[Answered] Discuss the nature, methods of operation and limitations of pressure groups in India.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write nature, methods of operation and limitations of pressure groups in India.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

A pressure group is a group of people who have organized together to promote and defend a common cause. Pressure Groups can be political, non-political groups, formally or informally organized groups e.g. FICCI, AITUC, ABVP, IMA etc.  It attempts to change public policy by generating pressure on the government. It is a bridge between the government and its members. They are also called interest groups/vested groups.

Nature of pressure groups:

  • The pressure groups protect the most common interest.
  • They do not take any governance responsibilities like the political parties.
  • They get the fund from donations and the members of the interest group.
  • The pressure groups are well organised, and their cause and functioning are inevitable.
  • In pressure groups, the membership is limited only to the profession, religion, and areas with common interests. They are people who are well versed in the political environment.
  • They often finance political parties, sponsor candidates during elections and maintain relations with bureaucracy. They also use traditional social realities as a means to gain influence, like playing caste cards, engaging in creed and religious politics to promote their interests.

Methods of operation:

  • Lobbying with policymakers:They try to convince policymakers, usually politicians and civil servants regarding their interests by approaching them in various ways.
  • Electioneering the proxy:The interest groups use the election time the most for fulfilling their interests. They do not contest the election but influence the candidate. They place their man in the right place, who can serve their purpose.
  • Running Propaganda:The pressure groups seek to influence public opinion, as the democratic governments have to work according to the public opinion. The favourable public opinion helps them to indirectly influence the government.

Limitations:                                                                                                         

  • Largely influence the administrative process rather than the formulation of policy. This is dangerous as a gap is created between policy formulation and implementation.
  • Many a time factors of caste and religion eclipse the socioeconomic interests.
  • Moreover, many of the groups have a very short life because of the lack of resources.
  • Many times, they resort to unconstitutional means like violence. The Naxalite movement started in 1967 in West Bengal is one such example.

In a country like India the tendency to politicise every issue, whether it has social, economic, cultural import, restricts the scope, working, and effectiveness of pressure groups. Instead of the pressure groups exerting influence on political process, they become tools and implements to subserve political interests.

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