Chapter 1: Power Sharing

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Power Sharing

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS

1. Describe the elements of Belgian model for accommodating diversities. (3)

Answer –

Some of the elements of the Belgian model are the followings:

  • Constitution prescribes that the number of Dutch and French-speaking ministers shall be equal in the central government. Some special laws require the support of the majority of members from each linguistic group. Thus, no single community can make decisions unilaterally.
  • Many powers of the central government have been given to state governments of the two regions of the country. The state governments are not subordinate to the Central Government.
  • Brussels has a separate government in which both the communities have equal representation. The French-speaking people accepted equal representation in Brussels because the Dutch-speaking community has accepted equal representation in the Central Government.
  • Apart from the Central and the State governments, there is a third kind of government called ‘community government’. It is elected by people belonging to one language community – Dutch, French, and German-speaking irrespective of where they live. This government has the power regarding cultural, educational, and language-related issues.

2. Describe the horizontal power-sharing arrangements. (3)

Answer –

  • In horizontal power-sharing arrangements, power is shared among different organs of government, such as the legislature, executive, and judiciary.
  • It is called horizontal distribution of power because it allows different organs of government placed at the same level to exercise different powers.
  • Such separation ensures that none of the organs can exercise unlimited power. Each organ checks the others.
  • In a democracy, even though ministers and government officials exercise power, they are responsible to the Parliament or State Assemblies.
  • Similarly, although judges are appointed by the executive, they can check the functioning of the executive or laws made by the legislatures.
  • This arrangement is called a system of checks and balances.

3. Under which of the following is power shared in the ‘Community Government’ of Belgium? (1)
(A) Different social groups
(B) Different organs of government
(C) Central and State government
(D) State government and Community government

Answer – Option (A) Different social groups.

4. Why is power sharing desirable? Explain one reason. (1)

Or,

Why is power sharing good for democracies ? Explain one reason. (1)

Answer –

Power sharing is desirable because it helps to reduce the possibility of conflict between social groups.

5. Which of the following is the majority group in Sri Lanka ?

(A) Tamils
(B) Christians
(C) Sinhalese
(D) Muslims

Answer – Sinhalese

5. Compare the situation of Belgium and Sri Lanka considering their location, size and cultural aspects. (1 + 1 + 3)

Answer –

  • Belgium is a small country in Europe. It has borders with France, the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.
  • It has a population of a little over one crore.
  • The ethnic composition of this small country is very complex.
  • Of the country’s total population, 59 per cent lives in the Flemish region and speaks Dutch language.
  • Another 40 per cent people live in the Wallonia region and speak French.
  • Remaining one per cent of the Belgians speak German.
  • In the capital city Brussels, 80 per cent people speak French while 20 per cent are Dutch speaking.

And

  • Sri Lanka is an island nation in Asia.
  • It has about two crore people.
  • Sri Lanka has a diverse population.
  • The major social groups are the Sinhala-speakers (74 per cent) and the Tamil-speakers (18 per cent).
  • Among Tamils there are two subgroups. Tamil natives of the country are called ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’ (13 per cent). The rest, whose forefathers came from India as plantation workers during colonial period, are called ‘Indian Tamils’.
  • Sri Lankan Tamils are concentrated in the north and east of the country.
  • Most of the Sinhala speaking people are Buddhists, while most of the Tamils are Hindus or Muslims.
  • There are about 7 per cent Christians, who are both Tamil and Sinhala.

6. How does the idea of power-sharing emerge? Explain different forms that have common arrangements of power-sharing. (5)

Answer –

When political power is concentrated in one hand or one majority group then there will be the tyranny of the minorities and the one who is in power may misuse his authority. So if the power is divided into many organs or in different level of government, different organs or institute will check and balances each other’s power and government at lower level will have some autonomy. So power sharing is desirable and thus the idea of power sharing emerged.

