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Governance, the weakest link

In this research seminar, senior officer of the Indian civil service, K Jayajumar, speaks about the importance of good governance in the development process.

  • 29 Oct 2019, 1.15pm to 29 Oct 2019, 2.15pm GMT
  • Chancellor's Building 3.15, The Chancellors' Building, University of Bath
  • This event is free

Join us for our lunchtime Research Seminar Series where we showcase research from our department and invite guest speakers to present on their work. The event lasts an hour, with about 45 minutes of research presentation and 15 minutes for questions at the end. The topics are as varied as the research centres within the department: the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), the Centre for the Analysis of Social Policy (CASP) and the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS).

K Jayakumar, senior officer of the Indian civil service, speaks to us about the importance of good governance in developing countries.


A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In several developing countries, whether democracies or autocracies, governance is the weakest link. Socio-economic problems continue to remain in many countries not because they don’t have schemes or programmes; nor because they don’t spend money. On the contrary, despite spending money year after year the very same issues continue to plague these countries solely on account of poor governance.

Why is it that schemes and programmes are poorly implemented? Evidently there is a clear lack of accountability among the political executive and the bureaucracy.

Continued poor governance marginalizes the poor and weakens the legitimacy of the State. It creates an unsympathetic and unresponsive bureaucracy caught in a time warp. However poor governance and corruption are twins. To the unethical leadership both are useful. Thus good governance never occupies the centre stage in political discourse. It is only by empowering the citizens on their right to good governance that political and administrative indifference can be addressed.

About the speaker

K. Jayakumar is a senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who retired as Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala in 2012, after 34 years of service. During his time in the IAS, K. Jayakumar served as head of the general administration (District Collector) of Kozhikode from 1986 to 1988. During this time the city of Kozhikode underwent a vast programme of modernisation, with emphasis on people-centred welfare programmes.

From 1995 to 2001, K. Jayakumar served as Director and later as Secretary of School Education, when a highly ambitious curriculum restructuring programme was launched. As Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, K Jayakumar was actively involved in the finalization of the UNESCO Conventions on Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage and [Protection of Cultural Diversity].

K. Jayakumar is also a published poet, painter and lyricist. He has authored 32 books in Malayalam and English including seven anthologies of poems. He has held 15 solo shows in India and abroad including Seoul, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi.


Location of the event:

Chancellor's Building 3.15 The Chancellors' Building University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom

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