One of the most critical subjects in class 9 is social science. While it may be boring for some, a few students might find it interesting to study. So, to make the subject more interesting for everyone, take a look at the class 9 social science notes on democracy in India that we have prepared for you. Before the British colonised India, the country was primarily a monarchy. This means it was ruled by kings of a particular region. But, after the British era, our leaders chose democracy as the independent country’s form of government. So, in this article, let us understand the concept of democracy and the details of democracy in India.
“What is really needed to make democracy function is not knowledge of facts, but the right education”. – Mahatma Gandhi
What is Democracy?
Democracy is a form of government in which people have the right to choose their representatives. These elected representatives then go on to form a government to rule the country. In simple terms, we often hear people describing democracy as a government that is “of the people, by the people and for the people” of that particular country.
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With its emphasis on individual liberties and communal decision-making, democracy promotes a more inclusive, accountable, and just society. It promotes representation of varied interests and prevents power consolidation by allowing citizens to engage in governance through vote and public conversation. Furthermore, democracy promotes open communication, tolerance, and nonviolent conflict settlement. It advances human rights, fosters innovation, and promotes economic progress. Though imperfect, democracy is a critical framework for protecting human dignity, promoting equality, and empowering citizens to collectively decide their destiny.
What are the Types of Democracy?
Democracy can be broadly classified into two types, namely direct and indirect democracy:
What is Direct Democracy?
Direct democracy is one in which the people themselves vote on a bill or amendment, thereby making the final statement. It involves a huge number of people from the country. It was mainly practised in ancient Greek cities.
What is Indirect Democracy?
Indirect democracy is the one which is currently being practised in India and a few other major countries like the USA, UK, etc. Here, the representatives are chosen through elections. They make important decisions on behalf of the people.
Features of Democracy in India
Apart from the above-mentioned types of Democracy, different countries have developed their own unique forms of government, incorporating additional features to suit their socio-cultural requirements. These may include a Two-party system, multiple-party systems, or indirect methods of representative election. However, irrespective of what their practices are, every Government that calls itself a Democracy has certain aspects which are common with other Democracies. These features of democracy are basic empowering tools that every citizen in the country is equipped with, irrespective of any form of social status or standing. Here are the features of Democracy in points:
- Free, Fair and Frequent Elections
- Representation of Minorities
- Rule within the Constitutional Law
- Freedom of Speech, Expression and Choice
- Federal Rights
- Council Responsibility
- Right to Education
- Right to Form Association and Union
- Same Law for All
- No Control on Judiciary
What are the Merits of Democracy?
- Since the people of the country elect a government in a democracy, thus it is ultimately answerable to the people for their actions.
- A democratic government will give more freedom to its people to question the government itself. For example, the people of China cannot question the government. However, democracy in India will allow people to question the government if anything is done wrong.
- Since there is the concept of an opposition party, the quality of decision-making will be improved over a period of time.
What are the Demerits of Democracy?
- Since there are many layers of authority in a democracy, the decision-making process is a little slower compared to other types of government.
- There is a possibility of corruption in a democratic government since people can use political influence and power to win elections. Democracy in India can be an excellent example where people try to influence election results by giving money to people during election times.
- Development projects in a big country like India could be unstable due to a change of political parties every five years.
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Also Read: What is Democracy in Hindi
Which is the Largest Democracy in the World?
India is the largest democracy in the world where the President acts as the head of the state. The Prime Minister acts as the head of the central government of the country. Apart from the central government, there are state governments in each state to aid in better governance of the country. Both the central government and state government function within the framework of the constitution. One of the fundamental principles of democracy in India is based on political equality, and therefore any person in the country can run a party and contest in the elections.
Division of Houses in the Central Government
Democracy in India has a bicameral legislature, which creates two houses namely the Upper House or Rajya Sabha and the Lower House or Lok Sabha. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected through the central government elections in which people from all over the country cast their votes to elect members for their constituency. As of now, there are a total of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha which represents 543 constituencies in the country. The party with the majority among the 543 seats forms the government. The party with the second majority forms the opposition party.
Out of the 245 members of the Rajya Sabha, 233 members are elected indirectly by the representatives of the state legislative assembly. The President of India elects the remaining 12 members for their contribution in various fields like art, literature, sports etc.
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Types of Parties in India
The system of democracy in India has a multi-party system. All parties in India are classified as a national party or a state party if they have clear specific qualifications. Also, for a party to contest in the elections, it must be registered with the Election Commission of India (ECI). It is an independent body that cannot be controlled by the government.
What is the Constitution?
Society has fundamental laws that describe and differentiate it from other types of societies. Constitutive laws are formed by agreement in significant cultures where different groups of citizens co-exist. In developed nations, this agreement is available in written form, which we call a Constitution. The Indian Constitution was drafted by the Constituent Assembly, which was formed in December 1946. The Constituent Assembly consisted of 300 members in 1946. It was headed by Dr Rajendra Prasad. Whereas, the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly was headed by Dr BR Ambedkar. The Drafting Committee completed its work in two years, eleven months, and eighteen days. The Constitution of India was adopted on 26 November 1949 and came into force on 26th January 1950.
