Notes of chapter -7 of political science are available on Ms. Saini's blog,.
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CHALLENGE—it is a difficulty that carries within an opportunity for progress.
A challenge is not just a problem ,we call those difficulties a ‘challenge’ which are significant and which can be overcome.
SERIOUS CHALLENGES THAT DEMOCRACY FACES ALL OVER THE WORLD.
Q. Different countries face different challenges. What are these challenges?
1. A challenge for non-democratic countries--From the map of democratic nations of 2000, we observe that at least one-fourth of globe is still not under democratic govt.
In these parts of the world there is a foundational challenge of making the transition to democracy and instituting democratic govt.
--This involves bringing down the existing non-Democratic regime, keeping military away from controlling govt. and establishing a sovereign and functional state.
2.Challenge for established nations—most of these nations face the challenge of expansion.
--this involves applying the basic principle of democratic govt. across all the regions, different social groups & various institutions.
--ensuring greater power to local govt s.
--extension of federal principle to all the units of the federations.
--inclusion of women & minority groups etc. falls under this challenge.
--it also means that less & less decision should remain outside the domain of democratic control.
--most countries including India & US face this kind of challenge.
3.Challenge for every democracy—of deepening of democracy is faced in every democracy in one form or the other.
--this involves strengthening of the institutions and practices of democracy, those institutions that help people’s participation and control.
--this requires an attempt to bring down the control and influence of rich and powerful people in the making of governmental decision.
This challenge takes a different path & meaning in different parts of the world.
Democratic Reform/Political Reform:--all the suggestions and proposals about overcoming various challenges to democracy.
All the countries do not have same challenges, it follows that everyone cannot follow the same recipe of political reforms & therefore we cannot prescribe same procedure .
Q. List some broad guidelines that can be kept in mind while devising ways and means for political reforms in India.1. Legal ways of reforming politics—to think of new laws to ban undesirable things. Carefully devised changes in laws can help to discourage wrong political practices and encourage good ones. But, legal-constitutional changes by themselves cannot overcome challenges to the democracy.
–democratic reforms are to be carried by the political activists, parties, movements and politically conscious citizens.
2. Any legal change must carefully look at what results it will have on politics.
Sometimes the results may be counter-productive. For example , many states have banned people who have more than two children to contest elections Panchayat elections. This has resulted in denial of political opportunity to many poor women what was not intended.
–generally law that seek to ban something are not successful in politics, instead laws that give political actors incentives to do good things are more successful..
–the best laws are those which empower people to carry out democratic reforms. For eg. The Right to Information Act is a good example of law that empowers people to find out what is happening in the govt. and act as watch dogs of the democracy.
–such law helps to control corruption and supplements the existing laws that banned corruption and imposed strict penalties.
3. Democratic reforms are to be brought about principally through political practice, therefore the main focus of the reforms should be on ways to strengthen the democratic practice.
–the most important concern should be to increase & improve the quality of political participation by ordinary citizens.
4. Any proposal of political reform should not think only about what is good solution but also about who will implement it and how.
--it is not wise to think that legislatures will pass legislations that will go against the interest of all political parties and MP’s. But, measures that rely on democratic movements, citizens organizations and the media are likely to
REDEFINING DEMOCRACYDEMOCRACY—It is a form of a govt. in which rulers are elected by the people.
Democracy can be redefined and its meaning can be expanded by adding some qualifications, such as
a) The rulers elected by the people must take all decisions.
b) Elections must offer a choice and fair opportunity to the people to change the current rulers.
c) The choice and opportunity should be available to all the people on equal basis and,
d) The exercise of this choice must lead to a govt. limited by the basic rules of the constitution and citizen’s rights.
VARIOUS ASPECTS OF DEMOCRACTIC GOVT. AND POLITICS, BEYOND ITS DEFINITION.
--Democratic rights are not only limited to right to vote, stand in elections or forming organizations but democracy should also offer some social and economic rights to its citizens.
--Power sharing-( how it is being shared between govts. & social groups) ,is necessary in a democracy.
--democracy cannot be a brute rule of majority and that respect for minority voice is necessary for democracy.
--Eliminating discrimination on the basis of the caste, religion and gender is important in democracy.