What do you understand by Pressure Groups? Elaborate their role in strengthening the Indian democracy.
Pressure group refers to a group of people that organise themselves to defend and promote their common interest. They try to influence government’s decision making from outside by asserting their collective opinion on the matter.
These often vary in size and organisational structure and can be broadly categorized as:
- Institutional Pressure groups – e.g. IAS Association
- Associational Pressure Groups – e.g. FICCI, CII
- Non-associational Pressure Groups – e.g. Caste Based (Harijan Seva Sangh), Religious (Vishwa Hindu Parishad)
- Spontaneous Groups – e.g. India against corruption (closer to a Protest movement)
Their role can be understood in terms of:
- Safety valve – providing means for channelization of grievances.
- Interest aggregation – refining and shaping the demands of various sections.
- Channel of communication – between government, administration and the citizenry.
- Educate citizens and mobilize public opinion – by promoting debate, discussion and deliberation in public domain.
Thereby, Pressure Groups act as a vital link between the government and the governed. They hold governments accountable and responsive to the needs of the citizen and thus play a key role in facilitating and strengthening Indian democracy.