Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2023)
1] Explain how pressure groups have been influencing public policy-making with suitable illustrations. [2014/20m/250w/8a]
Pressure groups play a significant role in influencing public policy-making in democratic societies. They represent specific interests, concerns, or causes and use various strategies to influence policymakers. Pressure groups employ a variety of methods to promote their cause.
Demonstrations are an example of direct action, which may or may not have an effect on a government. Petitions are another way to raise awareness among politicians of public feelings about a specific issue. Media advertising may be used to attract public sympathy and this may help the pressure group in its efforts to influence the government.
Some pressure groups may use a publicity stunt in order to gain media coverage and try and influence public support. Coverage in a newspaper or on the TV news is free and is likely to be seen by many people, however, on some occasions, the pressure group may not be portrayed in a positive light and may even end up breaking the law. As a result, the pressure group may end up losing public support for their cause by this form of direct action.
Pressure groups may also have influence inside Parliament if there is an MP who is a member of the group or is sympathetic to it. Insider groups may be involved in decision-making processes by being on committees with ministers, MPs and civil servants, as well as writing advisory papers and sponsoring MPs.
Outsider groups also have an opportunity to lobby politicians and their views will often be taken into consideration. There is criticism of the undue influence that may be wielded by large and wealthy groups.
Trade unions represent the interests of workers and have historically played a crucial role in labour policy-making. They negotiate with employers, organize strikes and protests, and advocate for better working conditions, fair wages, and labour rights. Trade unions have successfully influenced policies related to minimum wage laws, worker safety regulations, and social security benefits.
Similarly, Farmers’ associations, such as the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) in India, have actively influenced agricultural policies. These groups mobilize farmers, organize protests, and engage in dialogue with policymakers to address issues like crop prices, agricultural subsidies, land acquisition, and irrigation facilities.
By leveraging public opinion, organizing protests and campaigns, engaging in lobbying efforts, and using legal avenues, pressure groups play a vital role in shaping policies and ensuring that the concerns and interests of specific groups are considered by policymakers. [400 words]