Can we say India is a democratic country? Give one example.

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Yes, we can say that India is a democratic country. A former and highly prized colony of the British Empire—India was considered “the jewel in the crown” of the empire—Independent India adopted a parliamentary system of government modeled on that of the British. Part III of India’s constitution, which is far more voluminous than that of the United States, specifies the rights of the country’s citizens, including such fundamental concerns as speech, assembly, and religion. Section 19 of this provision reads as follows:

19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc:

All citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression;

• Freedom of expression b. to assemble peaceably and without arms;

• Freedom of assembly c. to form associations or unions or co-operative societies;

• Freedom of association

• Right to join trade unions

• Freedom of movement d. to move freely throughout the territory of India; e. to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; . . .

India’s constitution establishes an office of the president and a bicameral parliamentary structure (the Council of States and the House of the People are the two chambers). It also delineates divisions of authority between branches of government. The citizenry votes for members of Parliament, and an electoral college casts ballots for the president. A prime minister is elected from the majority party in Parliament and is responsible for most of the day-to-day duties of a chief executive. In short, India is a democracy. Political representation reflects the will of the electorate.

An example of India as a functioning democracy occurs with every national election. These take place at least every five years. While India is not without its problems, including political corruption, its electoral processes are widely perceived as legitimate, and the country is considered the world’s largest democracy by virtue of its enormous population (1.3 billion).

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India gained its independence from England in 1947 and adopted its constitution in 1950. It is the kind of democracy known as a “parliamentary democracy.” A parliamentary democracy differs from a presidential democracy in that its executive (usually a prime minister) is chosen from its legislative branch.

Obviously, in a democracy, voters select their political leaders. In India, there is universal suffrage for citizens above 18 years of age (meaning every citizen who is at least 18 can vote). The people vote for the representatives that make up the lower house of the legislative branch, called the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha then selects the Prime Minister, who is the head of the government.

India also elects its own state representatives, who then vote for the members of their national upper legislative body, the Rajya Sabha,

Finally, India has multiple political parties that offer voters different political ideologies to choose from.

So India is indeed a democracy, although it has been criticized for failing to adequately achieve the democratic goals of reduced poverty and illiteracy.


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