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Chapter-8 Challenges to Democracy
THINKING ABOUT CHALLENGES
VERY SHORT ANSWERS-
1. Write the name of any two countries which are facing the foundational challenge to democracy.
Ans. The countries which are facing the foundational challenge to democracy are Bhutan and Saudi Arabia.
2. How much part of the globe is not still under democratic rule?
Ans. At least one-fourth of the globe is not still under democratic rule.
3. Which challenge is faced by most of the established democracies?
What type of challenge is being faced by most of the established democracies across the world?
Ans. Most of the established democracies face the challenge of expansion.
4. What kind of challenge is faced by a country replacing the monarchy with democracy?
What type of challenge is faced by a non-democratic country for establishing democratic set-up?
Ans. A country replacing the monarchy with democracy faces the foundational challenge of making the transition to democracy and then instituting democratic government.
5. Explain the challenge of expansion faced by democracy?
What is meant by the challenge of expansion of democracy?
Ans. Challenge of expansion refers to as applying the basic principles of democratic government across all the regions, different social groups and various institutions.
6. Not allowing women to take part in public activities refers to which kind of challenge to democracy?
Ans. Challenge of expansion to democracy.
7. If a non-democratic country wants to change over to a democratic setup, what kind of challenge for democracy would it face?
Ans. Foundational challenge.
1. What category of challenge did Nepal face during 2006? Support your answer with suitable examples.
Ans. (1) Nepal faced the foundational challenge of democracy during 2006.
(2) (i) Nepal witnessed an extraordinary popular movement in April 2006. The movement was aimed at restoring democracy.
(ii) In February 2005, the king dismissed the then Prime Minister and dissolved the popularly elected Parliament.
(iii) The movement of April 2006 was aimed at regaining popular control over the government from the king.
2. What kinds of governments are facing the foundational challenge for democracy?
Mention any two measures undertaken by them for establishing democracy.
Ans. (1) At least one-fourth of the globe is still not under a democratic government. The governments of these countries are facing the foundational challenge for democracy.
(2) (1) They started a popular movement that aimed at restoring democracy. e.g., Nepal.
(ii) The struggle involved many organizations other than political parties. All the major labour unions and their federations joined this movement. Many other organizations like the organization of the indigenous people, teachers, lawyers and human rights groups extended support to the movement.
3. How the deepening of democracy is a major challenge to modern democracies? Explain.
Ans. (1) The deepening of democracy is faced by every democracy in one form or another these days. This involves the strengthening of the institutions and practices of democracy. This should happen in such a way that people can realize the expectations that they have from democracy.
(2) But, ordinary people have different expectations from democracy in different societies. Therefore, this challenge takes different meanings and paths in different parts of the world.
(3) In general terms, it usually means strengthening those institutions that help people’s participation and control. This requires an attempt to bring down the control and influence of the rich and powerful people in making governmental decisions.
1. What is meant by ‘deepening of democracy’? What role can an ordinary citizen play in deepening of democracy? Explain.
Ans. (1) Meaning: The challenge of deepening of democracy is faced by every democracy in one form or another. This involves the strengthening of the institutions and practices of democracy. In general terms, it usually means strengthening those institutions that help people’s participation and control.
(2) (i) Explanation: Every democracy has to try to realize the ideals of democratic decision-making. This requires a constant effort to save and strengthen democratic forms of decision-making.
(ii) The strength and the fate of the country depend not just on what the rulers do, but mainly on what people as citizens, do.
(iii) Democracy depends on active political participation by all the citizens.
2. Discuss the broad challenges to democracy.
Ans. The broad challenges of democracy are as follows:
(1) Foundational challenge: There are countries that face the foundational challenge of making the transition to democracy and then, instituting democratic government. This involves bringing down the existing non-democratic regime, keeping military away from controlling government and establishing a sovereign and functional state.
(2) Challenge of expansion: Democracies face the challenge of expansion. This involves applying the basic principle of democratic government across all the regions, different social groups and various institutions. Ensuring greater power to local governments, an extension of the federal principle to all the units of the federation, the inclusion of women and minority groups, etc., fall under this challenge.
(3) The challenge of deepening of democracy: This challenge is faced by „every democracy in one form or another. This involves the strengthening of the institutions and practices of democracy. In general terms, it usually means strengthening those institutions that help People’s participation and control.
3. “The challenge of deepening of democracy is faced by every democracy in one form or another”. Support the statement with suitable examples.
Ans. (1) The challenge of deepening of democracy is faced by every democracy in one form or another.
(2) This involves the strengthening of the institutions and practices of democracy in such a way that people can realize their expectations of democracy.
