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CBSE Class X Power Sharing Notes

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This includes complete notes needed for the chapter Power Sharing included in CBSE Class X Curriculum.
The notes are prepared by topper of CBSE who scored A1 in Social Science and a 10 CGPA.

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CBSE Class X Power Sharing Notes

  1. 1. Civics Power Sharing Q1) Define Power Sharing. A1) Power Sharing is a system of political arrangements in which power is shared between different organs of the government, between different levels of the government, between different social groups and between different political parties, pressure groups and movements. Q2) Where is Belgium? With which countries does it share the borders? A2) Belgium is a small country in Europe, smaller in area than the state of Haryana. It has borders with France, the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg Q3) i) Explain the ethnic composition of the population of Belgium? ii) What factors led to the differences between the people? A3) i) I) Belgium has a population with people belonging to different ethnic groups. It has a pop. Of a little over one crore, about half the population of Haryana. The ethnic composition of this small country is very complex. II) Of the country’s total population, 59% lives in the Flemish region and speaks Dutch language. III) Another 40% people live in the Wallonia region and speak French. IV) Remaining 1% of the Belgians speak German. V) In the capital city – Brussels, 80% people speak French while 20% are Dutch speaking. A3) ii) The minority French – speaking community was relatively rich and powerful. This was resented by the Dutch – speaking community who got the benefit of economic development and education much later. This led to tensions between Dutch speaking and French speaking communities during the 1950s and 1960s. The tension between the two communities was more acute in Brussels. Brussels presented a special problem: the Dutch speaking people constituted a majority in the country, but a minority in the capital. Q4) How was the difference between different ethnic groups of people in Belgium sorted out? OR Explain the elements of Belgium model of constitution which sorted out the differences between different ethnic groups. A4) The Belgian leaders recognised the existence of regional differences and cultural diversities. Between 1970 and 1993, they amended their constitution four times so as to work out an arrangement that would enable everyone to live together within the same country. The arrangement they worked out is different from any other country and is very innovative. Some of the elements of the Belgian model are – I) Constitution prescribes that the number of Dutch and French speaking ministers shall be equal in the central government. Some specials laws require the support of majority of members from each linguistic group. Thus, no single community can make decisions unilaterally. II) 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. III) 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. IV) Apart from the central and the state government, there is a third kind of government. This ‘community government’ is elected by people belonging to one language community – Dutch, French and German speaking – no matter where they live. This government has the power regarding cultural, educational and language related issues. Q5) What were the positive effects of power sharing arrangements in Belgium?
  2. 2. A5) I) The power sharing arrangements in Belgium helped to avoid civic strife between the two major communities- The French speaking and the Dutch speaking. II) And a possible division of the country division on linguistic lines was avoided. III) When many countries of Europe came together to form the European Union, Brussels was chosen as its headquarters. Q6) What is community government? Explain. A6) Apart from the central and the state government, there is a third kind of government. This ‘community government’ is elected by people belonging to one language community – Dutch, French and German speaking – no matter where they live. This government has the power regarding cultural, educational and language related issues. Community Government is the best example of power sharing between different social groups. Q7) a) What is majoritarianism? b) Explain the majoritarian policy followed by the Sinhalese or Sri Lankan government? A7) a) 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. b) I) In 1956, an Act was passed to recognise Sinhala as the only official language, thus disregarding Tamil. II) The governments followed preferential policies that favoured Sinhala applicants for university positions and government jobs. III) A new constitution stipulated that the state shall protect and foster Buddhism Q8) Explain the population composition of Sri Lanka. A8) Sri Lanka is an Island nation, just a few km off the southern coast of Tamil Nadu. I) Sri Lanka has about two crore people, about the same in Haryana. Like other nations in the South Asia region, Sri Lanka has a diverse population. The major social groups are the Sinhala-speakers (74%) and the Tamil speakers (18%). II) Among Tamils there are two sub groups. Tamil natives of the country are called “Sri Lankan Tamils (13%)”. 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. III) Most of the Sinhala speaking people are Buddhist, while most of the Tamils are Hindus or Muslims. These are about 7% Christians, who are both Tamil and Sinhala. Q9) a) What was the reaction of the minority Tamil population to the majoritarian measures adopted by the Sinhalese government? b) What was the outcome? A9) a) I) The Tamil Sri Lankans felt alienated due to the majoritarian policy followed by Sri Lankan government. They felt that none of the major political parties led by the Buddhist Sinhala leaders were 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. II) As a result, the relations between the Sinhala and Tamil communities strained over time. The Sri Lankan Tamils launched parties and struggles for the recognition of Tamil as an official language, for regional autonomy (independence) and equality of opportunity in securing education and jobs. But their demand for more autonomy, to provinces populated by the Tamils, was repeatedly denied.
