The term ‘pressure group’ originated from the USA. Pressure groups mean a group of people who are organized for actively promoting and defending their common interests. They are a vital link between the government and the governed and they keep governments more responsive to the wishes of the community, especially in between elections. Let’s find out what are pressure groups?
What are the Pressure Groups?
It is a common interest group that tries to secure their interests by influencing the formulation and administration of public policy. They are referred to as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). They are a non-partisan organization that attempts to influence some phases of public life.
Role of the Pressure Group
The role of the pressure group is indirect, ordinarily invisible and intermittent, yet, a very important part of the administrative system. The emergence of trusts and monopolies and the struggle over tariffs led to the formation of these. It is a living public behind the parties. These groups’ roles are as vital as that of a political party existing in any country.
Pressure Group in India
In India political parties and pressure groups together play a big role in the struggle of power. In India, the pressure group arose even during the colonial period. All India trade union congress was the first countrywide pressure group of the working class.
India was a developing country having a scarcity of resources and acute poverty, resulting in the significant role of the pressure group. The aim of this pressure group was to secure economic and political concessions for themselves. Providing crucial components of the structural equilibrium i.e. maintenance function.
Role of Pressure Groups in India
The capacity of these is determined by leadership, organizational abilities, mass media, economic power base, and mobilization techniques. Besides this, they use lobbying methods, strike, bandh, demonstration, funding political parties, party platforms, etc. Even though the role of the pressure group is indirect, it facilitates many vital activities in administration.
Important Things About Pressure Groups for UPSC Preparations
Following are the various roles that might be helpful for your UPSC preparations.
1. Role in Legislature
These groups try to introduce their chosen person into the legislature. They help political parties on the eve of an election and prepare election manifestos.
2. Role in Executive
Try to fill high executive posts with men of their own choice i.e. selection of cabinet, distribution of portfolios and P.M selection due to the prevalence of coalition government. And henceforth influences policy implementation processes.
3. Role in Bureaucracy
Bureaucrats are politically neutral and hence pressure groups try to oblige them by putting good remarks that protect their interests. Bureaucrats have long tenure and so they are in contact with them to oblige.
4. Role in Judiciary
Appointment of judges in political affairs and here pressure groups play an important role in that high judicial offices are occupied by them.
Major Pressure Groups in India
Business/ Institutional Groups
It is one of the most important, influential and organised pressure groups in India. Major constituents are the Bengal Chamber of Commerce Calcutta and Central Commercial Organisation of Delhi.
- Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
- Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
- Associated Chamber of Commerce (ASSOCHAM).
- FAIFDA etc.
Trade unions cater to the demand of workers and labours of the industries. Alternatively, they are also known as labour groups. In India, different trade unions represent different political parties.
- The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC)
- All India Trade Union Congress (Communist Party of India)
- BMS etc.
These groups represent the farmer community of India and work for their well-being.
- Bhartiya Kisan Sangh
- Hind Kisan Panchayat (control of socialist)
- All India Kisan Sabha
- Bharatiya Kisan Union etc.
There are various organisations present to represent the causes and grievances of students in India.
- NSUI etc
- Bajrang Dal
- Jamaat-e-Islami etc.
- National Students Union of India (Congress)
- All Assam Students Union (Asom Gan Parishad)
- Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (Aam Aadmi Party).
Caste has been one of the salient features of Indian Society. However, it has always been one of the ideologies discouraging the aspiration of people and the constitution of India. The caste factor is always prevalent in elections of India.
- Harijan Sevak Sangh
- Nadar Caste Association etc
- Marwari Association
- Harijan Sewak Sangh.
There are 22 scheduled languages in India. However, there have been many groups and movements working for the welfare of languages in India.
- Tamil Sangh
- Andhra Maha Sabha etc
- Hindi Sahitya Sammelan
Tribal in India are prominent in Central India and North East India and are also active in Central Indian Tribal belt and in northeast India.
- United Mizo Federal Org.
- Tribal League of Assam etc.
- All-India Jharkhand
- Tribal Sangh of Assam
Such associations raise the concern of working professionals in India ranging from lawyers and doctors, journalists and teachers.
- AIFUCT etc
- Association of Engineers
- Bar Council of India (BCI)
- Dental Council of India
Ideology Based Groups
Ideology based groups have been recently formed.
