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IGNOU MPS 003 Solved Assignment 2022-2023
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Submission Date :
- 31st March 2033 (if enrolled in the July 2033 Session)
- 30th Sept, 2033 (if enrolled in the January 2033 session).
This assignment consists of Sections I and II.
There are five questions in each section.
You have to answer a total of five questions in about 500 words each.
It is necessary to attempt at least two questions from each section.
Each question carries 20 marks
SECTION – A
Q.1. Critically examine the working of the federal system in India
Federal System In India – As you may have found, whenever there is a discussion on the nature, structure and processes of the political system in India, it is said that India is a federal state. There are generally two types of states in the world. The state that has only one government for the entire country, which is known as a unitary state. The United Kingdom has a unitary system. But there are states like the United States of America and Canada which have governments at two levels: one at the central level and the other at the state level. Besides having two sets of government, a federal system in India must have three other features:
(i) a written constitution,
(ii) division of powers between the central government and the state governments, and
(iii) supremacy of the judiciary to interpret the constitution.
India also has a federal system having all these features, but with a difference. Let us examine the nature of the Indian federation.
Characteristics of the Indian Federal System
1. Two-tier Government:
You must have heard that there are two sets of government created by the Indian Constitution: one for the entire nation called the union government (central government) and another for each unit of State, called the State government. Sometimes, you may also find the reference of a three-tier government in India, because besides the Union and State governments, local governments-both rural and urban- are also said to constitute another tier. But constitutionally India has a two-tier government. The Constitution does not allocate a separate set of powers to the local governments as these continue to be under their respective State governments.
2. Division of Powers:
Like other federations, both the Union and the State governments have constitutional status and clearly identified area of activity. The Constitution clearly divides the powers between the two sets of governments, so that the Centre and the States exercise their powers within their respective spheres of activity. None violates its limits and tries to encroach upon the functions of the other. The division has been specified in the Constitution through three Lists: the Union List, the State List and the Concurrent List. The Union List consists of 97 subjects of national importance such as Defence, Railways, Post and Telegraph, etc. The State List consists of 66 subjects of local interest such as Public Health, Police, Local Self Government, etc. The Concurrent List has 47 subjects such as Education, Electricity, Trade Union, Economic and Social Planning, etc. On this List, both the Union government and State governments have concurrent jurisdiction. However, the Constitution assigns those powers on the subjects that are not enumerated under Union List, State List and Concurrent List to the Union government. Such powers are known as Residuary Powers. If there is any dispute about the division of powers, it can be resolved by the Judiciary on the basis of the constitutional provisions.
3. Written Constitution:
As we have earlier seen, India has a written Constitution which is supreme. It is also the source of power for both the sets of governments, the Union and the State. These governments are independent in their spheres of governance. Another feature of a federation is the rigid constitution. Although the Indian Constitution is not as rigid as the US Constitution, it is not a flexible constitution. As mentioned earlier, it has a unique blend of rigidity and flexibility.
4. Independence of Judiciary:
Another very important feature of a federation is an independent judiciary to interpret the Constitution and to maintain its sanctity. The Supreme Court of India has the original jurisdiction to settle disputes between the Union and the States. It can declare a law as unconstitutional if it contravenes any provision of the Constitution. The judiciary also has the powers to resolve disputes between the Union government and the State governments on the constitutional and legal matters related to the division of powers.
Indian Federal System with a Strong Centre
In view of the above provisions, the Indian system appears to have all the features of a federal system. But have you gone through a statement which says that “India is federal in form but unitary in spirit”? In fact, the Indian federal system has a strong Union government. This was deliberately done in the context of the prevailing situation on the eve of independence and in view of the socio-political situations. Thus, the concerns for unity and development prompted the makers of the Constitution to create a strong central government. Let us look at the important provisions that have created a strong central government:
1. The First Article of the Constitution itself hints at the Indian federal system is different. It states that India shall be “a Union of States’ ‘. Nowhere does the Constitution describe India as a federal state. The Central government has sole power in the territory of India. The very existence of a State, including its territorial integrity, is in the hands of the Parliament. The Parliament is empowered to ‘form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States. It can also alter the boundary of any State or even its name. However, the Constitution provides some safeguards. The Central government must secure the view of the concerned State legislature on such decisions.