  3. 3. III) By 1980s several political organisations were formed demanding an independent Tamil Eelam (state) in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. b) The distrust between the two communities turned into widespread conflict. It soon turned into a civil war in which thousands of people of both communities were killed. Many families were forced to leave the country as refugees and many more lost their livelihoods. Sri Lanka’s excellent record of economic development, education and health suffered serious setback. The civil war has caused a terrible setback to the social, cultural and economic life of the country. Q10) What do we learn from these two stories of Belgium and Sri Lanka? A10) Both are democracies. Yet, they dealt with the question of power sharing differently. I) In Belgium, the leaders have realised that the unity of the country is possible only by respecting the feelings and interests of different communities and regions. This realisation resulted in mutually acceptable arrangements for sharing power. II) Sri Lanka shows us a contrasting example. It shows us that if majority community wants to force its dominance over others and refuses to share power, it can undermine the unity of their country. The country is still under civil war. Thousands of people of both the communities lost their lives. Many Tamils had to come to our country as refugees. The economic development received a great set back. Q11) Explain the meaning of the terms – Prudential and Moral. A11) Decisions based on prudence or on careful calculation of gains and losses are called prudential decisions. Prudential decisions are usually contrasted with decisions based purely on moral considerations. Prudential reasons stress that power sharing will bring out better outcomes. Moral decisions are those decisions which are taken only on moral consideration. Here careful calculation of gains and losses are not done. Moral reasons emphasise the very act of power sharing as valuable. Q12) List the prudential reasons for power sharing? A12) Prudential reasons for power sharing are as follows:- I) Power sharing is good because it helps to reduce the possibility of conflict between social groups. II) Since social conflict often leads to violence and political instability, power sharing is a good way to ensure the stability of political order. III) Imposing the will of 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. IV) Tyranny of the majority is not just oppressive for the minority; it often brings ruin to the majority as well. Q13) List the moral reasons for power sharing? A13) I) Power Sharing is the very spirit of democracy. II) A democratic rule involves sharing power with those affected by its exercise, and who have to live with its effects. III) People have a right to be consulted how they have to be governed. IV) A legitimate government is one where citizens, through participation, acquire a stake in the systems. Q14) Why did all the powers reside in the hands of 1 person in the past? (Both points) OR Give one argument against power sharing? (Only 2nd point) A14) I) For a long time it was believed that all power of a government must reside in one person or group of persons at one place. II) It was felt that if the power to decide was dispersed, it would not be possible to take quick decisions and to enforce them. But these notions have changed with the emergence of democracy.
  4. 4. Q15) Why in a democracy political power should be distributed among as many citizens as possible? A15) In a democracy, people rule themselves through institutions of self governance. In a good democratic government, due respect is given to diverse groups and views that exist in a society. Everyone has a voice in the shaping of public policies. Therefore, it follows that in a democracy political power should be distributed among as many citizens as possible. Q16) How is power shared between different organs of government OR Explain the horizontal division or distribution of power. A16) Power is shared among different organs of government, such as the legislature, executive and judiciary. It is called horizontal division of power because it allows different organs of government placed at the same level to exercise different powers. Such as separation ensures that none of the organs can exercise unlimited powers. This results in a balance of power among various institutions. 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 legislatures. This arrangement is called a system of checks and balances. Q17) How is power shared between governments at different levels? OR Explain the vertical division of power? A17) Power can be shared among governments at different levels – a general government for the entire country and governments at the provincial or regional level. Such a general government for the entire country is called federal government. In India, we refer to it as the central or union government. The government at the provincial or regional level are called by different names in different countries. In India, we call them State Governments. This system is not followed in all countries. There are many countries where there are no provincial or state governments. But in those countries, like ours, where there are different levels of government, the constitution clearly lays down the powers of different levels of government. This is what they did in Belgium, but was refused in Sri Lanka. This is called the federal division of power. The same principle can be extended to levels of governments lower than state governments such as the municipality and panchayat. This system of division of powers involving higher and lower levels of government is called as vertical division of power. Q18) How is power shared between different social groups?Explain the need for it. A18) Power may be shared among various social groups such as the religious and linguistic groups. “Community government” in Belgium is a good example of this arrangement. In some countries there are constitutional and legal arrangements whereby socially weaker sections and women are represented in the legislatures and administration. The system of “reserved constituencies” in parliament and assemblies of our country is meant to give space in the government and administration to diverse social groups who otherwise would feel alienated from the government. This method is used to give minority communities a fair share in power. Q19) Explain power sharing arrangements between political parties, pressure groups and movements. A19) Power sharing arrangements can also be seen in the way political parties, pressure groups and movements control or influence those in power. In a democracy, the citizens must have freedom to choose among various contenders for power. In contemporary democracies this takes the form of competition among different parties. Such competition ensures that power doesn’t remain in one hand. In the long run, power is shared among different political parties that represent different ideologies and social groups. Sometimes this kind of sharing can be direct, when two or more parties form an alliance to contest elections. If their alliance is elected, they form a coalition government and thus share power. In a democracy, we find interest groups such as those of traders, businessmen, industrialists, farmers and industrial workers. They also will have a share in governmental power, either through participation in governmental committees or bringing influence on the decision making process. Q20) List out different forms of power sharing.