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History (India and The Contemporary World – II)
1. The Rise of Nationalism in Europe
2. The Nationalist Movement in Indo – China
3. Nationalism in India
4. The Making of a Global World
5. The Age of Industrialisation
6. Work, Life and Leisure
7. Print Culture and The Modern World
8. Novels, Society and History
Geography (Contemporary India – II)
1. Resources and Development
2. Forest and Wildlife Resources
3. Water Resources
5. Minerals and Energy Resources
6. Manufacturing Industries
7. Lifelines of National Economy
Political Science (Democratic Politics – II)
1. Power Sharing
What are the different forms of power sharing in modern democracies? Give an example of each of these.
Different forms of power sharing in modern democracies:
- Horizontal division of power: It is the sharing of power among the different organs of government. The division of government into the executive, the legislature and the judiciary is an example of horizontal division of power. In such a power sharing arrangement, different organs of government, placed at the same level, exercise different powers. This separation of powers ensures that no organ exercises unlimited power. Each organ checks the others, thereby putting in place a system of checks and balances. The division of power between the Council of Ministers headed by the Indian Prime Minister, the Parliament of India and the Indian Supreme Court is an example of this kind of power sharing.
- Vertical division of power: It is the sharing of power among governments at different levels — a general government for the entire country and governments at the provincial or regional level. For example, in India, the Constitution defines the way power is to be shared between the Central or Union government and the various State governments. There are certain matters on which only the Central government can take decisions, while there are others on which only an individual state government has an exclusive right for decision making.
- Division of power among social groups: Power can also be shared among different groups which differ socially. The system of ‘community government’ in Belgium is an example of this type of power division. This government is elected by people belonging to one language community (Dutch, French and German-speaking), and has the power to take decisions regarding cultural, educational and language related issues.
The system of reserved constituencies in India is another example.
- Division of power between political parties, pressure groups and movements: Political parties are the organisations which aim to control power by contesting elections. In a democracy, citizens have the freedom to choose among the various contenders for power (the different political parties or the different alliances comprising political parties). Such a freedom of choice entails competition among the different parties, which in turn ensures that power does not remain in one hand, and is shared among different political parties representing different ideologies and social groups.
Pressure groups and movements also share governmental power, either through participation in governmental committees or by influencing the decision-making process.
State one prudential reason and one moral reason for power sharing with an example from the Indian context.
A prudential reason for power sharing is that it leads to an avoidance of conflict between social groups. Since social conflict often leads to violence and political instability, power sharing is a good way to ensure the stability of political order. In India, seats have been reserved in legislatures for the socially weaker sections keeping in mind this prudential reason for power sharing.
A moral reason for power sharing is that it upholds the spirit of democracy. In a truly democratic setup, the citizens too have a stake in governance. In India, the citizens can come together to debate and criticise the policies and decisions of the government. This in turn puts pressure on the government to rethink its policies and reconsider its decisions. This active political participation is in keeping with the moral reason for power sharing.
After reading this chapter, three students drew different conclusions. Which of these do you agree with and why? Give your reasons in about 50 words.
- Thomman − Power sharing is necessary only in societies which have religious, linguistic or ethnic divisions.
- Mathayi − Power sharing is suitable only for big countries that have regional divisons.
- Ouseph − Every society needs some form of power sharing even if it is small or does not have social divisions.
Ouseph’s statement is the most logical, and thus, should be agreed on. Power sharing not only prevents conflict between various groups in the society but it also inculcates a sense of worth in the citizens. The people will be more satisfied with the government if they have a say in the decision-making process.
The Mayor of Merchtem, a town near Brussels in Belgium, has defended a ban on speaking French in the town’s schools. He said that the ban would help all non-Dutch speakers integrate in this Flemish town. Do you think that this measure is in keeping with the spirit of Belgium’s power sharing arrangements? Give your reasons in about 50 words.
