PRESSURE GROUPS

 

PRESSURE GROUPS

 

 

MEANING

 

  • The term ‘pressure group’ originated in the USA. A pressure group is a group of people who are organised actively for promoting and defending their common interest.
  • It is called so as it attempts to bring a change in the public policy by exerting pressure on the government.
  • It acts as a liaison between the government and its members. Pressure groups are also called interest groups or vested groups.

 

IMPORTANCE OF PRESSURE GROUPS IN INDIA

 

  • Enhances and broadens political participation
  • Acts as safety valve and vent for grievances
  • Ensures checks and balances
  • Spreads awareness – Information – Education – Communication (IEC)
  • Empowerment and deepening of the democratic principles
  • Ensures accountability of government
  • Helps in policy formulation, legislative functioning and policy implementation.
  • Acts as feedback mechanism for government
  • Ensures participatory democracy – inclusive growth
  • Pressure groups enhances quality of governance – DebateDiscussionDeliberationDissention (4Ds)
  • They serve as a vital intermediary institutions between government and society

 

REASONS FOR PROLIFERATION OF PRESSURE GROUPS IN INDIA

 

  • Vote bank politics
  • Criminalisation of politics
  • Indifferent attitude of government and political parties towards marginalised sections of society
  • Poor criminal justice system – No quick justice and delayed justice
  • Rising influence of non-state actors
  • Poor public service delivery
  • Ineffective and efficient grievance redressal mechanism.
  • Failure of parliamentary democracy
  • Globalisation – Amnesty and Greenpeace
  • Vested interests in favourable policy formulation

 

 

HOW PRESSURE GROUPS ARE DIFFERENT FROM POLITICAL PARTIES

 

  • Concerned with specific programmes and issues
  • Their activities are confined to the protection and promotion of the interests of their members
  • Pressure groups neither contest elections nor try to capture political power
  • They are outside the government
  • Neither accountability nor transparency
  • Temporary in nature and formation
  • Interest based formation and composition
  • Uniform ideology – common interest – common causes

 

THREE IMPORTANT TOOLS OF PRESSURE GROUPS

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ElectioneeringLobbyingPropagandizing
Placing in public office persons who are favourably disposed towards the interests the concerned pressure group seeks to promote.

 

Persuading public officers, whether they are initially favourably disposed toward them or not, to adopt and enforce the policies that they think will prove most beneficial to their interests.Influencing public opinion and thereby gaining an indirect influence over government, since the government in a democracy is substantially affected by public opinion.

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF PRESSURE GROUPS

 

  • Based on Certain Interests – organises itself keeping in view certain interests and thus tries to adopt the structure of power in the political systems.
  • Use of combination of Modern and Traditional Means – Modern means includes adoption of techniques like financing of political parties, sponsoring their close candidates at the time of elections and keeping the bureaucracy also satisfied. Their traditional means include exploitation of caste, creed and religious feelings to promote their interests.
  • Pressure groups are primarily a consequence of inadequacies of Political Parties
  • Represent Changing Consciousness in society
  • Pressure groups results out of increasing pressure and demands on resources – Scarcity of resources, claims and counterclaims on the resources from different and competing sections of the society.

 

METHOD USED BY PRESSURE GROUPS

 

TYPES OF PRESSURE GROUPS

 

  • Institutional Interest Groups àThese groups are formally organised which consist of professionally employed persons. They are a part of government machinery and try to exert their influence. These groups include political parties, legislatures, armies, bureaucracies, etc. Whenever such an association raises protest it does so by constitutional means and in accordance with the rules and regulations. Example – IAS Association, IPS Association, State civil services association, etc.
  • Associational Interest Groups à These are organised specialised groups formed for interest articulation, but to pursue limited goals. These include trade unions, organisations of businessmen and industrialists and civic groups. Examples – Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Indian Chamber of Commerce, Trade Unions such as AITUC, Teachers Associations, Students Associations such as National Students Union of India (NSUI) etc.
  • Non-Associational Interest Groups àThese are the kinship and lineage groups and ethnic, regional, status and class groups that articulate interests on the basis of individuals, family and religious heads. These groups have informal structure. These include caste groups, language groups, etc.
  • Anomic Interest Groups – By anomic pressure groups we mean more or less a spontaneous breakthrough into the political system from the society such as riots, demonstrations, assassinations and similar.

First Trade Union in India – All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was founded in 1920 with Lala Lajpat Rai as its first president. Upto 1945, Congressmen, Socialists and Communists worked in the AITUC which was the central trade union organisation of workers of India.

 

PRESSURE GROUPS IN INDIA

 

  • Business Groups – FICCI, ASSOCHAM etc
  • Trade Unions – AITUC, INTUC, Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)
  • Professional Groups – Indian Medical Association (IMA), Bar Council of India (BCI)
  • Agrarian Groups– All India Kisan Sabha, Bharatiya Kisan Union, etc
  • Student’s Organisations–  ABVP, All India Students Federation (AISF), National Students Union of India (NSUI)
  • Religious Groups – RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Jamaat-e-Islami, etc.
  • Caste Groups – Harijan Sevak Sangh, karni sena, etc
  • Linguistic Groups – Tamil Sangh, Andhra Maha Sabha, etc
  • Tribal Groups – National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Tribal National Volunteers (TNU) in Tripura, Tribal League of Assam, etc.
  • Ideology based Groups – Narmada Bachao Andolan, Chipko Movement, India Against Corruption etc.
  • Anomic Groups – Naxalite Groups, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), Dal Khalsa, etc.

 

FUNCTIONS, ROLE OF PRESSURE GROUPS IN INDIA

 

  • Interest Articulation – The process by which the claims of the people get crystallized and articulated is called interest articulation
  • Agents of Political Socialisation – as they influence the orientations of the people towards the political process.
  • They work as two-way communication links between the people and the government.
  • Pressure groups play a vital role in the legislative process.
  • Role in Judicial Administration – Pressure groups try to use the judicial system for securing and safeguarding their interests.
  • Pressure groups play a leading role in the formulation of public opinion.
  • Pressure groups help in improving the quality of government and governance.
  • Provides important counterweights to balance the concentration of power.
  • Pressure groups increase social cohesion and political stabilityby providing a ‘safety-valve’ outlet

 

ISSUES WITH PRESSURE GROUPS IN INDIA

 

  • Politicisation and crony capitalism due to political funding
  • Resorting to unconstitutional means and violence on different occasions
  • Non – organised structure and lack of governance
  • Unaccounted foreign funding has destabilizing effect on economy
  • Vote bank politics
  • Lack of accountability and transparency
  • Narrow perspective and lobbying which leads to increase in inequality
  • Propagating extremism