To know more, read our blog on The Indian Constitution.
What is Dictatorship?
Dictatorship is a type of government where one person or a group of people enjoy unbridled power in the absence of any limitations. Dictators usually use forcible means to achieve political power. They subsequently maintain their government through the use of violence, terror, and the suspension of civil rights. They also use different means such as the dissemination of disinformation to sustain their rule. All this helps the dictator govern the country in the direction of his choice, even though it may come at the cost of public welfare.
For more information, read our blog on What is the Difference between Democracy and Dictatorship?
Democracy vs Dictatorship
Here are the key differences between the two forms of governance- Democracy and Dictatorship:
|Government of the people
|One person or a group rules a population
|People choose their representatives
|The dictator rules every aspect of the country.
|Citizens have the ultimate power in a democracy.
|The dictator has all the powers.
|The freedom provided in terms of rights and duties
|No freedom for the people
|A wholesome justice system
|The power to provide justice lies in the hands of the dictator
|Human rights to express, vote, information, social rights, cultural rights, etc.
|The dictator has all the rights and people are oppressed.
Principles of Indian Democracy
There are mainly five principles – Sovereign, Secular, Socialist, Democratic, and Republic. Let’s discover them more in detail.
Sovereignty is a vital feature of Indian Democracy. It refers to the full power of the governing body over itself without outside interference. On the basis of this, elections by the political parties are being held. Most noteworthy, the people of India elect their representatives and these representatives remain responsible for the common people.
Another principle is being politically equal. Furthermore, it essentially means all citizens are equal before the law. Also, there should be no discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, race, etc. Hence, every Indian enjoys equal political parties.
The rule of the majority is an essential feature of Indian democracy. Moreover, the party which wins the most seats forms and runs the government. Nobody can object to the support of the majority.
Collective Responsibility is a notable feature of Indian Democracy. The Council of Ministers of India is collectively responsible to their respective legislatures. Therefore, no minister alone is responsible for any actions of their government.
Indian Democracy works on the principle of the formation of opinion. The Legislature of India provides an appropriate platform to express public views and beliefs.
Cons of Democracy
- In a democracy, leaders change frequently, resulting in instability
- Democracy is all about political power and competition, with little room for morals
- In a democracy, many individuals must be consulted, which causes delays
- Elected officials do not always know what is best for the public, which leads to poor decisions
- Because democracy is built on election competitiveness, it breeds corruption
- Ordinary people don’t know what’s best for them, thus they shouldn’t make any decisions
Arguments in Favour of Democracy
- A democratic government is preferable to a non-democratic government because it is more responsible
- The quality of decision-making is enhanced by democracy
- Democracy gives a means of resolving disagreements and problems
- Citizens’ dignity is enhanced by democracy
- Democracy is preferable to other kinds of government in that it permits us to fix our own errors
Important Questions in NCERT Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1
Here are NCERT solutions to important questions in Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1.
Ques 1. Here is some information about four countries. Based on this information, how would you classify each of these countries? Write ‘democratic’, ‘undemocratic’ or ‘not sure’ against each of these.
- Country A: People who do not accept the country’s official religion do not have a right to vote.
- Country B: The same party has been winning elections for the last twenty years.
- Country C: The ruling party has lost in the last three elections.
- Country D: There is no independent election commission.
- Not sure
Ques 2: Here is some information about four countries. Based on this information, how would you classify each of these countries? Write ‘democratic’, ‘undemocratic’ or ‘not sure’ against each of these.
- Country P: The parliament cannot pass a law about the army without the consent of the Chief of the Army.
- Country Q: The parliament cannot pass a law reducing the powers of the judiciary.
- Country R: The country’s leaders cannot sign any treaty with another country without taking permission from its neighbouring country.
- Country S: All the major economic decisions about the country are taken by officials of the central bank which the ministers cannot change.
Ques 3. Which of these is not a good argument in favour of democracy? Why?
- People feel free and equal in a democracy.
- Democracies resolve conflict in a better way than others.
- Democratic government is more accountable to the people.
- Democracies are more prosperous than others.
Ans: d. “Democracies are more prosperous than others” is not a strong argument in favour of democracy. There are instances of democratic nations that are not as affluent as non-democratic nations. Democracy is a system of government in which the people are actively involved in making decisions and choosing the government. As there are other elements, such as location, economic capability, governmental policies, human resources, natural resources, etc., prosperity is not always guaranteed.
Ques 4: Each of these statements contains a democratic and an undemocratic element. Write out the two separately for each statement.
- A minister said that some laws have to be passed by the parliament in order to conform to the regulations decided by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
- The Election Commission ordered re-polling in a constituency where large-scale rigging was reported.
- Women’s representation in the parliament has barely reached 10 per cent. This led women’s organisations to demand one-third of seats for women.
- Democratic element: A minister said that some laws have to be passed by the parliament. Undemocratic element: Conform to the regulations decided by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
- Democratic element: The Election Commission ordered re-polling in a constituency. Undemocratic element: Large-scale rigging was reported.
