Democracy in India
India is the seventh largest (by area) and the second most populous country in the world, with roughly one-sixth of its population, of about a billion and a quarter. It is the world's largest democracy. It is one of the world's oldest civilizations yet, a very young nation. Elections to its Parliament are held once every 5 years. Currently, Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is the head of the government, enjoying a majority in the Parliament, while President Pranab Mukherjee, is the head of state. India is a constitutional republic governed under the world's longest written constitution, federally consisting of 28 states and seven centrally administered union territories, with New Delhi as the nation's capital. The country has six main national parties: the Indian National Congress (INC), Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The Indian National Congress has governed the country for 3/4th's of the time since independence from Britain in 1947, under the de facto one party system and now, under the Dominant-party system. At the level of its states, many regional parties stand for elections to state legislatures, every five years.In rajya sabha elections will be held for every 6 years.
Factors affecting democracy
The success of democracy in India defies many prevailing theories that stipulate preconditions. Indian democracy is best understood by focusing on how power is distributed.
Religion as a major cultural influence plays an important role in politics. Political party support depends greatly on differentiating the electorate along religious lines. The major religious communities are those of the Hindus (although not a homogeneous block), the Muslims (again they too are differentiated as Shias and Sunnis) and the Sikhs; and many political parties are identified by the religion of their supporters. Many national religious issues are the key points of the success in elections. Even some of the political leaders use religion for their own sake and as a medium for their political stability.
The caste system crosses religious boundaries to affect both Hindun people. Hindus have four main castes and hundreds of sub-castes. Many political parties draw supporters form specific castes or sub-castes. The four main castes are Brahmins, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras. Brahmins, historically, were the upper caste and presided over religious rituals. Kshatriyas were rulers and warriors. Vaishyas were merchants, businessmen etc. Shudras were the most oppressed and mostly worked for other castes and were involved in the so-called 'impure' professions like cleaning and handling of corpses.
India is a second most populated country in the world, next only to China. The over a billion population poses a challenge to the state's ability to provide everyone with jobs, health-care, education and other public services. Slowing down the rate of population growth has been a major issue for governments, over time. India being a democratic country the ever increasing population can only be checked by voluntary means, with the informed consent of the people. With the current growth rate, India is set to leave China behind by 2020.
India is still an emerging economy, setting the pace and shape of development. India began as an explicitly socialist nation and continues with a large public-sector and many constraints on private enterprise, although recent governments have reduced some of these restrictions. Their reward has been faster economic growth, particularly through the growth of trade-oriented industry. Some recent governments were voted out due to a sluggish economy.
India is very densely populated. Some advocate[who?] splitting some twenty eight states and seven union territories. It is the 2nd most populated country of the world.
Factors such as education, corruption, women's issues, student politics, criminalization of politics, leadership strategies and the design of political institutions affect national and local politics. Some other factors such as the caste issue, environment policy, new long-term investment in the economy by foreigners etc., also have a bearing.
- sub-section 3.3 - 'Family Planning' in The Emergency (India)
- Encyclopedia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 10 Nov. 2008 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/285248/India India
- How to Safeguard Indian Democracy?
- Analysis of Indian democratic system
- Introduction: Contextualizing and Interpreting the 15th Lok Sabha Elections by Arora, Balveer and Tawa Lama Rewal, Stéphanie. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, 3, 2010