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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Pressure Group: Indian Constitution and Polity (Paper-4) - PSC/ JPSC/ JSCC

Pressure Groups

The term pressure group originated in the USA. A pressure group is a group of people who are organized activities for promoting and defending their common interest. It is so-called as it attempts to bring a change in the public policy by exerting pressure on the government. It acts as a liaison between the government and its members.

The pressure groups are also called interest groups or vested groups. They are different from the political parties in that they neither contest elections nor try to capture political power. They are concerned with specific programs and issues and their activities are confined to the protection and promotion of the interests of their members by influencing the government.

Pressure Group: Indian Constitution and Polity (Paper-4) - PSC/ JPSC/ JSCC

The pressure group influences policy-making and policy implementation in the government through legal and legitimate methods like lobbying, correspondence, publicity, propagandizing, petitioning, public debating, maintaining contacts with their legislators, and so forth. However, sometimes they resort to illegitimate and illegal methods like strikes, violent activities, and corruption which damages public interest and administrative integrity.

According to Odegard, pressure groups resort to three (3) different techniques in securing their purposes.

  • Electioneering: they can try to place in public office persons who are favorably disposed towards the interests they seek to promote.
  • Lobbying: they can try to persuade public officers, whether they are initially favorably disposed toward them or not, to adopt and enforce the policies that they think will prove most beneficial to their interest.
  • Propagandizing: they can try to influence public opinion and thereby gain an indirect influence over the government since the government in a democracy is substantially affected by public opinion.

Pressure Groups in India:

A large number of pressure groups exist in India. But, they are not developed to the same extent as in the US or the western countries like Britain, France, Germany, and so on. The pressure groups in India can be broadly classified into the following categories:

1. Business Groups: 

The business groups include a large number of industrial and commercial bodies. They are the most sophisticated, the most powerful, and the largest of all pressure groups in India. They include;

  • Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI); major constituents are the Indian Merchants Chamber of Bombay, Indian Merchants Chamber of Commerce of Calcutta, and South Indian Chamber of Commerce of Madras. It broadly represents major industrial and trading interests.
  • Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM); major constituents are the Bengal Chamber of Commerce of Calcutta and  Central Commercial Organization of Delhi. ASSOCHAM represents the British capital.
  • All-India Manufacturing Organization (AIMO). AIMO raises the concerns of the medium-sized industry.

2. Trade Unions:

The trade union voice the demands of the industrial workers. They are also known as labor groups. A peculiar feature of trade unions in India is that they are associated either directly or indirectly with different political parties. They include;

  • All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC)- affiliated to CPI
  • Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC)- affiliated to Congress (I)
  • Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS)- affiliated to the Socialists
  • Center of Indian Trade Unions (CITU)- affiliated to the CPM
  • Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)- affiliated to the BJP
  • All India Central Council of Trade Unions [Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation]
  • All India United Trade Union Center [Socialist Unity Center of India (Communist)]
  • Anna Thozhil Sanga Peravai (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) 
  • Indian National Trinamool Trade Union Congress (All India Trinamool Congress)
  • Pattali Trade Union (Pattali Makkal Katchi)
  • Swatantra Thozhilali Union (Indian Union Muslim League)
  • Telugu Nadu Trade Union Council (Telugu Desam Party)

First Trade Union in India: All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was founded in 1920 with Lala Lajpat Rai as its first president. Up to 1945, Congress, Socialists, and Communists worked in the AITUC which was the central trade union organization of workers of India. Subsequently, the trade union movement got split into political lines.

3. Agrarian Groups:

The agrarian groups represent the farmers and the agriculture labor class. They include;

  • Bhartiya Kisan Union (under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Tikait, in the wheat belt of North India)
  • All India Kisan Sabha (the oldest and the largest agrarian group)
  • Revolutionary Peasants Convention (organized by the CPM in 1967 which gave birth to the Naxalbari Movement)
  • Bhartiya Kisan Sabha (Gujarat)
  • RV Sangham (led by CN Naidu in Tamil Nadu)
  • Shetkhari Sangathana (led by Sharad Joshi in Maharashtra)
  • Hind Kisan Panchayat (controlled by the Socialists)
  • All India Kisan Sammelan (led by Raj Narain)
  • United Kisan Sabha (controlled by CPM)

4. Professional Association

These are associations that raise the concerns and demands of doctors, lawyers, journalists, and teachers. Despite various restrictions, these associations pressurize the government by various methods including agitations for the improvement of their service conditions. They include;

  • Indian Medical Association (IMA)
  • Bar Council of India (BCI)
  • Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ)
  • All India Federation of University and College Teachers (AIFUCT)

5. Studnet Organizations:

Various unions have been formed to represent the student community. However, these unions, like the trade unions, are also affiliated with various political parties. These are;

  • Akhila Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP, affiliated to BJP)
  • All India Students Federations (AISF, affiliated to CPI)
  • National Students Union of India (NSUI, affiliated to Congress (I))
  • Progressive Students Union (PSU, affiliated to CPM)

6. Religious Organizations:

Organizations based on religion have come to play an important role in Indian politics. They represent the narrow communal interest. they include;

  • Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS)
  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VPH)
  • Ittehad-ul-Mussalmeen
  • Anglo-Indian Association
  • Associations of Roman Catholics
  • All-India Conference of Indian Christians
  • Parsi Central Association
  • Shiromani Akali Dal

7. Caste Groups:

Like religion, caste has been an important factor in Indian politics. The competitive politics in many states of the Indian Union is in fact the politics of caste rivalries: Brahmin vs Non-Brahmins in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, Rajput vs Jat in Rajasthan, Kamma vs Reddy in Andhra, Ahir vs Jat in Haryana, Baniya Brahmin vs Patidar in Gujarat. Kayastha vs Rajput in Bihar, Nair vs Ezhava in Kerala, and Lingayat vs Okkaliga in Karnataka. Some of the caste-based organizations are;

  • Nadar Caste Association in Tamil Nadu
  • Marwari Association
  • Kshatriya Maha Sabha in Gujarat
  • Vanniyakul Kshatriya Sangam
  • Kayastha Sabha

8. Tribal Organizations:

The tribal organizations are active in MP, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and North Eastern States of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, and so on. Their demands range from reforms to that secession from India and some of them are involved in insurgency activities. The tribal organization include;

  • National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)
  • Tribal National Volunteers (TNU) in Tripura
  • People's Liberation Army in Manipur
  • Tribal Sangh of Assam
  • United Mizo Federal Organization

9. Linguistic Groups

Language has been such an important factor in Indian politics that it became the main basis for the recognization of states. language along with caste, religion, and tribe have been responsible for the emergence of political parties as well as pressure groups. Some of the linguistic groups are;

  • Tamil Sangha
  • Anjuman Tarraki-i-Urdu
  • Andhra Maha Sabha
  • Hindi Sahitya Sammelan
  • Nagari Pracharani Sabha
  • Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha

10. Ideology Based Groups:

In more recent times, pressure groups are formed to pursue a particular ideology, i.e. a cause, a principle, or a program. These groups are;

  • Environmental protection groups like Narmada Bachao Andolan, and Chipko Andolan
  • Democratic rights organization
  • Civil liberties associations.

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