Interest Groups in India: Why are Self-help Groups Formed?

Interest Groups in India

Pressure techniques and strategies have been an integral part of India’s democratic process. The techniques of collective pressure, through mass campaigns, marches, protests, civil disobedience, gheraos, and bandhs, have also been used by interest groups. In general, these organizations are seeking to press the government to formulate policies or to enforce legislation in line with their interests. Yet they do not elect themselves. That does not make them consider political parties.

What are these, then? In any nation particularly the democratic one, there are a large number of established groups that directly or indirectly influence government and politics. The members of such coordinated groups are united in favour of such basic interests that they tend to promote.

What Exactly is an Interest Group?

For example, factory workers are united in what is called a trade union to protect their interests and rights. There are also other coordinated parties. They are referred to as pressure or interest groups. What kind of pressure or interest groups are there? How are they different from each other? What role do they have in our country’s political system? Let’s throw on some light.

Interest and pressure groups are commonly considered synonyms, but they are not. Interest groups are structured groups of people that aim to further their particular interests. Their characteristics are as follows:

  • They’re well-organized,
  • They have a variety of mutual interests,
  • The desire that unites the members is unique and specific;
  • The representatives of such coordinated organizations aim to accomplish, protect, and uphold the values for which they are united.

Then What is a Pressure Group?

The Pressure Group, on the other side, is an interest group that puts force on the government or decision-makers to satisfy their interests. It is essential to differentiate between an interest group and a pressure group. Interest groups can exist without trying to exert pressure on the government.

What Exactly do Pressure Groups do?

They aim to encourage, analyze, debate and mobilize public opinion on key public issues. In this phase, they educate and expand their vision, enhance their political involvement, and raise and express various issues. These organizations are seeking to bring about changes in public policy.

Pressure groups use different tactics and approaches to accomplish their goals and objectives. This includes appeals, complaints, marches, picketing, lobbying, and processions. They can carry out a satyagraha, a type of a non-violent protest. Pressure groups often turn to strikes to pressure politicians, executive officers, and decision-makers. They also turn to boycott. Haven’t you seen judges, boycotting courts, students, their classes sometimes? Pressure groups use such practices to modify or eliminate government policies.

Is there another group active in India? If yes, what are those? Check this out to know more.

What are Self- Help Groups? Why are they Formed?

Self-Help Groups also are known as SHGs are informal groups of individuals who want to work together to find ways of improving their living conditions.

It can be described as a self-governing, community of people with a similar socio-economic background and a commitment to work together for a shared cause.

The village faces various problems related to poverty, lack of education,  knowledge, formal credit, etc. These issues cannot be solved at an individual level and involve collaborative efforts. SHG can thus become an instrument of reform for the disadvantaged and oppressed. SHG relies on the philosophy of self-help to support self-employment and removing poverty.

What do these Self-Help Groups Try to Achieve?

  • It seeks to develop livelihood security for the poor and oppressed in the areas of jobs and income generation.
  • It addresses conflict through collaborative leadership and shared conversation.
  • It offers a collateral-free loan with terms decided by the community at market-driven rates.

Advocacy Groups Also Exist

If you’ve ever wanted to support an issue you are interested in you have been active in advocacy.

Individuals are not the only ones to participate in activism. Advocacy groups are networks of people that are developed around a common interest in order to influence public sentiment and policy.

Although some advocacy organizations are very wide in focus, some are smaller and focus on the needs of a particular group of people. For example, some organizations may lobby for a particular industry, such as the aerospace industry, the automotive industry or the pharmaceutical industry. Some may advocate for a specific minority group, women, or the LGBT community.

How do they Support their Causes?

These organizations support their cause in a variety of ways:

​ • Persuading/lobbying the government

  • Litigation of the law relating to their issue
  • Inform or advertise to manipulate public opinion;
  • Coordinate promotions and activities


All of these groups have different motives. Their motives may be focused on a shared political, religious, legal, health, or commercial role. Groups use a range of tactics to try to accomplish their goals, including lobbying, publicity campaigns, promotional stunts, polling, research, and policy sessions. Some organizations are funded or sponsored by powerful business and exercise significant control over the political process, while others have little or no such tools.

These groups such as ABVP, RSS have proved that you don’t need political power to stand for a cause that you strongly believe in. All you need is support guidance from like-minded people. All these groups are divided into different categories but they also share the same purpose that is to bring a change in their surrounding community or society.

Also Read: Farmers Bill 2020 Explained: Things to Know for UPSC IAS Exam Preparation

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Interest Groups in India: Why are Self-help Groups Formed?
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Interest Groups in India: Why are Self-help Groups Formed?
What are pressure and interest groups? Are they different? Do they have power? What do they do? Do more such groups exist? What are their names and roles?
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UPSC Pathshala
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