'Political parties most distrusted, Army, judiciary win people’s trust,' says study

A new survey ahead of elections shows lack of jobs is single biggest worry

March 27, 2019 01:16 am | Updated 01:37 am IST - New Delhi

Almost 20% of those surveyed said unemployment was their biggest concern. Image used for representational purpose

Almost 20% of those surveyed said unemployment was their biggest concern. Image used for representational purpose

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, a public opinion survey in 12 states has found that political parties are the most distrusted political institutions in India. It also found that one in five of those surveyed felt that unemployment is the single biggest issue facing the country today.

The survey, Politics and Society between Elections 2019, found that political parties had a negative net trust rate of -55% (calculated as the percentage of respondent who trust them minus the percentage who do not). They are the only institutions with a negative net rate.

On the other end of the scale, the Army is the most trusted institution in the country, with an effective trust rate of 88%, while the judiciary – including the Supreme Court, High Courts and district court – enjoys an effective trust rate of more than 60%.

The report, published jointly by Azim PremjiUniversity and Lokniti, surveyed a sample of about 24,000 people from 12 states -- Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and the National Capital Region of Delhi. The sample is not weighted by state population; instead, each state had about 2,000 respondents. Previous surveys over the last two years have covered 12 more states, and researchers expect to collate all three surveys for a more comprehensive analysis in the future.

“For too long, studies on Indian democracy have focussed only on elections, as though our democratic system can be reduced to the electoral process,” said political scientist Zoya Hasan at the report launch on Tuesday, welcoming a survey that did not focus on how many seats would be won by which party, but rather looking into the perspectives and opinions of the Indian voter.


Apart from measuring institutional trust, the survey attempts to provide a glimpse into people’s views on governance, sexuality, gender, nationalism, populism, caste and religious identities.

Researchers also asked respondents what is the single biggest problem facing the country. Almost 20% of those surveyed said unemployment was their biggest concern. Among those between the ages of 18 and 35 years, that figure shot up to 49%. Other issues cited include development, growth and poverty (15%) and law, governance and corruption (13%).

The survey asked whether the government should punish those who eat beef, engage in religious conversion, do not stand for the nationalism or refuse to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’. It found differences across states, with people in UP, Delhi and Uttarakhand being mostly likely to support government punishment in such cases. Punishment for beef consumption had the largest support; only Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir had a higher percentage of respondents who opposed punishment rather than supported it in this case.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.