- Narmada Bachao Andolan
- Chipko Movement
- Women Rights Organisation
- India Against Corruption etc.
- Democratic Rights Organisation
- Gandhi Peace Foundation
- Civil Liberties Associations
Anomic pressure groups refer to those spontaneous groups which are formed with a collective response through riots, demonstrations, assassinations, etc.
The Indian government and bureaucratic elite overwhelmed by the problem of economic development and scarcity of resources available to them, inevitably acquires a technocratic and anti-political frame of mind, particularistic demands of whatever kinds are denied legitimacy.
As a consequence, pressure groups are alienated from the political system.
- All-India Sikh Student’s Federation etc.
- Naxalite groups
- United Liberation Front of Assam
- All Assam Students Union
- Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front.
Characteristics of Pressure Groups
Level of Operation
May operate at local, regional, national or even international level, depending upon the cause and notice.
All interest groups share a desire to affect government policy to benefit themselves or their causes.
Type of Organization
They are usually non-profit and volunteer organization
Method of Working
They seek to influence political or corporate decision-makers to achieve a declared objective.
These are collections of individuals who hold a similar set of values and beliefs on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political philosophy, or a common goal.
Pressure groups often represent viewpoints of people who are dissatisfied with the current conditions in society.
These are a natural outgrowth of the communities of interest that exist in all societies.
These may be better able to focus on specialized issues, whereas political parties tend to address a wide range of issues.
Role in Democracy
Pressure groups are widely recognized as an important part of the democratic process.
Differences between Political Party and Pressure Group
Political parties and pressure groups are both very important in decision making of the various policies and exist along with political parties in every nation but there is a vast difference between the two.
This is important for UPSC preparations.
A public body acting behind the political party.
Political parties constitute the government.
Indirect as well as intermittent. They try to influence and pressurize the government to get their demand fulfilled. They do not intervene directly.
Act directly, they are legally entitled to frame policies and make a decision concerning the country.
Pressurize the executive and legislature to achieve its aim.
Bring coordination in the working of the executive and legislature.
Use both conventional and non-conventional means to demonstrate their demands.
Use only constitutional means to execute its duties and functions.
Work for self-interest, they emerge and dissolve as per the need of certain groups.
Work for national interests and not merely for any certain group or objective.
Emerges and dissolves. They never form government or contest elections but influence the decision of Government or public policy.
Recognized by the election commission. They attempt to influence political parties whereas political parties seek to create change by being elected to public office.
Techniques Used by Pressure Groups
- Electioneering: Placing in public office persons who favour their interests.
- Lobbying: Persuading public officers to adopt and enforce policies of their interest.
- Propagandizing: Influencing public opinion.
These may sometimes make use of media for dispersing their views in public and winning support. They may publish statistics in favour of their claims. However, they may even resort to illegitimate and illegal methods like strikes, violence or even bribes.
Media as a Pressure Group
Mass media plays a vital role in revealing the various happenings of politics and life of common people all around. In countries such as India the mass media –the radio, TV, the cinema and the press are very powerful means of social change and act as a pressure group for the interest of common people and reveal all deeds of the government.
Mass media in its full swing of working can openly criticize the government and have the right to place their view on a certain situation. Further mass media help to generate a common platform which tries to focus on core issues of the society and its needs.
So the media’s role is just as important in influencing activities of the political parties, like that of other groups working to strive for certain specific goals. In fact, in this contemporary world media acts as an agent of change focusing on the social development of society and hence the media role of pressurizing the government given its nature of pressure group which is of vital importance.
Despite major criticism, the existence of a group is now an indispensable and helpful element of a democratic setup. These groups promote national and particular interests and constitute a link of communication between citizens and the government. They provide the necessary information and keep the nation politically alive.
Today democratic politics has to be politics through consultation, negotiation and some amount of bargaining. These cannot happen without the pressure groups. The society has become highly complex and an individual cannot pursue their interest on their own, they need a pressure group for this. These are so vital that they are not confined to the needs of developed or developing nations or any form of government.
Hopefully, all these will be very helpful for your UPSC preparations. So, how are you going to start your UPSC preparation for this subject? You can share with us your UPSC preparation strategy in the comment box.