- Democratic element: Women’s organisations to demand one-third of seats for women. Undemocratic element: Women’s representation in parliament has barely reached 10 per cent.
Ques 5. Which of these is not a valid reason for arguing that there is a lesser possibility of famine in a democratic country?
- Opposition parties can draw attention to hunger and starvation.
- Free press can report suffering from famine in different parts of the country.
- Government fears its defeat in the next elections.
- People are free to believe in and practise any religion.
Ans: d. People are free to believe in and practise any religion.
Reason: People are free to believe in and practise any religion, but it does not make it true that a democratic nation has a lower likelihood of famine.
Ques 6. There are 40 villages in a district where the government has made no provision for drinking water. These villagers met and considered many methods of forcing the government to respond to their need.
Which of these is not a democratic method?
- Filing a case in the courts claiming that water is part of right to life.
- Boycotting the next elections to give a message to all parties.
- Organising public meetings against government’s policies.
- Paying money to government officials to get water.
Ans: d. Paying money to government officials to get water.
Ques 7. Write a response to the following arguments against democracy:
- Army is the most disciplined and corruption-free organisation in the country. Therefore army should rule the country.
- Rule of the majority means the rule of ignorant people. What we need is the rule of the wise, even if they are in small numbers.
- If we want religious leaders to guide us in spiritual matters, why not invite them to guide us in politics as well? The country should be ruled by religious leaders.
- The army is a well-organized institution. However, having an army in charge would be unfair because it was not elected by the people, making it an undemocratic act.
- The majority rule is not the rule of the ignorant The government is administered by those who understand law and order, and wisdom is a relative concept.
- Politics and religion are two separate things. Religion can direct people towards religious matters, but it cannot direct people towards politics, a crucial aspect of a country.
Ques 8. Are the following statements in keeping with democracy as a value? Why?
- Father to daughter: I don’t want to hear your opinion about your marriage. In our family children marry where the parents tell them to.
- Teacher to student: Don’t disturb my concentration by asking me questions in the classroom.
- Employee to the officer: Our working hours must be reduced according to the law.
- As the daughter is not permitted to voice her views, the father’s remark does not uphold democracy as a value.
- Given that students are prohibited from exercising their constitutional right to ask questions, the statement does not uphold democracy as a value.
- The employee’s assertion upholds democracy as the rule of law. As per the rule of law, the employee can ask for a reduction in working hours.
Ques 9. Consider the following facts about a country and decide if you would call it a democracy. Give reasons to support your decision.
- All the citizens of the country have the right to vote. Elections are held regularly.
- The country took loans from international agencies. One of the conditions for giving loans was that the government would reduce its expenses on education and health.
- People speak more than seven languages but education is available only in one language, the language spoken by 52 per cent of people in that country.
- Several organisations have given a call for peaceful demonstrations and nationwide strikes in the country to oppose these policies. The government has arrested these leaders.
- The government owns the radio and television in the country. All the newspapers have to get permission from the government to publish any news about the government’s policies and protests
- We can infer from this that it is a democratic nation where people are free to cast ballots and elect their representatives.
- By cutting back on spending for health and education, the nation is fully violating democratic principles while obtaining a loan from foreign organisations.
- It is not democratic to make education available in only one language. People have a fundamental right to an education. Also, it is the responsibility of the government to give them the language they are most comfortable with.
- One of a person’s fundamental rights is the ability to get together and protest peacefully. Therefore, it is undemocratic to arrest the protestors.
- When a media outlet is owned by the government, it prevents citizens from exercising their right to a free press. It lacks democracy.
Other Relevant Questions
Here are some important questions on Democracy, which are useful for CBSE Class 9 students and those appearing for government exams in India.
Q.1 What is the meaning of democracy?
Ans. Democracy is a form of governance in which the people directly or indirectly decide on laws, policies, leadership, and key initiatives for a state or other polity.
Q.2 What is the meaning of representative democracy?
Ans. In a representative democracy, a majority of elected representatives have the authority to make choices on behalf of all the people, rather than all the people ruling or making decisions.
Q.3 Which kind of democracy is more prevalent in the modern world?
The most prevalent type of democracy in today’s world is representative democracy.
Q.4 When can we declare elections to be fair?
To be deemed fair, elections must provide voters with a genuine selection of political options.
Q.5 What do you mean by referendum?
A referendum is a general vote in which all voters are asked to accept or reject a proposition.
Consensus democracy – rule based on consensus rather than traditional majority rule. Constitutional democracy – governed by a constitution. Deliberative democracy – in which authentic deliberation, not only voting, is central to legitimate decision-making.
Democracy is a system of government in which laws, policies, leadership, and major undertakings are directly or indirectly decided by the “people”—a group generally understood to include all (or nearly all) adult citizens.
The definition of democracy is a form of government in which the common people hold political power and can rule either directly or through elected representatives. An example of democracy at work is in the United States, where people have political freedom and equality.
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