Question#1. Evaluate the emerging democratic profile of India.
Question#2. What are the reasons for skewed sex ratio in the Indian society? Examine its implications.
Question #1. Evaluate the emerging democratic profile of India.
The ideals of democracy have been espoused by the Indian constitution since the birth of the nation. However, in the words of M.K. Gandhi, democracy is not a legal phenomenon but a spiritual one which involves respect for each other and decentralisation of power. India has witnessed a long journey traversing the undulating plains of democracy, along the composition of citizenship, voter democratic profile, trends in governance, and public participation.
Robert Dahl characterises political parties as a linkage between the government and the people, which provides a platform for articulation of the population’s grievances. Elections are an indispensable part of the democratic political system. Political parties context elections by choosing such a candidate who has greater chances of winning. This invariably affects the voter behaviour, where voters then choose their own line of reasoning to elect the candidate to power. In India this process is often marred by religious, caste and class based identities.
While democracy implies equality amongst men and women, propertied and property less, educated and uneducated, these ideals haven’t been witnessed in full form. Despite the changing nature of modern society, the female participation in politics remains abysmally low, despite 33% reservation at the state level. Furthermore, certain sections of the population such as the elderly, migrant labourers, poor have faced multiple challenges participating in the process of democracy.
These problems are compounded when the political parties engage in dynasty politics, communal politics, appeasement agenda, money and muscle power, corruption, and divide the democratic profile further.
As the Prime Minister Narendra Modi states, the success of democracy is impossible without participation of the people. It is imperative to foster inclusive governance and enhance participation across all categories through education, awareness and empowerment to uphold the distinction of being the world’s largest democracy.
Q2. What are the reasons for skewed sex ratio in the Indian society? Examine its implications.
The level of development of a nation is often gauged through the status of its women folk. The skewed sex ratio in the Indian society is a worrisome factor in this light. Demographic studies reveal socio-cultural causes for skewed indicators.
The recent NFHS 5 survey reveals a cause for celebration and another for concern. While the sex ratio has increased to 1020 females per 1000 males, the sex ratio at birth is at 929 females per 1000 males. Furthermore, according to the statistics, children’s nutrition has improved, bringing stunting, underweight, and wasting further down. However the larger picture highlights impending challenges.
Sex ratio refers to the proportion of females to males in a population, while sex ratio at birth is defined as the number of girls born for every 1000 boys born. A paper titled Sex Ratio at Birth, by Ravinder and others for the UNFPA highlights the complex nature of low sex ratio at birth. The paper suggests that there could be a correlation between economic class and sex selection, such that the emerging middle class has a deteriorating effect on SRB.
Causes for low sex ratio
Going forward, there is a pressing need for changing the general perception of both rural and urban India, upper lower and middle classes, men and women. Women empowerment begins with saving the girl child.
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