Chapter 1. What is Democracy? Why Democracy?

What is Democracy?
• Democracy is a form of government in which rulers are elected by people.

Features of Democracy
• Rulers elected by people take all major decisions.
• Elections offer a choice and fair opportunity to people to change current rulers.
• This choice and opportunity are available to all people on an equal basis.
• The exercise of choice leads to a government limited by basic rules of Constitution and citizens’ rights.

Why Democracy?
• A democratic government is a better government because it is a more accountable form of government.
• Democracy improves quality of decision-making as it involves many persons, discussions, and meetings.
• Democracy provides a method to deal with differences and conflicts.
• Democracy enhances dignity of citizens as it is based on principle of political equality, on recognising that poorest and least educated have same status as rich and educated.
• Democracy is better than other forms of government because it allows to correct mistakes done by government. There is a space for public discussion on these mistakes. And there is room for correction. Either government has to change its decisions, or government can be changed. This cannot happen in a non-democratic government.
• The most common form of democracy is a representative democracy.
• In a democracy like India, all people do not rule. A majority of elected representatives are allowed to take decisions on behalf of all people.
• A democratic decision involves consultation with and consent of all those who are affected by that decision.
• Other forms of government like monarchy, dictatorship, or one-party rule do not require all citizens to take part in politics, but democracy depends on active political participation by all citizens.

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