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The Story of Indian Democracy
Read the snippets from the debates held in the Constituent Assembly. Identify the interest groups. Discuss what kind of interest groups exist in the contemporary India. How do they functions?
Read the above snippets of the debates carefully. Discuss how different concerns were being expressed and debated. How relevant are these issue today?
Snippets from the debates:
• K. T. Shah said that the right to useful employment could and should be made real by a categoric obligation on the part of the state to provide useful work to every citizen who was able and qualified.
• B. Das spoke against classifying the functions of the government as justiciable and non-justicable. “I think it is the primary duty of Government to remove hunger and render social justice to every citizen and to secure social security.......”.
The teeming millions do not find any hope that the Union Constitution...will ensure them freedom from hunger, will secure them social justice, will ensure them a minimum standard of living and a minimum standard of public health”.
• Ambedkar’s answer was as follows: “The Draft Constitution as framed only provides a machinery for the government of the country. It is not a contrivance to install any particular party in power as has done in some countries. Who should be in power is left to be determined by the people, as it must be, if the system is to satisfy the tests of democracy. But whoever captures power will not be free to do what he likes with it. In the exercise of it, he will have to respect these instruments of instructions which are called Directive Principles. He cannot ignore them. He may not have to answer for their breach in a court of law. But he will certainly have to answer for them before the electorate at election time. What great value these directive principles possess will be realised better when the forces of right contrive to capture power.”
• On land reform Nehru said, that the social forces were such that law could not stand in the way of reform, an interesting reflection on the dynamics between the two. “If law and Parliament do not fit themselves into the changing picture, they cannot control the situation”.
• On the protection of the tribal people and their interests, leaders like Jaipal Singh were assured by Nehru in the following words during the Constituent Assembly debates: “It is our intention and our fixed desire to help them as possible; in as efficient a way as possible to protect them from possibly their rapacious neighbours occasionally and to make them advance”.
• Even as the Constituent Assembly adopted the title Directive Principles of State Policy to the rights that courts could not enforce, additional principles were added with unanimous acceptance. These included K. Santhanam’s clause that the state shall organise village panchayats and endow them with the powers and authority to be effective units of local self-government.
• T. A. Ramalingam Chettiar added the clause for promotion of cottage industries on co-operative lines in rural areas. Veteran parlimentarian Thakurdas Bhargava added that the state should organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern lines.
The kind of interest groups that existing in contemporary India when the new Constitution of India was being framed by Constituent Assembly:
(a) The people having faith in left ideology interest in socialism. They wanted the right to work to be included as a fundamental right in the constitution of the country. For example -K.T. Shah said that the right to use full employment could and should be made real by a categoric obligation on the part of the state to provide useful work to every citizen who was able and qualified.
(b) There were interest groups of such people who wanted to give more importance to economic and social justice than the classification of political duties of the government. No doubt they favoured division of power of the government but such people stressed and thought that the coming government of India should feel its primary duty to remove hunger and render social justice to every citizen to secure social security for all without discriminating on the basis of gender, caste, creed religion and region. For example B. Das spoke against classifying the functiong of the government as justiciable and non-justiciable. “I think it is the primary duty of the government to remove hunger and render social justice to every citizen and to secure social security -”.
(c) There were some people represent all the adults of the country like Dr. B.R. Ambedker would reside with the representatives as the governing party, which shall be decided by the people through voting. He declared that the final power. His answer was an follows to some members of Constituent Assembly. “The draft constitution as framed only provides a machinery for the government of the country. It is not a contrivance to install any particular party in power as has been done in some countries. Who should be in power as left to be determined by the people, as it must be, if the system is to satisfy the tests of democracy. But whoever captures powers will not be free to do what he likes with it. In the exercise of it, he will have to respect these instruments which are called Direct Principles.
(d) There were some pressure groups to introduce land reforms in India. They wanted to abolish Zamindari and desired to work for the consolidation of land. They desired that Indian Parliament should pass immediately such laws which were helpful to implement land reforms in India. For example -Jawaharlal Nehru said, that the social forces were such that law could not stand in the way of reform, an interesting reflection on the dynamics between the two. “If law and Parliament do not fit themselves into the changing picture, they cannot control the situation.”
(e) There was also a pressure group who wanted to raise the voice in favour of tribal people of the country. These leaders like Jai Pal Singh wanted to have assurance from prominent members of the Constituent Assembly that economic, social and cultural interest of the tribal people would be protected and they will get all possible help for protection of fresh, tribal, common land their cultural and they would set full help for their advancement.
(f) There were certain pressure or interest groups which wanted to adopt some programmes and policies under Directive Principles of State Policy so that whosoever comes in power as a ruling party should flow the principle of state policy for development of the country in direct directions. This pressure group wanted decentralisation of administration and political power to extend upto village Panchayat level.
(g) There was a pressure group of artisans and common professional who were busy in cottage industries. They wanted that Indian government should aware the people to promote and protect cottage industry and those industry should be run an co-operative lines. For example - Veteran parliamentarian Thakurdas Bhargava added that the state should organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern lines.
How do they functions?: Interest Group in India adopt-two methods and they drive to pressure the political party in power or the government adopting the two methods.
1. To influence the legislative committees: The interest groups establish necessary contracts and maintain relations with the members of the different legislative committees and present their views in favour of their interest and influence them. They also get the necessary amendments done in the bills which are still to become laws.
2. To help 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 hand they influence the government. In fact, they spend the large sums of money to manipulate the mass attitudes. Ultimately the public opinion comes to their favour.