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India, 2nd Of 2


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India, 2nd Of 2

  1. 1. India, 2nd of 2 Prof Unger will return quiz report sheets on Thursday
  2. 2. India <ul><li>Covered historical background and key political institutions last week. </li></ul><ul><li>Today: more on political institutions (political parties, judiciary) and on other features of India’s tumultuous politics. </li></ul>
  3. 3. India <ul><li>As we noted, for First 30 years, all PMs were from Indian National Congress party. First Nehru, then his daughter, Indira Gandhi. Her daughter in law the Italian-Indian, Sonia Gandhi, who now heads the party. </li></ul><ul><li>-after 1977, INC lost some elections to right-wing Hindu parties (Janata, Janata Dal, Bharatiya Janata BJP) that typically represent Hindu nationalism and call for free market economic policies. </li></ul>
  4. 4. India <ul><li>India’s Party system in fact hopelessly confusing, becoming more so all the time as ever more parties appeal to narrow geographical areas or to particular castes or to far left </li></ul><ul><li>- there are several communist parties, for example, one of them that does well enough to be quite important at the federal (national) level </li></ul>
  5. 5. India <ul><li>We do not expect it with FPTP (single member district systems), but India has a fragmented party system. Lok Sabha (lower house) with some 30 parties. The Last two government coalitions have had 12 and 13 parties. </li></ul><ul><li>-some of these parties are powerful only in a few states, but are necessary to form governments. They might have their basis, for example, primarily among lower caste Hindu supporters. To form a government, the larger parties have to stitch together coalitions that include many of these smaller parties. </li></ul>
  6. 6. India <ul><li>India was founded as a secular country, but that secularism is under some challenge from both Hindus and Muslims. </li></ul><ul><li>-when India gives minority rights to Muslims (e.g. shariah in family law) some Hindus object that the move departs from secularism. If Muslims do not have their own laws, however, some will maintain that the Hindu majority imposes its preferences on them. </li></ul>
  7. 7. India <ul><li>Religion and caste are very important to India’s politics and parties. One issue over which parties compete is the awarding of government preferences (contracts, jobs, slots in universities) to groups that claim preferential (affirmative action) benefits. In India, counting various lower caste and tribal groups, over half the population is eligible for some kinds of AA benefits. </li></ul>
  8. 8. India <ul><li>We noted that India’s democracy has survived since its independence. One factor explaining that success is the strength of the Judiciary which has been important, helping to fend off challenges to democracy. -the Supreme Court primarily handles disputes between states and New Delhi –the Supreme Court has a chief justice and 25 associate justices appointed by India’s president. Justices serve until age 65. </li></ul>
  9. 9. India <ul><li>Also important in defending democracy in India is a very lively press. </li></ul><ul><li>India is a Federal system, with 28 states and seven territories (latter have Federally appointed governments, while the former elect their own legislatures and “chief ministers.”) </li></ul>
  10. 10. India <ul><li>In the most recent 2004 elections the INC returned to power. The INC had been in opposition since 1989. BJP (the other large party, based on Hindu nationalism and a free market strategy) was suffering going into the 2004 elections from incidents of communal violence, some linked to its supporters, including 2002 riots in Gujarat that killed more than a thousand Muslims. </li></ul><ul><li>-Also there was considerable unhappiness with pro-market policies among many poor voters who were not gaining the benefits of stronger economic growth. </li></ul>
  11. 11. India <ul><li>In the elections, INC got 145 seats to BJP’s 138. In all, over 200 parties participated, most won no seats, or only one. Only five won more than 20. However, even if the INC convinced #3, 4, and 5 parties to join in coalition, it would still be well short of a majority. </li></ul><ul><li>India often makes the news in the US as a result of natural disasters and due to political violence. Unfortunately, both occur all too frequently. </li></ul>
  12. 12. India <ul><li>India has Regular destructive monsoon flooding. For example Some 2 thousand died from floods from June to August this year 2008 and perhaps almost as many when Kosi (Ganges River tributary) River flooded in September in states of Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and especially Bihar. Millions of Indians were displaced from their homes. </li></ul>
  13. 13. India <ul><li>Political violence also breaks out from time to time. We noted the violence in Gujarat in 2002. </li></ul><ul><li>-more recent terrorist attacks a growing worry. In the past year or so there have been attacks in Jaipur (over 60 dead), Hyderabad (over 40) and Mumbai (over 70.) </li></ul><ul><li>-in Kashmir, some 1 thousand terrorists help to keep busy 350 thousand soldiers and police attempting to maintain security </li></ul>
  14. 14. India <ul><li>After decades of slow growth from independence until the 1990s, the Indian economy has exploded. Many of the economic regulations that in the past slowed growth have been removed, beginning in the 1980s. Many regulations remain to hamper the economy, but growth is strong, 8-9 per cent a year recently. Growth would be faster and produce better social results if education were shared more equally. </li></ul><ul><li>-India has very good schools and, for example, each year graduates five times more engineers than are produced in the US; however, more than one third of Indians remain illiterate. </li></ul>
  15. 15. India <ul><li>Economic growth has made India more powerful and important to other powerful countries such as China and the US. </li></ul><ul><li>-India lives in a dangerous “neighborhood” (civil war in Sri Lanka, also until recently in Nepal, political instability in Pakistan with potential of far worse in the future) </li></ul>
  16. 16. India <ul><li>To create stronger ties with India, the US offered India in 2005 a nuclear agreement that violates past US policies and past international treaties. Even though India never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the US decided to have nuclear cooperation with India. </li></ul>
  17. 17. India <ul><li>-India first exploded “peaceful” nuclear device in 1974 and in 1998 became a full nuclear power (and Pakistan soon followed.) While Pakistan is primarily worried about India, the Indians are more concerned with China and India’s global power more generally. </li></ul>
  18. 18. India <ul><li>-the India-US nuclear deal was concluded Fall 2008 faced widespread opposition given that India is not a signatory of the NNPT. Fairly close vote in Indian parliament on no confidence motion and charges that many votes were purchased by the government. The largest communist party, which was part of the ruling coalition, opposed the deal. </li></ul>
  19. 19. India <ul><li>-Further controversy due to charges that the details of the agreement as described by US government differed from what parliament was told by the Indian government that India had agreed to. </li></ul>
  20. 20. India <ul><li>By now, however, the deal has been approved in India, by the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international bodies (thanks to US influence) and is almost sure to gain final approval in the US Congress as well. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Partition of India <ul><li>Film: on partition (made 1997.) Note that the subject is of relevance not only in South Asia, but in many other places as well (Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Cyrus, Middle East) in past, and future. </li></ul>