NCERT SOLUTION Class 9 Chap 2 Civics
Chapter: Meaning of Democracy
1. Here is some information about the four countries. Based on this information, how would you classify each of these countries? Write ‘democratic’, ‘undemocratic’ or ‘not sure’ against each of these.
(a) Country A: People who do not accept the country’s official religion do not have a right to vote.
(b) Country B: The same party has been winning elections for the last twenty years.
(c) Country C: the Ruling party has lost in the last three elections.
(d) Country D: There is no independent election commission.
Ans. (a) Undemocratic (b) Undemocratic
(c) Democratic (d) Not sure
2. Here is some information about the four countries. Based on this information, how would you classify each of these countries? Write ‘democratic’, ‘undemocratic’ or ‘not sure’ against each of these.
(a) Country P: The parliament cannot pass a law about the army without the consent of the Chief of Army.
(b) Country Q: The parliament cannot pass a law reducing the powers of the judiciary.
(c) Country R: The country’s leaders cannot sign any treaty with another country without taking permission from its neighbouring country.
(d) Country S: All the major economic decisions about the country are taken by officials of the central bank which the ministers cannot change.
Ans. (a) Democratic (b) Democratic
(c) Not Sure (d) Undemocratic
3. Which of these is not a good argument in favour of democracy? Why?
(a) People feel free and equal in a democracy.
(b) Democracies resolve conflict in a better way than others.
(c) Democratic government is more accountable to the people.
(d) Democracies are more prosperous than others.
Ans. (d) Prosperity is not a true sign of democracy. Democracy does not affect much the financial status of a country. India is a democracy, yet it is fighting a long battle against poverty. India is poor for various other reasons.
4. Each of these statements contains a democratic and undemocratic element. Write out the two separately for each statement.
(a) A minister said that some laws have to be passed by the parliament in order to conform to the regulations decided by the World Trade Organisation.
(b) The Election Commission ordered re-polling in a constituency where large scale rigging was reported.
(c) Women’s representation in parliament has never reached 10 per cent. This led women’s’ organisations to demand one-third seats for women.
Ans. (a) The reference of the laws to the parliament shows that democracy is practised. The minister has not taken the decision himself. But the decision to conform to the regulations decided by the World Trade Organisation is undemocratic. Why should a free country make laws to suit a foreign organisation!
(b) Democratic: Repolling is necessary whenever rigging takes place in a constituency during elections.
Undemocratic: Rigging itself is an undemocratic element. It should not happen in a democracy.
(c) One should have more women representatives in parliament — democratic.
To demand reservation is undemocratic. Women should come forward themselves and fight elections.
5. Which of these is not a valid reason for arguing that there is a lesser possibility of famine in a democratic country?
(a) Opposition parties can draw attention to hunger and starvation.
(b) A free press can report suffering from famine in different parts of the country.
(c) The government fears its defeat in the next elections.
(d) People are free to believe in and practice any religion.
Ans. (d) It has nothing to do with famines.
6. There are 40 villages in a district where the government has made no provision for drinking water. These villagers met and considered many methods of forcing the government to respond to their need. Which of these is not a democratic method?
(a) Filing a case in the courts claiming that water is part of the right to life.
(b) Boycotting the next elections to give a message to all parties.
(c) Organising public meetings against the government’s policies.
(d) Paying money to government officials to get water.
Ans. (d) Paying money to government officials to get water.
7. Write a response to the following arguments against democracy :
(a) The army is the most disciplined and corruption-free organisation in the country. Therefore, the army should rule the country.
(b) Rule of the majority means the rule of ignorant people. What we need is the rule of the wise, even if they are in small numbers.
(c) If we want religious leaders to guide us in spiritual matters, why not invite them to guide us in politics as well. The country should be ruled by religious leaders.
Ans. (a) Army rule is not a rule of the people through their representatives. They may be disciplined but they become dictatorial and cut down the freedom of the people. We have seen this in the case of Pinochet’s rule in Chile, President’s Musharraf’s rule in Pakistan and the military rule in Myanmar.
(b) Wise men are not necessarily good administrators. It will become the rule of the minority, not of the majority of the people. People’s liberties are bound to be cut down.
(c) Religious leaders follow the letter of the religion they preach. They deny freedom of thought, expression and speech. We have seen this in the case of Afghanistan. Religious leaders deny freedom of religion to minorities and impose their ideas on them.
