[Answered]What do you understand by the term ‘participatory democracy’? How important is the participation of people in a democratic setup?

Demand of the question

Introduction. What is participatory democracy?

Body. Discuss the importance of people’s participation in a democracy.

Conclusion. Way forward.

Participatory democracy is a form of democracy in which citizens are involved in the decisions about public policy that affect their lives. It gives citizens a central role in the making of particular decisions through various means like public discussion, negotiations and voting. Participatory democracy strives to create opportunities for all members of a population to make meaningful contributions to policy-making.

Importance of people’s participation in a democracy:

  1. Good governance: People’s participation is essential for good governance and is the backbone of the democratic process. When people express their views and opinions, it becomes possible for a government to effectively execute various welfare measures listening to people’s grievances. It is significant in various policy and decision making processes undertaken by the government.
  2. Feedback mechanism: People’s participation helps the government in understanding the viewpoints of citizens and gather feedback. This helps them to make policies implementation better and plugging various loopholes regarding various welfare measures.
  3. Better policy implementation: Without people’s participation any effort made for their welfare does not give desired results. People’s participationis important, especially where policy seeks to make a behaviour change. For example, Swachh Bharat abhiyan, beti bachao beti padao etc. are made successful due to the drive to involve people at a local
  4. Accountability: People’s participation makes the government accountable to them. It creates a 2 way mechanism in which the government understands the issues of citizens better and people learn about government efforts in a better way. Thereby removing misunderstandings and making the government accountable and answerable to people. For example, RTI has increased accountability in government due to increased participation of citizens.

 Ways to enhance people’s participation:

  1. Media: Media is always connected with people. Strengthening media’s freedom and safety can help better involvement of people. PM ‘Mann Ki baat’ initiative has enabled Indian citizens to directly connect with them. Social media is another new platform that is transforming governance and government services. For example, Twitter is being used excessively nowadays by railways, municipalities to solve various issues.
  2. Connectivity: The Internet is an enabler in a way, it connects citizens directly to the government. For example, mygov.in platform of government helps it to connect with people and get various inputs regarding important national issues and policies.
  3. Incentives: Monetary incentives attract people of every sphere. Government can provide incentives to people to get involved and work with the government for good governance. For example, government efforts to create various competitions like logo design contests help people to participate actively in government activities.

India is the largest democracy in the world and Indian citizens are enthusiastic to be a part of governance. In a democratic system, citizen participation is one of the key components of the decision making process. People’s participation can make a country’s development inclusive and targeted. Thus, efforts must be made to increase People’s participation in a democracy.

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