Q.1) Critically examine the impact of coalition-politics on the Indian Political System. Make a case on the need for cooperative federalism in today’s world.
A very common question these days. We wanted to start off this day with a simple yet important question. We hear cooperative federalism everywhere these days and including with coalition politics is a very interesting phenomenon to study.
The demand of the question is straight-forward too. The first 100 words would deal with the pros and cons of the coalition politics and the next 100 words would deal with cooperative federalism.
We have two top answers this time because they both have approached the question in different, unique and innovative ways.
The Top Answer is written by – Sarthak Garg and Indushree
Indushree’s answer –
Ans) The slow decline of national parties and emergence of regional parties led to the evolution of coalition politics in India. Its influence on Indian Political System is one of degree than of kind.
Democratic Base :
Providing representation to regional and sectoral groups strengthens democracy. But, post poll alliances do not necessarily represent people’s will.
Policy formulation :
Prevents extreme measures and checks tyranny through consensus based politics. At the same time leads to policy paralysis, suppression of individual dissent through whips
International Relations :
Considers the regional stake holders in formulating foreign policy but can adversely affect foreign relations. Ex – West Bengal delaying Teesta pact with Bangladesh.
While increasing intra-alliance accountability, it also provides opportunities for corruption – defection for want of share in executive power
Government formation :
Assists formation of government in case of hung assembly and prevents expensive electoral process.But such governments are threatened by instability.
Representation of regional parties in Central government assists co-operative federalism where strong center supports strong states and vice versa. 14th Finance commission recommendations, NITI Aayog and Interstate councils stress the importance of co-operative federalism as it ensures
– collective responsibility for solving conflicts.
– dispersion of power to provide multiple access points to affected citizens.
– effective policy formulation through negotiations and implementation through greater financial devolution.
Sarthalk Garg’s answer –
Ans) Coalition politics means forging of alliance between 2 or more political parties for the purpose of establishing and maintaining governments. Coalition politics first arrived in the Political Scene in the form of Janta Parivar in 1977 in wake of emergency, and since then it has been the dominant theme of Indian political system.
Advantages of coalition politics:
1. More representation to smaller and regional parties enhances their voice and sensitize governments about regional issues. Thus, it strengthens democratic set-up of governance
2. Inclusion of parties with diverse ideologies, helps in checking the tyranny of majority and force government to tread broadly acceptable path.
Disadvantages of coalition politics:
1. It generally have destabilizing influences on government, and many times coalition members seems to arm twist government on certain issues.
2. It also hinders fast decision making, as its tough to bring all parties on board in limited time.
3.Creation of multiple power centres, thus eroding authority of the executive.
A co-operative federalism is a set-up in which central and state authorities work together cohesively on policy, administrative and developmental issues. It is required in today’s world because of :
1. With increasing globalization, economies of states are directly interconnected to rest of world. co-operative federalism would help in monitoring and enabling such relationships.
2. States are responsible for the last mile implementation of government schemes,thus co-operation would ensure effective and speedier development.
3. With schemes like make in India, states would need to co-operate on stting up of special zones and building up ecosystems.
4, Boundary and other international issues could be resolved easly by prompt co-operation between centre and states eg teesta issue with bangladesh, tamil issue with sri lanka.
To become a strategic and economic power , India need to present a homogeneous picture to rest of world and for that co-operative federalism is indispensable.
Q.2) Differentiate a political party from a pressure group. Explain the role of RSS and Bajrang Dal units of the Sangh Parivar as a pressure-group in the contemporary Indian Political System.
We deliberately asked this question as we wanted to conduct a social experiment. We wanted to see how many of you would be a true administrator in dealing with sensitive topics. We wanted to see who will be vocal enough to write controversial answers and who will act neutral and give an unbiased answer. The true acumen of a bureaucrat is tested when he is confronted with such sensitive topics.
Some of you have praised the role of RSS and some of you have criticised it vehemently. We wanted a good, balanced and neutral answer. We also wanted to see who would give real life examples of various controversial places, and who would shy away from doing so.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Santhosh Venkatesh
Ans) A pressure group is a group of Individuals who means of organised activity work for protection and promotion of their interests. Their activities may include Electionieering, Propagandazing or Lobbying. Examples of Pressure groups are FICCI, Student Unions, RSS, Narmada bachao Andolan etc
Differences between Political parties and Pressure groups
Objectives :Pressure groups work for their own interests while Political parties work for National Interests.
Life span: Pressure groups may be ad-hoc or permanent depending on their objectives and
goals. Political parties are permanent and are recognized by Election Commission
Scope of Power : While Pressure groups influence Public policy, Political parties create public policies.
Means for achieving Objectives : Political parties follow Constitutional methods while pressure groups occasionally resort to legal methods like lobbying and illegal methods such as strikes.
