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With “Outcomes of Democracy”, learn and understand about ways through which we can analyze the outcomes of democracy. Further, the chapter explains the definite results of democracy in several respects: social differences, dignity, economic well-being, conflicts, quality of government, and freedom.
How does democracy produce an accountable, responsive and legitimate government?
- Democracy produces an accountable government where all the educated and enlightened citizens of the country have the right to choose their representatives. If the government does not work in a proper way then people have the right to remove it in the next elections. That is why the elected government is accountable to the people. People are also the part and parcel of decision-making process of the country.
- Democracy also produces a responsive government in a country. People elect the governments and that government is responsible to the people and parliament. Democratic government generally takes care of the needs and opinion of the people. That’s why democracy produces a responsive government.
- Democracy not only produces an accountable and responsive but also produces a legitimate government. Democratic government is legitimate as it is elected by the people almost after every five years through the process of universal adult franchise. Any party which gets a majority forms the government. If it loses then it resigns from its office. In this way, it is a legitimate form of government.
What are the conditions under which democracies accommodate social diversities?
“Democracies lead to peaceful and harmonious life among citizens.” Justify this statement.
- In most of the countries, social diversity generally exists. Every society is diverse in various aspects such as religion, race, caste, creed, culture, etc. Democracy gives equal rights to all its citizens and the constitution states that there should be no discrimination with any one on the basis of gender, colour, religion, culture, age, etc. In this way, when democracy gives equal rights to all its citizens, it accommodates social diversity in the country.
- In India, different caste groups as well as weaker sections are given proper representation. They are given reservations in every sphere of the life. Democracy also ensures that the government is not formed by the majority and has the representation of minorities as well. In this way, democracy accommodates social diversity as it not only takes care of the interests of majority but it also takes care of the interests of weaker sections.
- There is general tendency of gender discrimination in the world. Women are being discriminated in one way or the other. But in a democracy, women and weaker sections of the society are given equal rights as well as the right to vote so that they can elect their representatives. Even they are given reservation for seats in local bodies. Our country doesn’t have its own religion and it never tries to give undue preference to any language. In this way, it accommodates social diversity.
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.
- In Opposition to the Statement: We do not agree with this statement that industrialised countries can afford democracy but the poor need dictatorship to become rich. This is the age of democracy which means that any country, whether rich or poor, should have democracy and a democratic government. Democracy is accountable and responsive but dictatorship is not accountable to anyone. It is hardly responsive and only takes care of one section of the society. For economic development, we need to take care of interests of all the sections of the society. Poor countries can use a number of measures to control poverty in a democracy.
- In Favour of the Statement: We favour this statement. It is right that democracy gives equal opportunity to all the sections of the society. It gives enough share of natural resources to all the citizens. That is why it is necessary that there should be less inequality in democracy. But the present is quite different from reality. Actually, inequality is increasing day-by-day between various sections of the society. The rich are becoming richer while the poor remain poor. It is so because in a democracy, we cannot stop any one from earning more. Everyone gets equal opportunity to earn. Difference lies in the opportunity that one is earning more and the other less. Hence, democracy can’t reduce inequality of income between different citizens.
- In Opposition to the Statement: We oppose this statement on various grounds. It is right that industries and infrastructure are necessary elements for economic development but they are not the only elements. Human resources are also the part and parcel of the economy. Human resources can help a lot in the development of the country. Literate and skilled population is an asset to a country which could be used any time. But if the population is illiterate and unskilled then it becomes a burden on the country. So we cannot say that government in poor countries should spend less on poverty, food, clothing, health and education. Development of humans is also necessary for industry and infrastructure. If industries are in abundance but humans are illiterate then those industries would also be of no use. Therefore, a country must give proper attention to all the aspects of society and social life.
- In Opposition to the Statement: We don’t agree with the statement that by providing right to vote to every citizen or with the idea of universal adult franchise all the dominations and conflicts will be abandoned from the society. Any type of democracy is of no use if inequality, social injustice, social disparity, economic injustice prevail in the society. In a democracy, inequalities between rich and poor, male and female prevail due to which domination of one class over the other will also prevail. Major group of the society will also try to dominate the minority of the society. In this type of condition, conflicting situations will also prevail in the society.
