The Story of Indian Democracy

The Story of Indian Democracy

Question

Interest groups are part and parcel of a functioning democracy. Discuss.

Answer

(i) Decmocracy is a form of government i.e., of people, by the people, for the people. On the other hand interest groups are informed specific interest. They are part and parcel of democracy. Generally interest groups are private organisation formed to influence public policy. They are non-political and their sole aim is to uphold their own interests.

(ii) Political parties are not interest groups. They contest elections and aspire for running the government, in order to influence those political parties. Sometimes interest groups are formed. Thus interest groups provide the individuals to join with others having the same interest in order to put forth their demand very effectively. The principle of strength lies in unity which is the motto of each interest group. Decision of government are often influenced by these groups.

(iii) In a democratic system the interests of different groups are also represented by political parties, who take up their case. Different interest groups will work towards influencing political parties. When certain groups feel that their interests are not being taken up they may move to form an alternative party. Or they form pressure groups who lobby with the government.

(iv) Interest Groups are organised to pursue specific interests in the political arena, operating primarily by lobbying the members of legislative bodies. In some situations, there may be political organisations which seek to achieve power but are denied the opportunity to do so through standard means. These organisations are best regards as movements until they achieve recognition. The pressure groups are important in India since they perform the following important functions:

A. Formation of public opinion: Pressure groups play an important role in creating and moulding public opinion. They use different means of propaganda and communication to get the goodwill of public opinion and to mould the administration in their own favour. For propaganda purposes they use radio, press and T.V.... etc.

B. To help the people at the time of natural calamity: The interest groups help the people at the time of the natural calamities, like floods, earthquakes, etc. In this way on the one hand, they earn goodwill of the people and on the other they influence the government. In fact, they spend the large sum of money to manipulate the mass attitudes. Ultimately the public opinion comes to their favour.

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