7. How did the feeling of alienation develop among the Sri Lankan Tamils ? (1)

Answer –

There were series of actions taken by the Government of Sri Lanka which resulted the feeling of alienation developed among the Sri Lankan Tamils. Some of them were –

  • In 1956, an Act was passed in Sri Lanka to recognise Sinhala as the only official language, thus disregarding Tamil.
  • The governments followed preferential policies that favoured Sinhala applicants for university positions and government jobs.
  • A new constitution stipulated that the state shall protect and foster Buddhism.

Sri Lankan Tamils felt that none of the major political parties led by the Buddhist Sinhala leaders was sensitive to their language and culture. They felt that the constitution and government policies denied them equal political rights, discriminated against them in getting jobs and other opportunities and ignored their interests. As a result, the relations between the Sinhala and Tamil communities strained over time.

8. Name the country where ethnic struggle led to violence and revolt after 1956. (1)

Answer – Sri Lanka

9. Evaluate the power sharing system in India. (3)

Answer – There are two ways of power sharing in India i.e. Horizontal and Vertical distribution of power.

Horizontal distribution of power

  • In the horizontal power sharing arrangements, power is shared among different organs of government, such as the legislature, executive and judiciary.
  • It is called horizontal distribution of power because it allows different organs of government placed at the same level to exercise different powers.
  • Such a separation ensures that none of the organs can exercise unlimited power. Each organ checks the others.
  • In a democracy, even though ministers and government officials exercise power, they are responsible to the Parliament or State Assemblies.
  • Similarly, although judges are appointed by the executive, they can check the functioning of executive or laws made by the legislatures.
  • This arrangement is called a system of checks and balances.

Vertical distribution of power:

  • In this arrangement of power is shared among governments at different levels – a general government for the entire country (Union Government) and governments at the provincial or regional level (State Government).
  • In India there are levels of government lower than the State government, such as the municipality and panchayat.
  • The constitution clearly lays down the powers of different levels of government.

10. Which of the following is the majority group in Sri Lanka ? (1)
(A) Tamils
(B) Christians
(C) Sinhalese
(D) Muslims

Answer – (C) Sinhalese

11. Under which of the following is power shared in the ‘Community Government’ of Belgium? (1)
(A) Different social groups
(B) Different organs of government
(C) Central and State government
(D) State government and Community government

Answer – Option (A)

12. Why did a civil war start in Sri Lanka ? (1)

Answer –

A series of measures/action taken by the Government of Sri Lanka like –

  • recognizing Sinhala as the only official language.
  • introducing policies which favoured Sinhala applicants for university positions and government jobs.
  • protecting and fostering Buddhism.

All these measures resulted the development of feeling of alienation among the Sri Lankan Tamils and distrust between the two communities also developed which very soon turned into widespread conflict and finally into a civil war.

OR

There were series of actions taken by the Government of Sri Lanka which resulted the feeling of alienation developed among the Sri Lankan Tamils. Some of them were –

  • In 1956, an Act was passed in Sri Lanka to recognise Sinhala as the only official language, thus disregarding Tamil.
  • The governments followed preferential policies that favoured Sinhala applicants for university positions and government jobs.
  • A new constitution stipulated that the state shall protect and foster Buddhism.

Sri Lankan Tamils felt that none of the major political parties led by the Buddhist Sinhala leaders was sensitive to their language and culture. They felt that the constitution and government policies denied them equal political rights, discriminated against them in getting jobs and other opportunities and ignored their interests. As a result, the relations between the Sinhala and Tamil communities strained over time.

The distrust between the two communities turned into widespread conflict which soon turned into a civil war.

13. Explain the ethnic composition of Belgium.

Answer –

The ethnic composition of this small country is very complex.

  • Of the country’s total population, 59 per cent lives in the Flemish region and speaks Dutch language.
  • Another 40 per cent people live in the Wallonia region and speak French.
  • Remaining one per cent of the Belgians speak German.
  • In the capital city Brussels, 80 per cent people speak French while 20 per cent are Dutch speaking.
  • The minority French-speaking community was relatively rich and powerful.
  • Brussels presented a special problem: the Dutch-speaking people constituted a majority in the country, but a minority in the capital.