(Explain the 4 pts in short) A20) I) Power is shared among different organs of government, such as the legislature, executive and judiciary. It is called horizontal division of power because it allows different organs of government placed at the same level to exercise different powers. Such as separation ensures that none of the organs can exercise unlimited powers. This results ina balance of power among various institutions. Even though ministers and government officials exercise power, they
  5. 5. 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 legislatures. This arrangement is called a system of checks and balances. II) Power can be shared among governments at different levels – a general government for the entire country and governments at the provincial or regional level. Such a general government for the entire country is called federal government. In India, we refer to it as the central or union government. The government at the provincial or regional level are called by different names in different countries. In India, we call them State Governments. This system is not followed in all countries. There are many countries where there are no provincial or state governments. But in those countries, like ours, where there are different levels of government, the constitution clearly lays down the powers of different levels of government. This is what they did in Belgium, but was refused in Sri Lanka. This is called the federal division of power. The same principle can be extended to levels of governments lower than state governments such as the municipality and panchayat. This system of division of powers involving higher and lower levels of government is called as vertical division of power. III) Power may be shared among various social groups such as the religious and linguistic groups. “Community government” in Belgium is a good example of this arrangement. In some countries there are constitutional and legal arrangements whereby socially weaker sections and women are represented in the legislatures and administration. The system of “reserved constituencies” in parliament and assemblies of our country is meant to give space in the government and administration to diverse social groups who otherwise would feel alienated from the government. This method is used to give minority communities a fair share in power. IV) Power sharing arrangements can also be seen in the way political parties, pressure groups and movements control or influence those in power. In a democracy, the citizens must have freedom to choose among various contenders for power. In contemporary democracies this takes the form of competition among different parties. Such competition ensures that power doesn’t remain in one hand. In the long run, power is shared among different political parties that represent different ideologies and social groups. Sometimes this kind of sharing can be direct, when two or more parties form an alliance to contest elections. If their alliance is elected, they form a coalition government and thus share power. In a democracy, we find interest groups such as those of traders, businessmen, industrialists, farmers and industrial workers. They also will have a share in governmental power, either through participation in governmental committees or bringing influence on the decision making process. Q21) In a democracy, political power should be distributed among as many citizens as possible.Why? One basic principle of democracy is that people are the source of all political power. In a democracy people rule themselves through institutions of self governance. In a good democratic govt, due respect is given to diverse groups and views that exist in a society. Everyone has a voice in shaping of public policies. Therefore, it follows that in a democracy, political power should be distributed among as many citizens as possible. Back Exercises A3) Both Thomman and Mathayi are wrong in drawing their conclusions. Only Ouseph has drawn the right conclusion. Power sharing is desirable in every set up. It is said that power corrupts absolutely. It is very important to have system of checks and balances. It ensures that no person or group of persons can use its powers authorities indiscriminately, it is always desirable to involve different groups in any decision making process that affects them all. A4) Power sharing arrangements are based on the promise that the will of the majority is not imposed on unwilling minority. If a government order of this type is imposed, it will cause resentment and heart burn. There is nothing bad in inducing French-speaking children to learn Dutch. But for this purpose incentives and inducements can be given rather than coercion. Random points to be kept in mind Point 1 If we opt that the democracy to go by the principle of majority – the political party that gets the majority support of the people assumes power. This system would work well if following conditions prevail – I) Different communities keep good bonds with each other due to some national and cultural link. II) The proportion of population of different communities in the total population is nearly the same.
  6. 6. Point 2 There are constitutional checks on the exercise of power by the government so that it isn’t permitted to discriminate against or for any particular community. The prevailing situation in Lebanon doesn’t confirm to these requirements. So this is not the right solution. If this solution is adopted then, I) Muslims will dominate political space since they enjoy a clear majority. II) The majority may suppress the rights of the minority in the absence of any constitutional safeguards. III) The courts will have a long record on civil conflict. These were the old rules. The prevalent rules which provide for power sharing have served the country well. This power sharing arrangement should continue and further be strengthened.

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