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Erosion of trust in India's political system UPSC NOTE

 Erosion of trust in India's political system 

  • India has punched above its weight on the world stage not because of its size but because of its leadership. 

  • A fundamental purpose of democracy is to establish processes to negotiate differences among a diverse population that must coexist. 

  • The erosion of good faith in our politics has led to a mindless zero-sum antagonism, where only the most partisan, rather than those driven by public interest, can thrive

  • This status quo, if left unaddressed, would be tragic for everyone who loves our country.

  • The question then is how do we go beyond rhetoric to restore trust in our politics

  • First, there are a range of behaviours by the government — but also those opposed to the government — which need to be acknowledged for what they are, and checked

  • The ruling regime has not only shown impatience for democratic niceties, such as its behaviour in Parliament, but has wielded state power in wholly undemocratic ways to neutralise the Opposition and clampdown on dissent. 

  • The government’s abuse of state power, ranging from intimidation, incarceration, and defections, has been widely documented and needs no further elucidation.

Trust in its political system has eroded due to? 

  • On the other hand, there is a section of the Opposition, especially civil society, which has pursued a strategy of embarrassing the government

  • It is not just that there is ideological opposition to the government but it is very clear that this section refuses to acknowledge the very legitimacy of the government, especially the Prime Minister

  • This strategy not only renders the Opposition complicit in the breakdown of communication but is also spectacularly ineffective in that it

focuses the Opposition’s attention on tactics with limited electoral relevance.

  • Though these behaviours may be acknowledged privately, the question of how to address them remains. 

  • It would be naive to expect a spontaneous change of heart from protagonists on both sides.

  • However, individuals of all ideological inclinations, who value civility and moderation in our politics, can play a crucial role. 

  • Many of these individuals wield influence within politically relevant institutions, either officially or through their networks

  • This group can play a pivotal role in restoring basic democratic principles in our public life by exerting influence on three key fronts.

  • First and foremost, while partisanship is an important driver of multi-party democracy, party membership is increasingly being construed as a tribal pledge to defend the indefensible. 

  • The demands of unthinking and belligerent fealty can only exacerbate partisanship and cynicism.

  • Instead, party members must use their influence to restrain their own party’s excesses and reorient focus towards substantive issues. 

  • There is a possibility that these interventions, however discrete, may be seen as speaking out of turn. 

  • However, this is not because speaking up to participate in decision-making over the direction of one’s own party is unreasonable but because power in political parties has been consolidated in the hands of individual leaders.

Steps to restore it 

  • Finally, the mass media plays a pivotal role in opinion-making

  • However, instead of informing the electorate, the media often contributes to polarisation

  • It is in the interest of every thinking citizen to promote responsible journalism and rebuild trust in the media. 

  • Individuals with influence over their party or media institutions can help create an environment to support a more public-interest media.

  • For almost one year, before the attack by Hamas and Israel’s disproportionate assault on Gaza in response, Israel had been racked by large-scale protests against the government’s attempt to undermine judicial independence. 

  • The strength of these protests came in no small measure because of support across ideologies, ranging from the left to the right. 

  • It is true that this ideological diversity came with its own contradictions

  • However, the protests also showcased how concerned citizens from diverse ideological backgrounds could find common ground to preserve democratic values. 

  • India, like many other liberal democracies, is at a similar crossroads and it is important that concerned citizens across the ideological divide come together to restore trust in our political institutions and preserve our democratic framework.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Erosion of trust in India's political system UPSC NOTE
Erosion of trust in India's political system UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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