(3) This challenge takes different meanings and paths in different parts of the world as ordinary people have different expectations from democracy in different societies.
(4) In general terms, it usually means strengthening those institutions that help people’s participation and control.
(5) This requires an attempt to bring down the control and influence of the rich and powerful people in making a governmental decision.
4. Explain briefly foundational challenge of making the transition to democracy.
What does foundational challenge for democracy involve? Explain.
Elaborate the foundational challenge of democracy. Give an example.
Ans. (1) The foundational challenge is meant for non-democratic countries of the world. At least one•-a fourth of the globe is still not under a democratic government.
(2) Following are the challenges faced by countries making the transition to democracy under foundational challenges :
(i) Making the transition to democracy and then instituting democratic governments.
(ii) Bringing down the existing non-democratic governments.
(iii) Keeping the military away from controlling the government.
(iv) Establishing a sovereign and functional state.
5. Explain the three challenges for democracy being faced by various countries of the world.
Mention the major types of challenges which most of the democracies of the world are facing.
Ans. Following are the types of challenges being faced by the modern democracies of the world.
(1)Foundational challenge : (i) Bringing down the existing non-democratic government. (ii) Keeping the military away from controlling the government.
(iii) Establishing a sovereign and functional State.
(2) Challenge of expansion : (i) It involves the application of basic principles of democracy across all regions, social groups and institutions.
(ii) Extension of federal principles to all units of the federation, the inclusion of women and minorities.
(iii) Ensuring greater power to local governments. a Deepening of democracy : (i) Strengthening of institutions.
(ii) To promote democracy.
(iii) To bring down the control and influence of rich and powerful in the government.
6. Describe the ‘challenge of expansion’ that is faced by most of the established democracies of the world. Or
“Most of the established democracies are facing the challenge of expansion.” Support the statement with examples.
what does the challenge of expansion in established democracies involve? Mention any two countries which face this challenge.
Highlight three challenges for democracy being faced by various countries of the world.
Ans. Most of the established democracies face the challenge of expansion. This involves the following :
(1)Applying the basic principles of democratic government across all the regions, different social groups and various institutions.
(2) Ensuring greater power to local government, an extension of federal principles to all the units of the federation, the inclusion of women and minority groups, etc.
(3) This also means that the least decisions should remain outside the arena of democratic control.
7. Explain any two challenges that Indian democracy is facing.
Explain any five challenges along with examples that democracy faces in contemporary India.
Ans. Since independence, India has been functioning as a responsible democracy. It has successfully adapted to challenging situations. Despite that it faces the following challenges :
(1) Illiteracy among people was a matter of grave concern for the successful functioning of democracy in India. The level of education of citizens is key to both the successful functioning of democracy and socio-economic development of the country.
(2) Poverty is considered as the greatest bane of democracy. It is generally said that for a hungry person right to vote does not have any meaning. The gap between rich and poor has not been bridged. Because of all these, poverty continues to remain a great challenge to Indian democracy.
(3) Discrimination against girls and women exists in every walk of life. We experienced such experiences of prevailing gender inequality in our society and polity.
(4) In recent years, the criminalization of politics in India has become a debatable issue. Criminalization of politics is the very negation of democratic values and has no place in a democratic setup. Democracy can be strengthened by adopting and promoting democratic values and shunning criminal activities.
(5) The Indian democracy faces serious challenges also from castes, communalism and religious fundamentalism. They weaken the functioning and stability of the democratic system.
8. How far has India succeeded in overcoming the challenge of expansion before democracy? Evaluate.
Ans. (1) A powerful Election Commission: Conduction of regular, free and fair election provides the basis for the expansion of democracy. India has one of the most powerful Election Commissions in the world. It has successfully conducted several free and fair elections that encouraged people’s faith in democracy world over.
(2) Ensuring greater power to local government: Decentralization of power is a mug for the expansion of any democracy. In India, the Panchayati Raj System has given People at the root level an opportunity to administer their local affairs on their own. For this, they are being provided with sufficient help from the government.
(3) Federal system: India is a federation of states. The power is distributed among the states. Centre’s interference is minimum. The federal principle has been extended to all the units of the federation.
(4) Greater participation of women: By reserving one-third seats in the lees Panchayati Raj System, the government has ensured greater participation of women ill administration. Also, there is a Bill before the Parliament intending to reserve about 33% seats in the legislature for women.
(5) Protection to the interests of minorities: Through its various provisions, programmers and policies, the government has ensured that minorities are not deprived of their rights and opportunities. For this, the government has given required protection and promotion in the various fields.