14. Explain the ethnic composition of Sri Lanka.

Answer –

Sri Lanka has a diverse population.

  • The major social groups are the Sinhala-speakers (74 per cent) and the Tamil-speakers (18 per cent).
  • Among Tamils there are two subgroups. Tamil natives of the country are called ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’ (13 per cent). The rest, whose forefathers came from India as plantation workers during colonial period, are called ‘Indian Tamils’.
  • Sri Lankan Tamils are concentrated in the north and east of the country.
  • Most of the Sinhala speaking people are Buddhists, while most of the Tamils are Hindus or Muslims. There are about 7 per cent Christians, who are both Tamil and Sinhala.

15. When did Sri Lanka get their independence?

Answer – 1948

16. What is majoritarianism?

Answer –

Majoritarianism is a belief that the majority community should be able to rule a country in
whichever way it wants, by disregarding the wishes and needs of the minority.

17. Which was the official language of Sri Lanka?

Answer – Sinhala

18. What was the capital of Belgium?

Answer – Brussels

19. How power is shared among different organs of government?

Answer –

  • In the horizontal power sharing arrangements, power is shared among different organs of government, such as the legislature, executive and judiciary.
  • It is called horizontal distribution of power because it allows different organs of government placed at the same level to exercise different powers.
  • Such a separation ensures that none of the organs can exercise unlimited power. Each organ checks the others.
  • In a democracy, even though ministers and government officials exercise power, they are responsible to the Parliament or State Assemblies.
  • Similarly, although judges are appointed by the executive, they can check the functioning of executive or laws made by the legislatures.
  • This arrangement is called a system of checks and balances.

20. What is the difference between the horizontal and vertical distribution of power?

Answer –

Horizontal distribution of power

Vertical distribution of power

  1. In horizontal division of power, power is distributed among different organs of government placed at the same level.
  2. They work at same level to exercise different powers.
  3. Each organ check the power of other organs.
  1. In vertical division of power, power is distributed among different levels of government.
  2. Constitution clearly lays down the
    powers of different levels of
    government.
  3. Each level of government has their own power and function. They have separate list of subject to deal with.

21. Which arrangement of power sharing is called the system of check and balance?

Answer –

Horizontal Distribution of power is called the system of check and balance.

22. What are the different forms of power sharing in modern democracies? Give an example of each of these.

Answer –

The different forms of power sharing in modern democracies are:

  1. Power is shared among different organs of government, such as the legislature, executive, and judiciary.
  2. Power can be shared among governments at different levels – a general government for the entire country and governments at the provincial or regional level.
  3. Power may also be shared among different social groups such as the religious and linguistic groups.
  4. Power-sharing arrangements can also be seen in the way political parties, pressure groups, and movements control or influence those in power.

23. State one prudential reason and one moral reason for power sharing with an example from the Indian context.

Answer –

Prudential reason – Power sharing is good because it helps to reduce the possibility of conflict between social groups. Since social conflict often leads to violence and political instability, power-sharing is a good way to ensure the stability of political order. Imposing the will of the majority community over others may look like an attractive option in the short run, but in the long run, it undermines the unity of the nation. Tyranny of the majority is not just oppressive for the minority; it often brings ruin to the majority as well.

Moral reason – Power sharing is good for democracies. Power sharing is the very spirit of democracy. A democratic rule involves sharing power with those affected by its exercise, and who have to live with its effects. People have a right to be consulted on how they are to be governed. A legitimate government is one where citizens, through participation, acquire a stake in the system.

24. What is ‘Community Government of Belgium’?

Answer –

  • Apart from the Central and the State Government, there is a third kind of government in Belgium called ‘community government’.
  • It is elected by people belonging to one language community – Dutch, French and German-speaking irrespective of where they reside.
  • This government has the power regarding cultural, educational and language-related issues.
  • Belgian model very complicated. But these arrangements have worked well so far.
  • They helped to avoid civic strife between the two major communities and a possible division of the country on linguistic lines.

25 . Where is the headquarter of European Union located ?

Answer – Brussels

Next CHAPTER – 2: FEDERALISM

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