[Answered] Discuss importance of public opinion and pressure groups in a democracy. How it can help in ensuring good governance?

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Significance of public opinion and pressure groups. How they ensure good governance?
Conclusion. Way forward.

Public opinion consists of the desires, wants and thinking of the majority of the people. It is the collective opinion of the people of a society or state on an issue or problem. Pressure group is a group of people who are organised actively for promoting or defending their common interest. Both are important in a democracy to bring change in the public policy by exerting pressure on the government.

Significance of Public Opinion:

  1. Public opinion is an essential element for successful working of democratic communication in the system. Public Opinion is the expression of the views of citizens. No government can afford to ignore it.
  2. A sound and effective public opinion prevent the structures of dictators. The strength of democratic system lies in respecting the decisions of the people. There should be free and fair interaction of thoughts for solving the collective problems.
  3. Public opinion acquires great relevance in realising this democratic goal. It promotes wider awareness and invites citizens to examine issues from different points of view.
  4. Public opinion acts as the guide to the government in respect of policy formation. Government functions in general on the basis of mandate received in elections and tries to win over the masses to fulfil the promises made during elections.
  5. Government is always under pressure of public opinion and takes note of the same in formulating laws for the common good. Governmental policies are invariably affected by people’s opinion on various issues. Public opinion helps the government to enact laws in the given situation.
  6. Public opinion acts as a watchdog. It controls and checks the government from becoming irresponsible. While criticising the wrong policies of the government, public opinion always keeps the government alert.
  7. Public opinion acts as the protector of rights and liberties of citizens. In a democratic country, people have the right to criticise or support the government in their own way. More effective and positive use of this right not only encourages or motivates the government but also keeps the government alive towards the rights and liberties of the people.

Importance of pressure groups:

  1. Pressure groups influence the polity of any country, right from the formation of government itself to day-to-day governance issues.
  2. They try to manipulate governmental affairs without any intention to have any direct control over it which is one thing that differentiates it from a political party.
  3. Pressure Groups play a very important role in the Indian political system. They act as a link and source of communication between the masses and the political parties. They sensitise the public towards various socio economic issues thereby educating them politically.
  4. They produce very effective leadership and also as a training platform for future political leaders.
  5. It also bridges the gap between various traditional values in the society. Establishment of unity and integrity are the key results of the pressure groups.
  6. Therefore it is very clear that pressure groups influence both the government and the administrative policies.

How public opinion and pressure groups enhance governance?

  1. These perform a role in educating citizens about specific issues. This allow citizens to be aware of their rights and Demand good governance from government.
  2. It lead to good governance by enhancing democratic participation, pluralism and diversity.
  3. It raise and articulate issues that political parties perhaps won’t touch because of their sensitivity which is important for reducing grievances.
  4. They represent minorities who cannot represent themselves. This allow governance to the weakest section of the society.
  5. Many groups play vital role in implementing changes to public policy which is important for effective tackling of issues.
  6. It encourage a decentralisation of power within the political system thereby providing governance in a better and targeted way.
  7. They act as a check and balance to the power of executive government allowing accountability of the government which is necessary for good governance.

Thus public opinion and pressure groups are intrinsic for democracy. Both allow government to fulfill people desires and push accountability and transparency needed for good and effective governance.

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