This measure is not in keeping with Belgium’s power sharing arrangements. The arrangements seek to maintain peace between the French and Dutch-speaking communities. By banning French, the mayor will cause civil unrest. Both the languages should be made acceptable in the town’s schools. This bilingual education system will be a better way to integrate the people of the town.
Read the following passage and pick out any one of the prudential reasons for power sharing offered in this.
“We need to give more power to the panchayats to realise the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and the hopes of the makers of our Constitution. Panchayati Raj establishes true democracy. It restores power to the only place where power belongs in a democracy − in the hands of the people. Given power to panchayats is also a way to reduce corruption and increase administrative efficiency. When people participate in the planning and implementation of developmental schemes, they would naturally exercise greater control over these schemes. This would eliminate the corrupt middlemen. Thus, Panchayati Raj will strengthen the foundations of our democracy.”
“When people participate in the planning and implementation of developmental schemes, they would naturally exercise greater control over these schemes. This would eliminate the corrupt middlemen.”
Different arguments are usually put forth in favour of and against power sharing. Identify those which are in favour of power sharing and select the answer using the codes given below? Power sharing:
- A: reduces conflict among different communities
- B: decreases the possibility of arbitrariness
- C: delays decision making process
- D: accommodates diversities
- E: increases instability and divisiveness
- F: promotes people’s participation in government
- G: undermines the unity of a country
Consider the following statements about power sharing arrangements in Belgium and Sri Lanka.
- A: In Belgium, the Dutch-speaking majority people tried to impose their domination on the minority French-speaking community.
- B: In Sri Lanka, the policies of the government sought to ensure the dominance of the Sinhala-speaking majority.
- C: The Tamils in Sri Lanka demanded a federal arrangement of power sharing to protect their culture, language and equality of opportunity in education and jobs.
- D: The transformation of Belgium from unitary government to a federal one prevented a possible division of the country on linguistic lines.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
- (a). A, B, C and D
- (b). A, B and D
- (c). C and D
- (d). B, C and D
(d) B, C and D
Match list I (forms of power sharing) with List II (forms of government) and select the correct answer using the codes given below in the lists:
|List I||List II|
Power shared among different organs of government
|2.||Power shared among governments at different levels||Β.||Separation of powers|
|3.||Power shared by different social groups||C.||Coalition government|
|4.||Power shared by two or more political parties||D.||
Consider the following two statements on power sharing and select the answer using the codes given below:
- A: Power sharing is good for democracy.
- B: It helps to reduce the possibility of conflict between social groups.
Which of these statements are true and false?
|(a) A is true but B is false|
|(b) Both A and B are true|
|(c) Both A and B are false|
|(d) A is false but B is true|
(b) Both A and B are true
3. Democracy and Diversity
4. Gender, Religion and Caste in Politics
5. Popular Struggles and Movements
6. Political Parties
7. Outcomes of Democracy
How does democracy produce an accountable, responsive and legitimate government?
Democracy produces an accountable, responsive and legitimate government by giving the citizen the right to examine the process by which decisions are made. These decisions are made according to norms and procedures which make the decisions more acceptable to the people. Added to this is the basic fact that in a democracy, the people have a right to elect their own government, and the candidate which is elected is thought to be capable enough to fulfil the demands of the people.
What are the conditions under which democracies accommodate social diversities?
Democracies accommodate social diversities when it is well understood that democracy is not just the rule of the majority, and that the rule of the majority is not just the rule of a single religious or social community.
Give arguments to support or oppose the following assertions:
- Industrialised countries can afford democracy but the poor need dictatorship to become rich.
- Democracy can’t reduce inequality of incomes between different citizens.
- Government in poor countries should spend less on poverty reduction, health, education and spend more on industries and infrastructure.
- In democracy all citizens have one vote, which means that there is absence of any domination and conflict.
