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Democracy, Disaster and the Distress

Is Indian democracy in distress? Or Indian democracy is not for the distress? Or is both Indian democracy and the distress in disaster? Democracy and the distress are in a position of bipolar shape. These two are distanced tactically by disaster and run parallel. A gap is always in between these two because of poor relational representation and different goal orientation as well as participation. Development is the only solution to defeat the disaster and the distress. Lack of development planning and defective implementation strategy of it are the cause and disaster is the effect.

Why the above aspects are so critical in respect of the ultimate goal of a people’s democracy? What are the factors involved with creating this bipolar positional gap between democratic system and the distress? It is obvious that there is a default in implication of the democratic system. In this democracy, the supreme power is enjoyed by the political parties and its leaders. It is hardly vested in the people. The leaders (often called as democratic leaders) exercise directly this power as autocrats, while the common people constitute the source of political authority.

On 14th August, 1947, Nehru in his speech at the Constituent Assembly declared the task of independent India included ‘the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.’ But what are the causes for which till these are persisting and making the majority helpless as well as the distress?

We see that this democracy is not able to compete any type of disaster whether it is natural or man-made. Every time, the distress is victims because they are born with their distress of poverty and so forth. Recently, Amphan, the cyclone has devastated the people of the people of riverine area and it is not a new. They have to face every year such type of natural disaster due to geographical location. But there is no proper preparedness and sustainable development and management of this situation. We see that Japan is an earthquake prone country. But it is well -prepared for managing it through necessary development plans and its implementation. Further, during the corona virus pandemic, the distress are the worst victims of hunger and so forth. Till date, democratic government has been unable to eradicate the problem of poverty. Since independence the government under the rule of the different political party different time took various schemes for this. But ultimately these were relief mode. There was absent right political will to tackle this issue.

Democracy does not mean only political freedom. Political freedom is undoubtedly a part of human freedom. But democracy has ‘an important instrumental role’ which ‘extends from the elementary function of preventing drastic deprivations to more radical changes in social priorities.’  In fact, the instrumental role is yet weak due to lack of political will. There is a mismatch between  ‘democratic ideals and democratic practice.’  ‘Constructive importance of democracy i.e. public discussion and exchange of information, views and analysis’ are yet under threat and pressure, if it criticizes government.

It is evident that ‘a basic deficiency in the design of development plans and strategies’ from the very beginning. It has been observed that ‘Indian planning is ruled by the elite and the distress is neglected.’ Secondly, development plans are ‘capitalist oriented’. A  next deficiency is ‘inability to generate sufficient employment  opportunities and ensure adequate production of basic necessities of life.’ Then, there is ‘the absence of sizable and well-conceived plans of development’ according to the region and regional resources. Another reason is ‘political illegitimacy.’

‘No one other than the people of India can save India from its deteriorating environment.’ Today, Indian democracy does not enrich the lives of citizen rather than the political leaders. It loses its ‘crucial link in the chain’ of ‘social choices’ of people.

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by Harasankar

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