Explain the term social capital. How does it enhance good governance?

Model Answer


Social capital refers to the collective value derived from the level of trust, relationships, and networks among people in a society. Social capital is underpinned by moral principles of equity, dignity and social justice.


Aspects of social capital:

  • Social networks – bonds connecting people and enabling collective action.
  • Civic participation – people coming together for community service.
  • Cooperation – a culture of collaboration and reciprocity.
  • Trust – confidence in social institutions and norms.

Social capital enhancing good governance:

Social networks allow leadership to engage citizens and be responsive to their needs. E.g., Kerala’s Kudumbashree enables grassroots mobilisation and participation.

  • Civic participation fosters active citizenship, accentuating accountability. It also allows people to express moral principles through action. E.g., MKSS’s social audits drive accountability through active citizenship.
  • Cooperation enables smooth policy implementation and compliance. Socially cohesive societies uplift disadvantaged sections through solidarity. E.g., Odisha’s forest programs catalyse community cooperation.

High trust in institutions and leaders strengthens governance capabilities. This curbs prejudice and discrimination in governance. Universal rights and freedoms are nurtured. E.g., Delhi’s Mohalla Sabhas build trust via transparent governance.


Social capital provides a moral foundation for good governance. It realises moral goals of justice, welfare and human dignity.

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