Public Administration Mains 2018 : Model Question and Answer - 67

(Public Administration Paper I / Chapter: Accountability and Control)

(Current Based) Question: Civil Society Organisations mobilized social movements in India. Comment. (10 Marks/200 Words )

Model Answer:

Democratic theory holds that citizens have the political competence to participate in political processes through public debates, campaigns, and non-violent direct action in civil society.

To challenge this is to deny the basic right of citizens to share in the making of a public discourse and an accessible political discourse. The rider is that a democratic state is a necessary precondition for a vigilant civil society.

A self-limiting social movement, which had carved out a free zone called civil society outside the sphere of the state and the household, was transformed into a political movement.This is precisely the task that civil society, which appears to have retreated from confrontation with the state, has to take up with gusto.

In recent years, the space of civil society in India has shrunk dramatically because the present government has neither patience for civil society activism nor respect for the political competence of citizens.

Social movements in Gujarat have shown us the route across stormy seas. We have to harness the tide, before it ebbs and leaves citizens stranded on the shores of an uncaring India.Civil society organisations have to come together and reinvent themselves as the guardian of substantive freedom in India. (Total Words- 201)

Valuable inputs from The Hindu opinion ‘Three cheers for civil society’ by Neera Chandhoke

(Linkages: CSO and Social Movements, Civil Society and Democratic Theory, Civil Society Activism and Guardian of Freedom)

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