Get summary, textual answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF to NBSE Class 12 (Arts) Political Science Chapter 7 Recent Developments in Indian Politics. However, the educational materials should only be used for reference and students are encouraged to make necessary changes.
The chapter discusses the political landscape of India, focusing on the decline of the Congress system, the Mandal issue, and the New Economic Policy. The Congress, once a dominant party, saw a significant reduction in its Lok Sabha seats from 415 in 1984 to 197 in 1989. The Mandal issue arose from the decision to implement the Mandal Commission’s recommendations, leading to a controversy over reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). This issue played a significant role in the participatory upsurge of the OBCs since 1990.
The New Economic Policy of 1991 linked the Indian economy to the global market. Despite criticism from both leftist and right-wing writers, all governments since 1991 have supported and implemented these economic reforms. The chapter also notes the Supreme Court’s decision in 2011 to allow a 10% reduction in minimum eligibility marks for OBCs in central educational institutions.
The rise of regional parties like Shiv Sena, Telugu Desam Party, and others has allowed many castes and groups to influence national policies. However, ideological contradictions within coalition politics have led to inefficiencies in government operations. Despite these challenges, a consensus has emerged among major parties on economic reforms and the welfare of backward castes.
The chapter also highlights the achievements and failures of the UPA and NDA governments. The UPA’s tenure was marked by economic growth and welfare initiatives but tainted by inflation and corruption. The NDA, led by Narendra Modi, implemented economic reforms and welfare schemes, handled insurgencies, and improved foreign relations. However, it failed to implement some policies, bring peace to Kashmir, and improve relations with Pakistan. The chapter concludes by evaluating the difficulties and benefits of coalition politics in India.
Textual questions and answers
A. Long answer questions
1. Examine the main factors responsible for participatory upsurge in the early 1990s.
Answer: The factors responsible for the participatory upsurge in the early 1990s are as follows:
The Decline or End of the Congress System: In 1984 the Congress had captured 415 Lok Sabha seats. But in 1989 its tally was reduced to just 197 seats. In 1991 its leader was invited to form the government. However, the 1996, 1998 and 1999 Lok Sabha polls proved ruinous for the Congress. In 2004 and again in 2009 the Congress led the UPA Government, but it could not come to power with a majority of its own.
The Mandal Issue, i.e., More Castes in the Reservation Net: The then Prime Minister V.P. Singh’s decision to implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission, born out of political compulsions, aroused a great controversy. A disagreement between supporters and critics of reservations for the OBCs came to be known as the Mandal Issue. It played a major role in participatory upsurge of the OBCs since 1990.
New Economic Policy: In 1991 the Government announced a New Economic Policy, linking Indian economy to the Global Market. Both the leftist and the right-wing (nationalist) writers had strongly criticised the policy of Globalisation. This policy, they said, was adversely affecting the growth of agriculture and India’s small scale industries. But things could not be changed back to the way they were before. All Governments since 1991 have been supporting and implementing the economic reforms.
Emergence of BJP as a Significant Force : On 6 December 1992 the disputed structure at Ayodhya (called Babri Masjid) fell. It naturally provoked diverse reactions. The Hindus widely believe that the Babri Masjid was constructed after demolishing a temple at Ramajanmabhoomi. This event aroused a great controversy. The Ayodhya Movement did a lot to popularise the BJP, because of the linkages between ‘Ramajanmabhoomi’ and ‘Hindus’ aspirations’.
The Larger Parties had to woo the Smaller Ones, i.e., the Regional and Caste-based Parties: Following the Lok Sabha elections in 1991 Congress emerged as the single largest party in the House. Its leader P.V. Narasimha Rao was invited to form the government. Since 1998 the BJP or the Congress led coalitions had reigned at the Centre in India. Coalition politics did create compulsions for the BJP and the Congress to woo the smaller parties.
2. Describe any six features of Coalition Politics in India.
Answer: The six features of Coalition Politics in India are:
- Coalition Governments are not being Formed on the Basis of Ideological Similarities: Such governments are formed either with the objective of capturing power or with the objective of keeping some particular party out of power.
- Coalition Politics is not a Static Affair: Alliance partners keep on changing sides or positions. Some regional parties get off one Alliance and get on to another, in order to reap the benefits or rewards of political power.
- Compromise and Flexibility: Coalition governments have to adopt a policy of compromise. In other words, Alliance partners have to accept something slightly different from what they really wanted, because they have to respect the wishes of other parties as well.
- Common Minimum Programme: Sometimes Alliance partners finalised a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) to guide the Government.
- Coalition Government is Usually a Weak Government: Coalition governments cannot take bold or controversial decisions. Usually a Coalition Government is weak and ineffective.
- Coalition Governments are Suitable for Divided Societies: Countries with many diversities-ethnic, religious and linguistic-have a number of political parties. Therefore these countries are permanently governed by Coalitions. In a way, our country also falls into the category of divided societies
3. Under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dynamic leadership Coalition politics seemed maturing. Discuss NDA’s achievements during nearly six-year tenure of Prime Minister Vajpayee (March 1998 to May 2004).
