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Constructive criticism of government

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It is something which keeps the true essence of democracy alive in a country

Supporting one’s country policies and decisions is one part of keeping it on the path of prosperity and development, while keeping track of government activities, being vigilant about them and highlighting loopholes in policies are also needed in a democracy.

In our country, we have people with different ideologies — some criticise the government policies and some support it, while others remain at the top of it appreciating the good policies and highlighting the drawbacks to improve governance. It’s common nowadays to see society divided into segments each with a different perspective about the policies undertaken by their governments; it is something which keeps the true essence of democracy alive. There are many instances in the past of governance and society improving because of the positive criticism by some people or group of them. These examples give democracies around the world a chance of improving the quality of governance and hence create a better society.

In recent years in India, there has been a gradual change in perspective of the people regarding their governments. While some of them are a very good sign of a progressive society, some of them are quite worrying too. There is a common notion among some citizens that if they speak something against the actions of their government, then it’s probably against the nation too.

This idea which is significant in numbers need to be thoroughly assessed. Chances might be there that some of the criticism may not be on the right note, but many of it if considered by the governments can be helpful in the real-time assessment of the needs and expectations of the people from the government. Unfortunately, there is a decline in these voices nowadays because of the type of mandate which India got in the 2019 election. People who voted for the NDA government think that it's wrong to speak against the government which they elected to power.

People should realise that it is not the driving force of praise and overwhelming support which keeps the wheels of a government moving but also the steering force of people’s participation which keep a check on government, and modify it, if the policies fail to meet the expectations of society as a whole. If people’s criticism reaches the government’s ear at an appropriate time and in significant numbers, then a lot of resources of the governmental machinery can be utilised wisely for some other activities which are brought to notice by the people itself.

Some experts believe that praise and support of people are very crucial for maintaining efficient governance as it keeps leaders and bureaucrats motivated to work more to increase the overall output of governmental activities on the ground. This is true in practice too but it should be kept in mind that the power vested in the hands of people in a democracy is not only utilised for blindly praising the government but it should be used as an aid, to advise and correct the government whenever required so that the efficiency and quality of governance is maintained.

sunny@alonehands.com

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 8:34:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/constructive-criticism-of-government/article29542527.ece

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