DIFFERENT CONTEXTS, DIFFERENT CHALLENGES
VERY SHORT ANSWERS:-
1. Mention any one challenge to democracy faced by Pakistan.
Ans. Keeping the military away from controlling the government and holding free and fair elections.
2. Name any two factors that pose a serious challenge to Indian democracy.
Ans. Corruption and red-tapes are the factors that pose a serious challenge to Indian democracy.
3. Which democratic challenge was faced by Pakistan under the dictatorship of General Musharraf?
Ans. The foundational challenge of democracy.
4. Which democratic challenge is being faced by Myanmar?
Ans. Bringing democratic regime by forming parties.
5. Which type of challenge for democracy is being faced in Nepal?
Ans. Challenge of expansion is being faced in Nepal.
6. Name the country disintegrated due to ethnic tension between the Serbs and the Albanians.
7. Keeping the military away from controlling government is an example of which type of challenge of democracy?
Ans. The foundational challenge of democracy.
1. How is Myanmar facing the foundational challenge of making a transition to democracy? Explain.
Ans. There is the absence of democracy in Myanmar as the legitimately elected San Sui Kyiv has been under house arrest for more than 15 years. She has been released recently.
(1) The army is in power in Myanmar and a democratically elected government was not allowed to function.
(2) The country faces the challenge of making a transition to democracy and then instituting a democratic government.
(3) The people of Myanmar need to bring down the military regime and keep it away while they set up a sovereign and democratic government.
[Note: Remember at present the military government in Myanmar has given way to the democratically elected government and Myanmar is now enjoying a legitimately elected democratic government.]
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHALLENGES
VERY SHORT ANSWERS:-
1. What is different from the other three with reference to the challenge of democracy?
Ans. Religious believes in democracy.
2. What is a challenge of deepening of democracy?
Ans. Strengthening of institutions to increase people’s participation and control.
1. Mention any three challenges faced by India in three spheres of democratic politics like the constitutional design, democratic rights and working of institutions.
Ans. (1) Constitutional design: The constitutional arrangements for sharing power work, in reality, depend to a large extent, on how the ruling parties and leaders follow these arrangements. The Central Government would often misuse the Constitution to dismiss the state governments that were controlled by rival parties. This undermined the spirit of federalism.
(2) Democratic rights: The Constitution of India relies upon the State to ensure that men and women are treated as equals and there is no discrimination against women. But, discrimination against girls and women exists in every walk of life. The child sex ratio is a matter of great concern.
(3) Working of institutions: Judicial activism has been defined as an ‘innovative interpretation’ of the Constitution by the Court. This has often been criticized as the judiciary taking over the powers of the legislature. But in India, it has enjoyed support from the public, because it has concentrated on giving the disadvantaged access to justice. It uses the instrument of Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
2. “In Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to take part in public activities and there is no freedom for religious minorities.” Examine the challenges before the Saudi Arabian government in such a situation.
Ans. In a democratic country, the government is the people’s government which is headed by their representatives. In the case of Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to participate in public activities and minorities have no religious freedom. So, following democratic challenges exist there :
(1) Making them aware of the people’s right to elect their own representatives to rule over them.
(2) Making them aware of different democratic institutions.
(3) Making them aware of elections and its importance.
(4) Making them aware of the importance of equality of gender.
(5) Making them aware of the importance of fundamental rights of the people.
(6) Making them aware of the concept of equality of citizens.
(7) Making them aware of the freedom of practising the religion of own choice.
THINKING ABOUT POLITICAL REFORMS
VERY SHORT ANSWERS:-
1. Highlight the role and importance of mass media in a democracy.
Ans. The mass media including print and electronic media are playing a commendable in a democracy by highlighting issues related to corruption, red-tapes, castes, comm. dualism, criminality, etc.
2. What is RTI?
Ans. The Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005 empowers the people to find out what is happening in government and acts as watchdogs of democracy.
3. What is meant by political reforms?
Ans. Generally, all the suggestions or proposals about overcoming various challenges to democracy are called ‘democratic reform’ or ‘political reform’.
1.”The best laws are those which empower people to carry out democratic reforms.” Justify the statement with a suitable argument.
What type of laws is best suited for democratic reform?
Ans. (1) It is very tempting to think of legal ways of reforming politics, to think of new laws to ban undesirable things. But this temptation needs to be resisted.
(2) Carefully devised changes in law can help to discourage wrong political practices and encourage good ones. But legal-constitutional changes by themselves cannot overcome challenges to democracy.
(3) Any legal change must carefully look at what results it will have on politics. Sometimes, the results may be counter-productive.