Answer: Under Vajpayee’s dynamic leadership, the country saw a big boost in economy because of (a) Growth of Core Industries, such as coal, crude oil, natural gas, fertilizers, steel and cement, (b) Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in Industrial Sector, (c) Development of Micro and Small Enterprises, and (d) the signing of South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) in 2004.
Vajpayee embarked on a historic trip to Pakistan by bus. He was the only Indian Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru to visit Lahore. In February 2005 India and Pakistan agreed to open the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus Service. Vajpayee visited China in 2003. He assured China that India would not allow Tibetans to engage in anti-China activities in India. China agreed to open the old trade-route through Sikkim Nathu La Pass (the so-called Silk-route) between India and China. The Vajpayee Government also got the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) enacted which was essential to combat terrorism.
6. Write an essay on the increasing role of regional parties in national politics during the last nearly 30 years.
Answer: The increasing role of regional parties in national politics over the last 30 years has been a significant development in the Indian political landscape. This shift has been driven by various factors and has had profound implications for the nature of governance and policy-making in the country.
The rise of regional parties can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, regional identities have played a crucial role in the formation of parties like DMK and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir, and Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh. Secondly, caste and community identities have led to the emergence of parties like Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala, and Bahujan Samaj Party. Lastly, the weakening of the Congress party and the neglect of state leaders by national leaders have led to the formation of independent parties like Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Kerala Congress.
The influence of regional parties in the formation of the government at the Centre is evident from the coalition governments formed by both BJP-led NDA and Congress-led UPA. For instance, in March 1998, Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the BJP-led NDA formed a government with the support of regional parties like Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, AIADMK, Trinamool Congress, and Biju Janta Dal. Similarly, the Congress-led UPA government formed in 2004 was supported by regional parties like Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, DMK, and National Conference.
The increasing role of regional parties has also led to a shift from ideological to pragmatic politics. Parties, including the Congress, BJP, CPI, and CPI-M, have made unprincipled and opportunistic alliances to remain in power or to keep a particular party out of power. This pragmatism has made enough space for regional parties to fit in national politics.
The rise of regional parties has also enabled many castes and groups to have a voice in determining national policies. These parties, while advocating for regional autonomy and more resources for the states, are as much concerned about the unity and integrity of the nation as the national parties are.
However, coalition politics has also led to some challenges. For instance, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed his helplessness in dealing with crucial national matters due to the “compulsions of coalition politics”. This highlights the instability and inefficiency that can arise in a coalition government.
In conclusion, the increasing role of regional parties in national politics over the last 30 years has significantly reshaped the Indian political landscape. While this has led to greater representation and inclusivity, it has also brought new challenges in terms of governance and policy-making.
B. Short answer questions
7. What is meant by a Coalition Government?
Answer: A Coalition means “an alliance of political parties forming a government.” Features of Coalition Politics were these: (i) Coalition Governments were formed on the basis of Ideological Similarities, (ii) It is not a Static Affair (iii) Compromise and Flexibility, (iv) Common Minimum Programme, (a) It is usually a Weak Government, (vi) Coalition Governments are suitable for Divided Societies, and (vii) a Grand Coalition or a National Government in times of a national crisis such as a War.
8. A National Front Government was formed in December 1989. Why was it called a unique experiment in Indian politics?
Answer: A National Front Government was formed in 1989. It was a unique experiment because the V.P. Singh’s Government was supported by two different parties.
9. Mention any two issues about which a Consensus appeared to have emerged among most parties in India.
Answer: A consensus or a general agreement seemed to have emerged among the major parties in India about the following issues:
- New Economic Policies: India is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and, therefore, the process of economic reforms is unalterable. Congress and the BJP are both committed to economic reforms and liberalisation.
- Welfare of the Backward Castes: The political parties, by and large, are in general agreement that benefits of economic development should percolate down to Backward class of citizens.
C. Very short answer questions
10. A National Government’ is usually formed in times of a national crisis. Name any two such events.
Answer: War and external aggression.
11. Name any two achievements of NDA regime during Narendra Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister
Answer: NDA’s main achievements during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure were as follows:
- Economic Reforms, especially the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that simplified the tax structure, brought in significant increase in tax collection and benefitted the trade and industry both.
- Welfare Schemes for the Poor, Dalits and Tribals.
D. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✓) the correct answer
12. The National Front Government formed in December 1989 was headed by:
Answer: (c) V.P. Singh.
13. During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister the nuclear tests were held at:
Answer: (a) Pokharan Range in Rajasthan.
14. Which of the following parties withdrew support to Manmohan Singh’s Government in July 2008 because of the India-US Nuclear Deal?
Answer: (b) CPI and the CPI-M.
15. Which among the following is not a feature of a Coalition Government?
Answer: (c) Coalition Governments are being formed on the basis of ideological similarities.
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