Precis Writing [IFS (Forests Services) English (Mains)]: Questions 1 - 1 of 6

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Question number: 1

» Precis Writing


Appeared in Year: 2014

Essay Question▾

Describe in Detail

Write a precise of the following passage in one third of its length. Please do not give a title to it. The precise should be written in your own language.

Democracy has put down firm roots in India but the quality of government that India’s democracy provides remains low. How does one best understand consolidation of democracy in India? It’ is clear that India’s democracy has succeeded against considerable odds: a low-income economy, widespread poverty and illiteracy, and immense ethnic diversity. How did India do it? Indian democracy is best understood by focusing not mainly on its socio-economic determinants, but on how power distribution in that society is negotiated and renegotiated. A concern with the process Of power negotiation, in turn, leads one to analyses leadership strategies, the design of political institutions, and the political role of diverse social groups, or, in short, the interaction of the state and society.

More specifically, India’s democratic record suggests that two related sets of political processes have guided the management of power conflicts in that society. First, a delicate balance has been struck and restruck between forces of centralization and decentralization. And, second, the interests of the powerful in society have been served without fully excluding the weaker groups. The record on both of these fronts is far from perfect; the failures have actually put a great strain on Indian democracy. Nevertheless, Accommodation Of those who mount powerful challenges by granting them greater autonomy and/or a share of resources has, been central to the strengthening of democracy.

As federal democracies go, India is a relatively centralized state. While many critics have made this observation, the fact that demands for decentralization only make sense within the context Of centralized authority; authority and power, like wealth, have to exist before they can be distributed. Over the years, as democracy has spread, numerous mobilized groups in India have demanded further redistribution of power. These demands were often

Resisted, sometimes wisely, but at other times unwisely and at a great cost. Overall, however, enough concessions were made so that the Indian politicalsystem by now possesses significant decentralized traits. Notable features of these are to be found in the practice of federalism, in the changing character of local governments, and in the evolving constitutional design. No electoral democracy can long survive without protecting theinterests of the powerful, whether these are propertied groups, groups with high status, or groups with effective political organization. Long-term exclusion of weaker groups is also not healthy for a democracy.

How has this balance been managed in India? While the rhetoric of the Indian state has often been redistributive — socialism, abolition of traditional privileges, reform of the caste system, and populism — political practice has been considerably more conservative, eschewing any decisive redistribution. The Indian state has thus been criticised both for its excessive socialist commitments and for its failure at substantial redistribution. However, the political impact of these twin tendencies — radical in tone, conservative in practice — may well have strengthened democracy. This is because the powerful in society feel well served by the system, but weaker groups do not feel totally excluded or hopeless, at least not so far.


Despite the firm roots, Indian democracy provides low quality government coupled with low income economy, widespread poverty, illiteracy and immense ethnic diversity. Rather, Indian democracy is noted for its power distribution. This leads to the analysis of the interaction of state and society. According to the Indian democratic records, delicate

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