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India, democracy and the promised republic

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Source: The Hindu

Context: India will soon celebrate its 75th anniversary. The article evaluates how successful Indian democracy has been till now.

Direction: Just go through the article. No need to make notes.

How India should be judged on its 75th anniversary?

  • On basis of Human Development: India must be judged by the extent to which it has advanced human development and not just on its economic development.
    • Currently, India is in the 131st position (out of 189 countries) in Human Development Report 2020, even though the Indian Economy is slated to become the 5th largest in the world.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru in his message to the nation on August 15, 1947, mentions the aim of India:
    • To bring freedom and opportunity;
    • To fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease;
    • To build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and
    • To create social, economic and political institutions that will ensure justice and fullness of life for every man and woman

What is the status of women on the 75th anniversary?

  • High Gender-based inequality: It is rampant in India; within every social group, women are worse off than their men. Women are less nourished, less educated and have a representation in the institutions of governance far lower than their share of the population.
    • Women have very low female labour force participation in India compared to the rest of the world.
    • It reinforces their secondary position in society by adding economic deprivation to the social restriction that discourages them from working outside the home

However, there has been some progress– female literacy has jumped, more women participated in the parliamentary election than men, their representation in local governance has increased tremendously, and MMR and instances of female infanticide have decreased.

What is the status of regional differentiation on the 75th anniversary?

  • Comparison with China: China does far better than India on development indicators pertaining to health and education, not to mention poverty. However, some of the Indian states have done relatively well on human development indicators in comparison to China.
    • The south (e.g., Kerela and Tamil Nadu) and the west of India show greater development because they have witnessed greater social transformation.
  • Regional differentiation in human development is high: For instance, data released by NITI Aayog in 2021 show multi-dimensional poverty in Bihar to be over 50% while it is only a little more than 1% in Kerala.

Conclusion:

In the current scenario where freedom of expression of individuals is threatened, civil liberties are at stake and there is distress in agriculture, it is necessary for India to create “social, economic and political” institutions that can facilitate social transformation.

 

Insta Links

Democracy Report 2022

Dystopia in India’s Democracy

 

Mains Link

Q. Critically analyse the working of democracy in India since independence. (15M)

 

Prelims Link

Which one of the following factors constitutes the best safeguard of liberty in a liberal democracy?

(a)    A committed judiciary

(b)    Centralization of powers

(c)    Elected government

(d)   Separation of powers

Answer: D

SOP minimizes the possibility of arbitrary excesses by the government since the sanction of all three branches is required for the making, executing, and administering of laws.