Question – What is a pressure group? How are these useful for Indian democracy ? – 13 July 2021
Pressure groups have become very important to the administrative system. These groups try to influence the administrative and political system of the country so that their interests are promoted or at least their interests are not neglected. In a developing country like India, where there is acute shortage of various resources on one hand and extreme poverty and inequality on the other, there is bound to be a lot of pressure on the administrative system. Different types of pressure groups arise in different walks of life. They provide stability mechanisms and form an important part of structural balance.
Nature of Pressure Groups:
- In a multi-religious, multilingual and democratic country like India, the nature of pressure groups is determined by their diverse goals. Some pressure groups can also be seen as caste groups, some are pressure groups based on social structure, such as All India Dalit Mahasabha, Tamil Sangh etc.
- Pressure groups are formal, organized, both large and limited membership organizations. They try to serve their own interests through lobbying. Like- FICCI and ASSOCHAM.
- Unlike political parties, the functioning of pressure groups is not governed by any ideology or ideological goal. Their basic goal is protection of interests, expression, grouping, putting pressure on the government etc.
Working Method of Pressure Groups:
- In the working of pressure groups, promotion of their interests, negotiations with the people concerned, lobbying, judicial proceedings, demonstration strikes, solicitation, bandhs, dharnas, proposals of posts, meetings with the government and officials, seminars etc. can be mentioned.
- Pressure groups pressurize the concerned organizations and the government to meet their demands, wooing ministers and employees, giving money to political parties and facilitating workers in elections. Pressure groups reinforce democratic values and processes.
Role of Pressure Group:
- Pressure groups act as a link and means of communication between the people and the government and enable wider participation in a democracy.
- Pressure groups are symbols of social unity as they bridge the gap between the general public and decision-makers for the expression of common interests of individuals and also serve to reduce the traditional divisions in the society as a whole.
- Pressure groups are organized interest groups that influence government policies in favor of the interests of their respective groups and increase political awareness and participation of members.
- Sometimes these pressure groups also pose a threat to national integration in the form of interest groups. Where political power is weak, a more powerful pressure group can take over the government machinery.
- Pressure groups can skew government decisions in favor of only their own group and the rights of the rest of the community may be violated.
Pressure groups are now considered an essential and useful element in the democratic process. The society has become very complex and the individual cannot pursue his own interests. In order to gain maximum bargaining power, it needs support from other peers and this gives rise to pressure groups based on common interests. These groups have not been noticed for a long time, but now their role in the political process has become very important because in a democratic system politics is run on the basis of consultation, agreement and to some extent, bargaining. It is imperative for the government to approach these groups during policy making and policy implementation. Apart from this, the government also needs to know the views of the unorganized people who are unable to put forth their demands through pressure groups.