Q What are the conditions under which demo-cracies accommodate social diversities?
Ans Democracy accommodates social diversity as it allows for equal and fair representation to all irrespective of caste, creed, colour, gender, language, race or religion. It also ensures that the government should not be formed just by the majority, but it should also have the representation of minorities and the will of the few should not be imposed on many.
Q Studies on political and social inequalities in democracy show that :
Ans (i) Democracy and development go together.
Q In the context of democracies, which of the following ideas is correct—Democracies have successfully eliminated :
Ans (iii) Differences of opinion about how marginalized sections are to be treated.
Q How does democracy produce an account-able, responsive and legitimate government?
Q Identify the challenges to democracy in the following descriptions. Also suggest policy/institutional mechanisms to deepen democracy in the given situations :
Q Give arguments to support or oppose the following assertions:
Q Read the passage given below and answer the question that follows :
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 and 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 and 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 had 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.
Ans This example shows that democracy has a system in which citizens can demand answer from the officials through Right To Information Act (RTI). The procedure can force the officials to quickly take actions for avoiding release of information under RTI.
Q Cartoons below tell us about the disparities between the rich and poor. Should the gains of economic growth be evenly distributed ? How can the poor get a voice for a better share in a nation ? What can the poor countries do to receive a greater share in the world’s wealth ?
Ans Yes, economic gains should be distributed evenly to eliminate economic inequalities. The poor gets a voice for a better share in a nation through their representation and participation in the decision-making process. The poor countries can receive a greater share in the world’s wealth when they eliminate their mutual differences and internal conflicts.
Moreover , they have to hone the professional skills of the natives and have to exploit the natural resources and develop their technologies.
Q The two images below depict two different kinds of effects democratic politics can have on social divisions. Take one example for each image and write a paragraph each on the outcome of democratic politics in both situations.
Ans The first image refers to a system where democratic politics is based on caste, religion, race etc. It leads to conflicting situations by further dividing the society. Such a situation is not desirable in a democratic setup.
The second image refers to a situation where people join hands by giving up all the differences based on colour, race, caste, creed or language. Such a situation leads to peace and harmony and paves the way for growth and prosperity of the country.
Q Arguments about democracy tend to be very passionate. This is how it should be, for democracy appeals to some of our deep values. These debates cannot be resolved in a simple manner. But some debates about democracy can and should be resolved by referring to some facts and figures. The debate about the economic outcomes of democracy is one such debate. Over the years many students of democracy have gathered careful evidence to see what the relationship of democracy with economic growth and economic inequalities is. The tables and the cartoon here present some of the evidences : Table 1 : Rates of economic growth for different countries, 1950-2000.
Table 1 : Rates of economic growth for different countries, 1950-2000.
|Type of regimes and countries||Growth rate|
|All democratic regimes||3·95|
|All dictatorial regimes||4·92|
|Poor countries under dictatorship||4·34|
|Poor countries under democracy||4·28|
Table 2 : Inequality of income in selected count
|% Share of National Income|
|Name of the Countries||Top 20%||Bottom 20%|
What would be your verdict on democracy if you had to base it purely on economic performance of democratic regimes in terms of growth and equal distribution?
Ans We can see through the Table 1 that dictatorship regimes (4.92%) have performed better than the democratic regimes (3.95%), but there is not much difference between economic performance of the poor countries (4.34%) under dictatorship and 4.28% for poor countries under democracy). Table 2 indicates that in most of the countries more than 30% share goes to top 20 percent people and bottom 20 percent get less than 10% of the total wealth. This indicates that economic disparities exist in all the countries, irrespective of whether these have democratic or dictatorial regimes. I will go with democracy as it offers ample opportunities for economic growth and for reducing the economic inequalities.
Q 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?
Ans The rule of majority means that rule by majority views, it doesn’t refer to majority in terms of religion, caste or wealth. In elections, any group can form a majority. Forming a different majority group by poor will further divide the society and can lead to conflicts. Democracy provides a chance to any one to form a majority at any point of time.
Q 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?
Ans A democratic system tries to accommodate social diversity, but it doesn’t simply mean to ensure that people do not break each other’s head. This is not harmony. Social differences exist in each society and democracy, teaches us to respect these differences and evolve ways to negotiate them.
Q Can you think of what and how the government knows about you and your family (for example ration cards and voter identity cards)? What are the sources of information for you about the government?
Ans Census survey is conducted after every ten years for gathering demographic date regarding age, gender, education, caste and religion of the people. At the time of birth, death or marriage; registrations are done at the government institutions. Such a census data and birth/death certificates help in maintaining the demographic data about citizens of a country.
The citizens of a country can also acquire information regarding the working of the government through :
Q The above cartoon and graph. Illustrates a point made in this section (Dignity and freedom of the citizens). Underline the sentences from this section which connect to the cartoon or graph.
Ans The cartoon shows the gender based discrimination against women, here she is denied of her basic rights.
The graph depicts that in spite of several complaints, democracy is the most desired form of government in South Asian countries.