Nepal witnessed remarkable achievements in international relations and infrastructure development during this period, it remained as a huge setback to developments in embryonic democratic governance in Nepal.

7: – Democracy Period: – After the people`s movement against Panchayat system, democracy was restaged on Chaitra 26, 2046 B.S. Constitutional monarchy, multi-party democracy, rule of law, human rights and independent judiciary, including other tenets of democracy were embraced and constitutionalized. Then, full-fledged democratic governance came into being.

8: – Federal Democratic Republic Period: – After the People`s Movement in 2062/63 B.S. against King`s direct rule after royal takeover, framework for federal democratic republic system was designed. The present constitution of Nepal has defined Nepal as a federal democratic republication state, embracing the fundamental tenets of inclusive democratic governance to the fullest.

Characteristic features of Nepal`s governance system

Governance is the process and mechanism designed for addressing the needs and expectations of public. The fundamental features of Nepal`s governance system, as provisioned by the constitution of Nepal are:

  1. Democratic republic system
  2. Federal governance system
  3. Parliamentary system of governance
  4. Inclusive democracy and proportional representation
  5. Civilian supremacy
  6. Separation, and check and balance of power
  7. Secular state
  8. Mixed electoral system (First-Past-the-Post+Proportional electoral system)
  9. Provision of fundamental rights
  10. Provision of constitutional bodies.
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