(4) Generally, laws that seek to ban something are not very successful in politics. Laws that give political actors incentives to do good things have more chances of working.
(5) The best laws are those which empower people to carry out democratic reforms. The Right to Information Act is a good example of a law that empowers the people to find out what is happening in government and act as watchdogs of democracy.
2. What type of financial reform should be brought to strengthen democracy and why?
Ans. (1) Most of the political parties are dependent on money given by big business houses. The worry is that the role of money in politics will reduce whatever little voice the poor have in our democracy.
(2) The financial accounts of every political party should be made public. These accounts should be examined by government auditors.
(3) There should be state funding of elections. Parties should be given some money by the government to meet their election expenditure.
(4) Citizens should be encouraged to give more donations to parties and to political workers.
(5) Such donations should be exempted from Income Tax.
3. Suggest any three reform proposals to check doctors’ absenteeism in government hospitals.
Mention any three reform proposals needed to decrease doctors’ absenteeism in rural areas.
Ans. (1) The term doctors’ absenteeism refers to the absence of most of the doctors from Primary Health Centers at which they are posted, especially in the rural areas.
(2) Reform proposals : (i) The government should make it compulsory for the doctors to live in the village where they are posted, otherwise, their service should be terminated.
(ii) District Administration and police should carry out surprise raids to check the attendance of the doctors.
(iii) Village panchayat should be given the power to write the annual report of the doctor which should be read out in the Gram Sabha meeting.
(iv) Problems like this can be solved only if large states split into several smaller states which can be administered more efficiently.
4. What is the meaning of ‘democratic reforms’? How can democratic reforms be carried out? Explain with examples.
How are democratic reforms brought about? What is the main focus of political reforms?
Ans. (1) Generally, all the suggestions or proposals about overcoming various challenges to democracy are called ‘democratic reforms’ or ‘political reforms’. Different countries adopt different political reforms as challenges to democracy are different from one another.
(2) Democratic reforms are to be carried out mainly by political activists, parties, movements and politically conscious citizens.
(i) Any legal change must carefully look at what results it will have on politics.
(ii) Democratic reforms are to be brought about principally through political practice and the main focus of political reforms should be on ways to strengthen democratic practice.
(iii) The most important concern should be to increase and improve the quality of political participation by ordinary citizens.
(iv) For example, many states have banned people who have more than two children from contesting panchayat elections. This has resulted in the denial of democratic opportunity to many poor and women, which was not intended.
5. What type of challenge is being faced by undemocratic countries? Explain any two points.
What kind of governments is facing the foundational challenge for democracy? Mention any two measures undertaken by them for democratic setup.
Ans. (1) (i) There are about one-third of the total independent countries in the world which are non-democratic and are facing the foundational challenges.
(ii) These countries are either ruled over by a dictator, military or there is a kingship. Also, there are countries in which a single party has been ruling over for decades.
(2) Following are the ways in which these countries are trying to establish a democratic set up :
(i) By bringing down the non-democratic government through popular movements: Recently in 2006, there was a great people’s movement in Nepal in which finally the king had to go and a democratic government could be established.
(ii) By keeping the military away from the government: In Pakistan, it has been its history that the military-ruled over the country for most of the years. But people’s participation in democratic practices and faith in democratic institutions have shown the re-birth of democratic government there.
(iii) Aung San Sue Key’s efforts in Myanmar’s struggle for democracy: Su Key’s continuous efforts and firm belief in democratic set up finally compelled the military rulers to step forward to embrace democratic practices. Recently, an election to the parliament was conducted there.
(iv) Through revolution: In many of the Middle East Asian and African countries, revolutions broke out in favour of democracy. The ruling government tried every force but t – her are becoming weaker day-by-day. It will take time, but hopefully, very soon these people will enjoy democracy. Egypt, Syria and Libya are some countries which are facing the waves of democracy.
6. Examine critically the role of an ordinary citizen in strengthening and deepening deer racy.
Ans. Following are some ways in which an ordinary citizen can play roles in strengthening and deepening democracy :
(1) By active participation in political processes: An active participation in various political processes like election strengthens democracy and enhances its quality. So, by ensuring his participation an ordinary citizen can help democracy in its deepening.
(2) By keeping a watch on the performance of parties and government: An ordinary citizen can have a watch on the acts and programmers of the political parties and government. It helps him to judge the seriousness of the field performance. It will help not only him but others as well in electing a genuine candidate as people’s representative.
(3) Use of available rights: By using Right to Information an ordinary citizen can find out what is happening in the government. The information he gets can help to control corruption.