Role of Bajrang Dal and Rashtriya swayamsevak Sangh RSS in Indian political system
i)RSS has been the ideological mentor for some political parties and has had profound influence in its Ideology and creation of vote banks .
ii) Some of Leaders of political parties are former members these Organisations.
iii)RSS supported the Human Rights and Pro Democracy movements during emergency
iv) Certain religious issues that have influenced politics such as Religious conversions ,cow protection movement, Establishment of temples at Disputed sites such as Ram temple at Ayodhya arose due to these pressure groups.
Q.3) How far do regional groupings pose a threat to the stability of the Indian federalism. Trace and analyze the working of such regional groupings.
When we framed this question, we have the “Zonal Councils” and “Inter-State Councils” in mind and that is what we meant by “regional groupings”. But this was too ambiguous so a whole range of very interesting answers had come, right from political parties to naxalites. Excellent innovation and novelty we see daily in these answers.
We do apologize for the ambiguity created but we are very impressed by the type of quality answers each one of you had produced.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Stalin
Ans) Regional groupings are a mixed blessing.
– Formation of Regional groupings means increased social consciousness as well as right awareness among people.
– It leads to strengthening of democracy. Forcing the legislative to incorporate the public opinion; Enforce accountability and in precise leads to citizen-centric governance.
– Leads to representation of minority interests/excluded.
However, the other side of the formation of regional groupings has following demerits –
– Too many number of Regional groupings means more divisive politics. It leads to political instability, delayed decision making due to lack of consensus.
– It may lead to different political parties with varying ideologies at state level. This results in coalition center with contrasting ideologies. This makes running of govt difficult. Thus it may pose threat to federalism by weakening position of center vis-a-vis states.
To make this working cooperative federalism model, following may be needed.
– Form coalition at center with parties having coherent ideologies.
– Constitution of Empowered group of ministers(EGOM), inter state bodies like Inter-state council, making proper use of zonal councils and other coordination mechanisms.
– Center to respect state autonomy by minimising interference in state list and framing policies related to concurrent list only through states consultation by making use of coordination mechanisms like Inter-state council etc.
Q.4) Explain the concept of Judicial Activism and examine its impact on the relationship between the executive and judiciary in India.
A very simple straight-forward question again. We were expecting to see a lot of real-life examples in the answers.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Nishant
Ans) Judicial Activism is the use of judicial powers to restrict Legislative Adventurism and Executive Excesses. Judiciary self-assumes the role to strike down any legislation or executive action which is against the Constitution. This is done either suo-moto or through public interest litigations (PIL). SC order to remove photographs of political leader from government ads is a recent example of judicial activism
The practice has gained steam due to the growing public frustration with parliamentary dysfunctioning and executive lethargy in cases like environmental pollution. Its impact on relationship between the 3 organs of Indian democracy is examined below:
– Started a game of one upmanship. Eg. after Kesavananda verdict in 1973, legislature assumed even greater power via 42nd amendment, only to turned down again in Minnerva Mills 1980
– Retaliatory response by Executive such as by taking part in judicial appointment through the newly formed NJAC
– Over-interpretation of the Constitution by the Judiciary to force the issue. Taking away Presidential powers to appoint higher judges in ‘Second Judges Case’ is one example.
As a result the relationship between the Judiciary and other two has suffered massive trust deficit. Both the legislative and executive vouch for judicial restraint instead of overreach (activism). While the efforts of the Judiciary should be applauded, at the same time judicial activism shouldn’t be treated as a pill for every ill.
Q.5) ‘The Central Government frequently complains on the poor performance of the State Governments in eradicating suffering of the vulnerable sections of the society’. Restructuring of the CSS across the sectors for ameliorating the cause of vulnerable sections of population aims at providing flexibility to the states in better implementation. Critically evaluate.
2013 Mains had asked this question. The crux of this question lies in its directive “critically evaluate”, so all those who bashed CSS would get lesser marks if they did not give the other side of the story too.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Sepoy No. 1446
Ans) Centrally Sponsored Schemes are target based intervention policies which aim to improve socio-economic conditions of people. These are implemented by states but are formulated and funded by central government. Examples include MNREGA, Mid day meal, SSA etc
Many of the CSSs are based on “one size fits” approach. It doesn’t consider difference in priorities and problems faced by states. This poses two challenges:
1. Misdirected efforts: For example, schemes like MDM and SSA are more effective in states like Bihar and Jharkhand compared to a State like Kerala.Hence proper appropriation of fund can be done by understanding the ground realities.
2. Inflexible approach: The framework and guidelines are prepared by center which states have to comply. The states have limited options to amend the policies.
In wake of these inconsistencies and structural problems,now center has de-linked many CSSs from central funding and have changed funding pattern for many others.This gives more autonomy and flexibility to states to design their own programmes. The enhanced funding as proposed by 14th FC(42% funding) complemets this move.
But there are limitation of above restructuring. Not all polices can be de-linked. Few important CSSs which represent National priorities like those targeting poverty alleviation will continue to be funded by center. Also,Concerns like central oversight,states performance, actual field execution will have to be manged for an effective outcome.