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 (Odisha) that had separate entry doors for dalits and non-dalits allowed entry for all from the same door.
- A large number of farmers commit suicides in different states of India.
- Following allegation of killing of three civilians in Gandwara in a fake encounter by Jammu and Kashmir police, after an enquiry had been ordered.
- With this order of allowing entry from same gate of a temple in Orissa (Odisha), to all (dalits and nondalits), the honourable High Court has assured the life of dignity to dalits means they also have the right to worship the religion and court has given them the right of maintaining dignity. For this, the central government assures that all the state governments should not allow any type of untouchability or exploitation of Dalits in the country. If anyone tries to do so then he should be given severe punishment under the law of Untouchability Offence Act of 1955.
- Many farmers commit suicides in different states of India. It shows the poverty and economic inequality of the country. Our democracy has been working since last 66 years still we are unable to stop this type of economic disparity or inequality. So for this, a policy should be framed to look into the grievances of the people by availing insurance on produce, by providing loans at low interest rates. Hence, economic inequality must be removed from our country.
- In Jammu and Kashmir, an enquiry was ordered in the fake encounter of three civilians in Gandwara. This incident shows us that police officers are meddling with the law and are least bothered about the human rights. These organisations (means forces) should work according to law. Therefore, to stop this type of incident at high level, judicial enquiry should be ordered so that the guilty officials should be punished. Police officials should have soft attitude towards masses so that they are able to control militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
In the context of democracies, which of the following ideas is correct- Democracies have successfully eliminated:
- conflicts among people
- economic inequalities among people
- differences of opinion about how marginalised sections are to be treated
- the idea of political inequality
(d) the idea of political inequality
In the context of assessing democracy, which among the following is the odd one out. Democracies need to ensure:
- free and fair elections
- dignity of the individual
- majority rule
- equal treatment before law
(b) dignity of the individual
Studies on political and social inequalities in democracy show that
- democracy and development go together
- inequalities exist in democracies
- inequalities do not exist under dictatorship
- dictatorship is better than democracy
(b) 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 has 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.
In this case of Nannu, a daily wage earner, government officials were pressurised to work with the help of law. Government of India has passed the Right to Information Act and asked the related officials about the progress of his application regarding issuing of duplicate ration card. Even the names of related officials were also revealed in his application. This revelation of names of related officials has done his job and his ration card was made. Even he was given a warm welcome by the concerned officials and was requested by related official to withdraw his complaint.
This example of Nannu has shown us that any person from general public can exert a great impact on the working of government officials. Laws related to grievances exist in our country but the need is to use them. Hence, it is necessary for a person to know his rights and use it at the right time.
Can you think of what and how the government knows about you and your family (for example ration cards and voter identity cards)?
The government knows about me and our family through the following ways:
- Every ten years, the government conducts census. In this census, there are records of each adult member of the family along with his/her sex, age and education.
- There is a provision of registering birth, marriage and death of the family members with the government institutions.
What are the sources of information for you about the government?
The sources of information for us about the government are as follows:
- Right to information: Each and every citizen has the right to know about the policies and plans of the government and also its working, structure, etc.
- Political leaders either local or national are the main sources of information to the common people. They make them aware of the policies and decisions taken by the government.
Democracy is a rule of the majority. The poor are in majority. So democracy must be a rule of the poor.
How can this not be the case?
- Democracy is a rule of the majority means that rule by majority views.
- Rule by majority does not mean rule by majority in terms of religion, race, linguistic groups, poor or rich.
- It means that in case of every decision or in case of every election, different person and group may and can form a majority.
• Hence, to say that democracy must be a rule of the poor will give rise to a further division of society on a different line and lead to conflict.
• Democracy remains democracy only as long as every citizen has a chance of being in majority at some point of time.
All you are saying is that democracy ensures that people do not break each other’s head. This is not harmony. Should we be happy about it?
When a democracy tries to accommodate social diversity, it does not mean it ensures that people do not break each other’s head. A democracy acts on certain prudential reasons. No society can fully and permanently resolve conflicts among different groups. In fact, democracy teaches us to respect these differences and evolve mechanisms to negotiate them.
We should be happy that we can live together with dignity and freedom with all our differences only when there is a democratic set up.