- Industrialised countries can afford democracy but the poor need dictatorship to become rich. This statement is incorrect as can be seen from the examples of India and Zimbabwe. In 1947, India was included in the Third World nations, but now, it is one of the fast-growing economies in the world. On the other hand, Zimbabwe, which was a fairly prosperous nation, has run into huge international debt with the progression of Robert Mugabe’s regime.
- Democracy can’t reduce inequality of incomes between different citizens. This statement is incorrect. The Minimum Wages Act enacted by the government and other policies which regulate the basic price at which agricultural producers and small industries sell their goods, have helped increase the per capita income of the country, thereby making its citizens more prosperous.
- Government in poor countries should spend less on poverty reduction, health, education and spend more on industries and infrastructure. This is not a wise option as in poor countries, the people cannot afford health and education services.
- In democracy all citizens have one vote, which means that there is absence of any domination and conflict. This is not true as conflict can be eliminated only in an ideal situation. In real democracies, though every person has one vote, there are divisions among the people. These divisions lead to conflict
Identify the challenges to democracy in the following descriptions. Also suggest policy/institutional mechanism to deepen democracy in the given situations:
- Following a High Court directive a temple in Orissa that had separate entry doors for dalits and non-dalits allowed entry for all from the same door.
- A large number of farmers are committing suicide in different states of India.
- Following allegation of killing of three civilians in Gandwara in a fake encounter by Jammu and Kashmir police, an enquiry has been ordered.
The challenge to democracy in the first statement is to provide equal status to all its citizens in spite of their caste.
The challenge to democracy in the second instance is providing farmers with subsidies which will help them to earn profits and have a satisfactory level of livelihood.
The challenge to democracy is to preserve the people’s trust in government arms like the police.
In the context of democracies, which of the following ideas is correct − democracies have successfully eliminated:
- Α. conflicts among people
- Β. economic inequalities among people
- C. differences of opinion about how marginalised sections are to be treated
- D. the idea of political inequality
- D. the idea of political inequality
In the context of assessing democracy which among the following is odd one out.
Democracies need to ensure:
- Α. free and fair elections
- Β. dignity of the individual
- C. majority rule
- D. equal treatment before law
- C. majority rule
Studies on political and social inequalities in democracy show that
- Α. democracy and development go together
- Β. inequalities exist in democracies
- C. inequalities do not exist under dictatorship
- D. dictatorship is better than democracy
- Β. inequalities exist in democracies
Read the passage below:
Nannu is a daily wage earner. He lives in Welcome Mazdoor Colony, a slum habitation in East Delhi. He lost his ration card and applied for a duplicate one in January 2004. He made several rounds to the local Food & Civil Supplies office for the next three months. But the clerks and officials would not even look at him, leave alone do his job or bother to tell him the status of his application. Ultimately, he filed an application under the Right to Information Act asking for the daily progress made on his application, names of the officials, who were supposed to act on his application and what action would be taken against these officials for their inaction. Within a week of filing application under the Right to Information Act, he was visited by an inspector from the Food Department, who informed him that the card had been made and he could collect it from the office. When Nannu went to collect his card next day, he was given a very warm treatment by the Food & Supply Officer (FSO), who is the head of a Circle. The FSO offered him tea and requested him to withdraw his application under the Right to Information, since his work had already been done.
What does Nannu’s example show? What impact did Nannu’s action have on officials? Ask your parents their experiences when they approach government officials to attend to their problems.
Nannu’s example shows that government officials shun away from their duties and look for all possible excuses to get rid of their work. It’s because they have job security. Usually they work when they get pressure from their seniors or they get fear of losing job or some action being taken against them, as it happened in Nannu’s case.
“Once my parents also went to a government hospital to take my grandmother to the doctor, where the doctors were gossiping and having tea party with their colleagues and the patients were waiting for long for them. My father got really upset seeing all that. He went inside the C.E.O. room and complained against all the doctors who were not doing duties properly and immediately a meeting was called and a strict action was taken against them”.
8. Challenges to Democracy
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