NIOS Class 10 Social Studies Chapter 23 Challenges to Indian Democracy Part 1 (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Title: Challenges to Indian Democracy

Democracy

  • Abraham Lincoln said, “Democracy is a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.”
  • In a democracy, the power rests with the people.
  • A system can be termed as a genuine and comprehensive democracy only when it fulfils both political and socio-economic aspects of people՚s participation and satisfaction
  • There has to be a responsible government in which the executive is answerable to the legislature, the legislature to the people and the Judiciary to remain independent.
  • A democratic system has to ensure that social development is in tune with democratic values and norms reflecting equality of social status and opportunities for development, social security and social welfare.

Challenges to Indian Democracy

Illiteracy

  • The level of education of citizens is a key to both the successful functioning of democracy and socio-economic development of the country
  • It was feared by many that the illiterate citizens would not be able to play their roles effectively and exercise their right to vote meaningfully
  • Literacy enables citizens to be aware of various issues, problems, demands, and interests in the country
  • It also makes them conscious of the principles of liberty and equality of all
  • Right to Education is provided as a fundamental right might surely help the cause of educating the children universally.

Poverty

  • India inherited poverty from the long exploitative British colonial rule, but it continues to be one of the gravest problems today
  • A considerable proportion of the Indian population lives Below Poverty Line, called ‘BPL’ .
  • The definition of poverty also includes socio-economic-political and human rights issues under its ambit.
  • the process of economic development has not been able to ensure social justice and gap between rich and poor has not been bridged.
  • Thus, poverty continues to remain a great challenge to Indian democracy.

Gender Discrimination

  • Gender equality is one of the basic principles of democracy
  • But the discrimination against females continues to be a fact of life.
  • It is clearly reflected in the sex ratio, child sex ratio and maternal mortality rate
  • According to the 2011 Census, it is 940 females per 1000 males which is still very unfavourable to females
  • Gender discrimination is very much apparent in the context of economic and social development

Casteism, Communalism, Religious Fundamentalism

  • The caste system which presumably originated in the division of labour in the ancient society has become a more or less rigid group classification, based on birth.
  • This has led to the segregation of so-called low castes or ‘Dalits’ , depriving them of education and other social benefits.
  • Casteism has become notorious as a strategy of exploitation of caste consciousness for narrow political gains.
  • Casteism has also been contributing towards a continuation of socio-economic inequalities
  • The mixing of caste and politics resulting in ‘politicization of caste’ and ‘cartelization of politics’ in contemporary Indian polity which has become a grave challenge to our democracy.
  • Communalism and religious fundamentalism have acquired a very dangerous form an alarming proportion in India
  • Communalism is an ideology of political allegiance to a religious community. It uses one religious՚ community against other communities and perceives other religious communities as its enemies.
  • It is opposed to secularism and even humanism
  • Fundamentalism acts as an ideology which advocates a return to orthodoxy and strict compliance to the fundamental tenets of the religion. They vehemently oppose progressive reforms in order to establish their exclusive control

Regionalism

  • Indian democracy has also been struggling with regionalism which is primarily an outcome of regional disparities and imbalances in development.
  • Existence and continuation of regional inequalities both among States and within a State create a feeling of neglect, deprivation and discrimination.
  • This situation has led to regionalism manifested in demands for the creation of new States, autonomy or more powers to States or even secession from the country
  • Such unhealthy regional or sub-regional patriotism is cancerous and disruptive.

Corruption

  • Corruption in public life has been a major concern in India.
  • Corruption continues to exist in covert and overt ways at all three levels - political, bureaucratic and corporate sector.
  • Corruption in electoral processes and bribing of voters who participate in elections at different levels has now become a common practice.
  • Corruption is a sign of political instability and institutional decay, challenging seriously the validity and propriety of governance.

Criminalization of Politics

  • Criminalization of politics in India has become a debatable issue.
  • The Central government and many State governments have been taking steps to address this issue effectively.
  • Democracy can be strengthened by adopting and promoting democratic values and shunning criminal activities.

Political Violence

  • In India, communal violence, caste violence and political violence, in general, have attained serious proportion.
  • A serious conflict of interests has emerged between higher and middle castes and this has led to aggressive competition for political power which many a time leads to violence.

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