It is only democracy which gives maximum freedom to people, allows them to choose their own leaders and does not all dictators of any kind of seize power.
8. Are the following statements in keeping with democracy as a value? Why?
(a) Father to daughter: I don’t want to hear your opinion about your marriage. In our family children marry where the parents tell them to.
(b) Teacher to students: Don’t disturb my concentration by asking me questions in the classroom.
(c) Employee to the officer: Our working hours must be reduced according to the law.
Ans. (a) No, the right of freedom to choose and express her opinion is denied by the father. He is behaving like a dictator.
(b) No, again the teacher is being autocratic. A student has the right to ask questions to clear his/her doubts.
(c) Yes, in this example the employee is making the right demand. He cannot be forced to work for extra hours.
9. Consider the following facts about a country and decide if you would call it a democracy. Give reasons to support your decision.
(a) All the citizens of the country have the right to vote. Elections are held regularly.
(b) The country took a loan from international agencies. One of the conditions for giving loan was that the government would reduce its expenses on education and health.
(c) People speak more than seven languages but education is available only in one language, the language spoken by 52 per cent people of that country.
(d) Several organisations have given a call for peaceful demonstrations and nationwide strikes in the country to oppose these policies. Government has arrested these leaders.
(e) The government owns the radio and television in the country. All the newspapers have to get permission from the government to publish any news about the government’s policies and protests.
Ans. No, the country is not a democratic country.
(a) It has allowed a foreign agency to interfere in its internal policies. It has denied to its own citizens better education and health.
(b) The minorities are denied equal status in a matter of language. Their cultural rights are ignored.
(c) The total control of media shows that there is no freedom of speech and expression and the right to speak against the government.
10. In 2004 a report published in the USA pointed to the increasing inequalities in that country. Inequalities in income reflected in the participation of people in a democracy. It also shaped their abilities to influence the decisions taken by the government. The report highlighted that:
If an average Black family earns $ 100, then the income of an average White family is $ 162. A White family has twelve times more wealth than an average Black family.
In a President’s election, nearly nine out of 10 individuals in families with income over $ 75,000 have voted. These people are the top 20% of the population in terms of their income. On the other hand, only 5 people out of 10 from families with income less than $ 15,000 have voted. They are the bottom 20% of the population in terms of their income.
About 95% contribution to the political parties comes from the rich. This gives them an opportunity to express their opinions and concerns, which is not available to most citizens.
As poor sections participate less in politics, the government does not listen to their concerns — coming out of poverty, getting a job, education, healthcare and housing from them. Politicians hear most regularly about the concerns of business and the richest.
Write an essay on ‘Democracy and Poverty’ using the information given in this report but using examples from India.
Ans. Democracy and Poverty
Most of the Asian and African countries which won independence from colonial rule have been fighting a battle against poverty. In India, poverty has been a major challenge before the Indian economy. According to a census (1999-2000), 27.09% of the population in rural areas live below the poverty line. In urban areas the situation is a little better — 23.62% of people live below the poverty line. The overall average is 26.10%. It means that a quarter of the population in India is living below the poverty line. States like Odisha, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line.
Since independence, Indian democracy has worked tirelessly to remove poverty in India. All our economic planning is geared to alleviate poverty. The government has passed many laws and reforms. Abolition of Zamindari system, the security of tenant farmers is one of them. It has tried to reduce the gap between the rich and poor by income redistribution measures. The rich have to pay more taxes than the poor. There have been many rural and urban ‘Yojnas’ which provide employment to the poor. They are known as PAPs — Poverty Alleviation Programmes.
So in India, we cannot blame the government for not being concerned about the poor. The Government has done a lot for education, healthcare, housing and employment of the poor. All our Five Years Plan-programmes had been based on helping the poor.
In India, the poor are conscious of their voting rights and only the rich have not won all elections. To stop the rich from capturing all the seats, the ceiling has been put on expenditure during elections, for candidates appearing for Parliamentary and Assembly elections, for example:` 70 lakh for Parliamentary and ` 28 lakh for Assembly in most of the constituencies. Of course, rich industrialists and businessmen contribute to party funds but now the law has been made, which asks the parties to declare their assets. Every person standing for election has to do so.
It is true that the rich are more and powerful but in a democracy, the ordinary citizen has been given equal status as far as the value of a vote is concerned. We see this in India where the poor now know their rights and are exercising them.