(4) Support to movements: There are many popular movements that compelled the government to correct the wrong. This is possible only when ordinary citizens extend their support to any movement.
(5) Stay politically aware: It becomes easy to decide about the candidate, government and the whole system when you are aware of the political events taking place in your state/ country. A politically aware citizen is able to take a good and balanced decision and thereby strengthen democracy. He can also make others aware of the events and thereby can develop public opinion. By this act, he will actually be strengthening and deepening the roots of democracy.
7. When was the Right to Information Act’ implemented? How does it act as the ‘watchdog of democracy’? Explain.
Ans. (1) The Right to Information Act was implemented on 12 October 2005.
(2) This is an example of one of those laws which have empowered people to act as watchdogs of democracy in the following ways :
(i) This act has given people an extensive right to know what is happening in the government.
(ii) This enabled people to know about every detail of any programmed from the levels of planning to implementation. By this, they can know lapses, misappropriation, etc. if any, by any official and file a complaint.
(iii) This law helps control corruption and supplements the existing laws that ban corruption and impose strict penalties.
(iv) This law helps to know who has taken the decision, was the decision taken as per the established norms and procedures. So, the executives have to think twice before taking any biased decision.
(v) Through this act, people have been empowered with the right to know the source of income, details of expenditure etc. This puts an effective control over the government officials while ‘dealing with the funds.
VERY SHORT ANSWERS:
1. Which is the most distinctive feature of democracy?
Ans. The most distinctive feature of democracy is that its examination never gets over.
1. How can democracy be redefined? Explain.
Ans. (1) The democracy can be redefined as the government in which the rulers elected under the framework of the constitution by the people must take all the major decisions to fulfil the wishes of the people.
(2) people should have the right to call their representatives back before time if they do not perform.
(3) Democracy should take care of socio-economic matters equally and find out means to minimize economic inequality among citizens.
(4) Democracy should provide sufficient representation to the minority and disadvantaged classes.
(5) In a good democracy, the elected leaders should follow certain moral principles, which form an ideal for the rest of society. Once found guilty, people should be banned from contesting elections.
VALUE BASED QUESTIONS
1. Explain the social values of democracy of the people of India.
Ans. The following are the social values of democracy of the people of India :
(1) Equality: Democracy promotes social, political and economic equality among citizens. Every citizen of the country has equal rights before the law. All individuals have equal weight in electing representatives. In fact, equality is the basis of democracy.
(2) Accommodation of Social Diversity: Democracy leads to peaceful and harmonious life among citizens. It accommodates various social divisions. Ability to handle social differences, divisions and conflicts is a definite plus point of democratic regimes.
(3) Dignity and Freedom of the Citizens: Every individual wants to receive respect from fellow beings. Often conflicts arise among individuals because some feel that they are not treated with due respect. The passion for respect and freedom are the essence of democracy.
2. Which values are necessary for the country to face the foundational challenge?
Ans. (1) There are countries that face the foundational challenge of making the transition to democracy and then instituting democratic government. This involves bringing down the existing non-democratic regime, keeping military away from controlling government and establishing a sovereign and functional State.
(2) The rulers elected by the people must take all the major decisions. Elections must offer a choice and fair opportunity to the people to change the current rulers. This choice and opportunity should be available to all the people on an equal basis.
(3) The exercise of this choice must lead to a government limited by the basic rules of the constitution and citizens’ rights.
3. Why do you think integrity and accommodation of diversity are major challenges to democracy? What are the advantages of integrity? Explain the various components of diversity and our responsibilities.
Ans. (1) The core principles of integrity are virtues such as sincerity, keeping one’s word and agreements, honesty, truthfulness, ethics, punctuality, fairness and justice. We often feel that these values lack in our political system.
(2) (i) Integrity conveys a sense of wholeness and strength.
(ii) People of integrity are guided by a set of core moral principles that empower them to behave consistently at high standards.
(iii) By adopting honesty and trust, respect and responsibility, our self-esteem increases, our behaviour pattern change and we become a valuable member of the community.
(3) (1) Culture: Our country is a land of diverse culture, religions and communities.
(a) We should respect the dignity and essential worth of all individuals.
(b) We should promote a culture of respect throughout the country.
(ii) Opinions : (a) We should respect the opinions of each other.
(b) We should not interrupt the personal feelings of each other.
(iii) Beliefs : (a) We should respect other religions.
(b) We should not make comments on the religions, festivals and traditions of others.
(iv) Abilities : (a) We should respectability of each other.
(b) We should always have sympathy for physically and mentally challenged persons.