[Answered] “The democratic state is obliged to provide citizens with the basic preconditions for the exercise of freedom of health, education, sustainable living wage, food and a decent standard of life.” In light of above statement, discuss the success of India as a democratic state.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Indian success as a democratic state. How India failed as democracy to promote Welfarism?
Conclusion. Way forward.

India as a democracy holds good record in institutionalising democracy in the form of Constitutionalism, a competitive party system, regular elections, rule of law, codification of political and civil rights, and guarantees of free press and a vibrant civil society. But even as India satisfies conditions that permit it to claim the label of democracy with some justification, a majority of the people continue to suffer from unimagined hardship, with the most vulnerable among them-the poor among the scheduled castes and tribes, hill people, forest dwellers, tribals, and women particularly the girl child- at tremendous risk in matters of both lives and livelihoods.

Indian success as a democratic state:

  1. Food Security: The Government of India has concentrated on establishing food security through (a) achieving self-sufficiency in food grains and (b) building buffer stocks of food grains particularly rice and wheat. Today procurement stands at 20 % of food grain production. This has resulted in surplus buffer stocks. But unfortunately, despite of surplus food grain production, growth rate in the per capita availability of food grains has actually declined mainly because the poor lack purchasing power. PDS which was mooted as a revolutionary step has met many hurdles.
  2. Nutritional Security: Nutritional security is ensured through various schemes like the provision of midday meals for primary school children. The objective of the programme is to supplement nutrition of primary school going children, and thereby to improve school enrolment, retention, and attendance. On evaluation scheme has mixed success. Unfortunately, malnutrition is still a big issue in India with millions living undernourished.
  3. Education: Article 45 of the Constitution stipulates that the state shall endeavour to provide within a period of 10 years free and compulsory education for children. The National Policy of Education 1986, which was revised in 1992, provided momentum to the task and has achieved some success. Literacy rate has increased to about 74 % acc to census 2011. But still education level has been not good and Indian schools still focus on rote learning.
  4. Poverty Alleviation: India has achieved much in reducing poverty. The decade of the 1990s which heralded the onset of economic reforms brought a decline in poverty figures. In 1973-74, 55% of India’s population fell below the poverty line. This was reduced to 36% in 1993-94, to further fall to 26% of a one billion population in 1999- 2000. Since the 1970s the Government of India has enacted several programmes to provide self-employment and supplementary wage employment to BPL families through the extension of bank credit and subsidies. Schemes like MGNREGA played an important role in providing employment to many.

How India failed as democracy to promote Welfarism?

  1. Inequality: Although India is a 2.9 trillion economy, still 50% of wealth is concentrated in hands of upper few rich peoples. There is wide gap between rich and poor. This led to hindrance of basic rights and social injustice to many as they are unable to afford and access basic public services like healthcare.
  2. Casteism: Social divide in form of casteism has denied many especially marginalised from their basic economic and social rights. This has hindered true progress of the society and prevent Sabka sath sabka vishwas. Further it violate constitutional provisions which provide safeguards to the marginalised.
  3. Illiteracy: Although literacy level has increased, still millions in India are illiterate and lack basic reading writing skills. This not only jeopardise their inclusion in democracy but also fail India as a democracy.
  4. Patriarchy: Patriarchal mindset hinders true meaning of democracy you i.e. a society for, by and of the people. Patriarchal mindset do gross injustice with women and thus fail Indian state as true democracy. Without change in this mindset a inclusive democratic society can’t be achieved.
  5. Other factors: Other factors like extremism, intolerance, terrorism etc and inability of Indian state to prevent radicalisation of youth and regionalism lead to threat to society and democracy. It is important for Indian state to create enough employment, so as to prevent them from being turned into anti-social and anti-democratic.

The Directive Principles of State Policy in Part 4 of the Indian Constitution has motivated the enactment of social policy, the codification of fundamental rights in part 3 of the Constitution has inspired and empowered collective action for the implementation of the said Principles. To put it differently, collective action in India has served to connect constitutional entitlements, state policy. But it can be said that political democracy has simply not been accompanied by the institutionalisation of economic and social democracy, as many issues still persist in which India lag behind.

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