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Essay 2 for ias

Essay 2 for ias

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Published by Biswajit Kalita

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Published by: Biswajit Kalita on Jun 17, 2012
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06/17/2012

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 Arab uprising reflects the public mood in authoritiarian regimes but alsohas lessons to democracies like india
The fall of ben ali form the high pedestals of power in tunisia following a public uprising marked thebeginnning of a series of public protests across the middle east north africa region. The historic tahrirsquare protests brought to an end , the rule of an iron handed dictator. This showed the world, thepower of public opinion. Soon the fellow authoritarian rulers faceds imilar protests and are trying tosuppress them.The african continent for long had remained under developed despite it being endowed withrich natural resources. The colonial powers like england, france colonised vast areas of africa to exploitthe human and natural resources. Following the nd of world war II, the colonia powers withdrew leavingbehind a brokn and battered continent divided into dozens of countries by unnatural borders. Thisresulted in formation of nations with tribes, groups with conflicting interest. This lead to internalconflicts and hence no sense of nationalism existed among the people . this lack of unity was exploitedby dictators to build their autocratic regimes. Globalisation brought riches to the elites as the worldstarted extracting resources from africa to fuel its growth. However there was no attempt to developthe regions by the authoritarian rulers. The dictators resorted to grave human right vi0olations tosuppress political opposition to them. The 2008 economic crisis and food price inflation furtherheightened the discontentment among the people . The self immolation of a youth in tunisia owing totorture by state authorities in 2011 sparked off protests against the autocratic regime which soonspread across the region.The root cause for these revolts was not merely autocratic regimes because if that was the caserevolts were expected in all autocratic regimes. It was the lack of responsiveness of governments todemand and greivances of people that formed core for discontent. Hence there is a need for all nationsacross world to introspect on whether they are responding to public needs and demands.People of 21
st
century are more empowered and assertive of their rights than ever before. Withadvent of technologies like internet, there is a globalisation of ideas. People across the world are nowmore aware of their rights. Hence there is bound to be increased expectations and demands ongovernments. Governments need to take measures to improve governance. This includes even
democracies. The recent london riots have proved that it is a fallacy to presume public protests won’t
occur in democracies. In
this context there is a need to analyse the capacity of world’s largest
democracy to repsond to needs of its citizensIndia is nation comprising diverse beliefs, ideologies and culture. Its general election isconsidered among the largest organised man made event in world. India emerged as an independentnation following an independence struggle which largely comprised of peaceful non violent protests ,known as satyagraha. Hence public uprising is not alient to India. Everyday it witnesses protests of 
 
various scales on diverse issues. It has a multiparty dmeocracy, stable and strong institutions and avibrant civil society. Any public uprising in a democracy is due to a deficit in governance. There is a needto analyse the reasons for possible discontent among public.The discontent among indian public has been rising on various issues. The cocktail of corruption,nepotism and redtapism has made bureaucracy inefficient. Globalisation has widened the rich poordivide. The ineffective redistribution policy is a major area of concern. Despite being the largestdemocracy, its parliament is only the 13
th
largest in world with countries like nepal, rwanda boasting of alarger parllament. This shows that people to representative ratio is large, indicating that citizens havelesser opportunities to put across their greivances and demands. The slow progress in devolution of powers despite two decades since the historic 72
nd
and 73
rd
amendment has left the public politicallydisempowered to a large extent.The constitution guarantees to its citizens a set of fundamental rights which are available tocitizens to exercise anytime. Yet the government resorts to use of archaic draconian laws like seditionact, section 144 to suppress legitimate protest of people .Democracy in India is increasingly viewed as right to vote. But in reality , debate anddeliberation are as much important as vote. Today, with a growing middle class and more politicallyaware rural mass, the demand for their voices to be heard during policy making process is on a rise. Thegovernment has taken half hearted steps like putting certain bills out for public consulation, publichearings etc. but still a lot is left to be done.In context of these problems, what measures need to be taken to make democracies moreresponsive to peoples demands? It is clear from current trend that peoples demand s and expectationwill continue to increase. The state needs to provide a platform for citizens to put across their demandsand interact with state. This requries an effective public greivance redressal emchanisms. Technologytools like facebook, twitter may be put to use to enable two way communication between governmentand citizen. Measures need to be taken to replace the elite, exclusionist political culture with aninclusive participative political culture. In this context there is a need to strengthen gram sabha andreplicate such models in urban areas as well. People should be viewed as stakeholders rather than merebenificiaries of development.The strength of parliament needs to be increased to an appropriate extent such that a MP getsadequate opportunity to interact with his/her constituencies and address their demands and greivances.Internal party structures need to be democratised to bring to an end dynastic politics. Democracies needto evolve with time and yield space for public to put across their views.International organisations need to focus on human resource development rather than onnatural resources. It is only though efficient human resources that one can exploit natural resourceseffectively.People anywhere across the world demand only for a SMART governance ie a government thatis Simple Moral Accountable Resposnible and Transparent. If governments are able to deliver there 5

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