2. Secondly, the division of powers is in favour of the Union government. The Union List contains all the key subjects. Besides, even in relation to the Concurrent List, the Constitution has assigned precedence to the Centre over States. In the situation of a conflict between laws made on any subject of the Concurrent List by a State and also by the Parliament, the law made by the Parliament would be effective. The Parliament may legislate even on a subject in the State List if the situation demands that the Central government needs to legislate. This may happen if the move is ratified by the Rajya Sabha.
3. Thirdly, the federal principle envisages a dual system of Courts. But, in India, we have unified or integrated judiciary with the Supreme Court at the apex.
4. Fourthly, the Union government becomes very powerful when any of the three kinds of emergencies are proclaimed. The emergency can turn our federal polity into a highly centralised system. The Parliament also assumes the power to make laws on subjects within the jurisdiction of the States. In yet another situation, if there are disturbances in any State or part thereof, the Union Government is empowered to depute Central Force in the State or to the disturbed part of the State.
5. As you will study in the lesson on “Governance at the State Level, the Governor of the State is appointed by the President of India, i.e. the Union government.He/She has powers to report to the President if there is a constitutional breakdown in the State and to recommend the imposition of President’s Rule. When the President’s Rule is imposed on the State, the State Council of Ministers is dismissed and the Governor rules over the State as a representative of the Central government. The State legislature also may be dissolved or kept in suspended animation. Even in normal circumstances, the Governor has the power to reserve any bill passed by the State legislature for the assent of the President. This gives the Central government an opportunity to delay the State legislation and also to examine such bills and veto them completely.
6. The Central government has very effective financial powers and responsibilities. In the first place, items generating revenue are under the control of the Centre. The States are mostly dependent on the grants and financial assistance from the Central government. Moreover, India has adopted planning as an instrument of rapid economic progress and development after independence. This also has led to considerable centralisation of decision making.
7. Finally, according to the constitutional provisions, the executive powers of the Centre are superior to those of the States. The Central government may choose to give instructions to the State government. Moreover, we have an integrated administrative system. The All-India Services are common for the entire territory of India and officers chosen for these services serve in the administration of the States. Thus, an IAS officer who becomes the collector or an IPS officer who serves as the Commissioner of Police is under the control of the Central government. States cannot take disciplinary action nor can they remove these officers from service. From the above discussion, it is clear that there is a tilt in favour of the Centre at the cost of the States. The States have to work in close cooperation with the Centre. This has lent support to the contention that the Indian Constitution is federal in form but unitary in spirit. Constitutional experts have called it a ‘semi-federal’ or a ‘quasi-federal’ system.
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Q.2. Discuss the main challenges of ethnicity for the nation-state in India
India, like any other third world country after achieving Independence from the colonial rule, was engaged with the project of nation- building. The leadership of the country at that time believed that the only way .to achieve the overall development of
society was to have democratic political system in the country based on the principles of secularism, liberty, equity, socialism, which were guaranteed in the Constitution of the country. To achieve these principles the state introduced the Nehruvian or Mahalanobis model of development. But the project of nation-building with main purpose to achieve democracy and development had to be carried out amidst the ethnic diversities in the country. Apart from the caste, religious and tribal groups, the diversities in India hanged in term of culture, languages and regional development With different levels of development and
histories, different regions and cultural groups in the country could pose a real challenge to the nation- building. Moreover, the strategic location on the international borders of the NorthEast, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir made the task of nation-building more challenging. With the fresh memories of communal holocaust following the partition of the country, the goal of nation-building was the top priority of the country’s leadership after achieving Independence. It was believed at that time that with the establishment of the democratic political system and overall development, the ethnicity or the diversities in India will not pose any problem in nation-building. In the process of nation-building, the ethnicity will
be relegatid to the background.
Of the three conflicts mentioned, Assam has attracted the largest attention of late. Not since the 1947 partition of India have so many people been killed and uprooted as a result of ethnic or communal violence. By most available reports now, mob violence has claimed four thousand lives, rendered about 200,000 homeless, and forced a large number to leave the state for protection elsewhere. The immediate occasion of this bloodshed was the election held in February, though conflict and tension have been present for the last three years. In Assam, three culturally disparate groups have been in collision: the Assamese, the Bengalis and the tribals, which are localized communities. Historical Pattern of Migration Assam has had the highest rate of population growth in India since the beginning of this century. Migration into the state accounts for a substantial part of this growth. Most migrants came from Bengal, including what is now Bangladesh.
Bengali migrants were both Hindus and Muslims. Bengali Hindus started arriving after the British created tea plantations in the middle of the nineteenth century. Because of their educational advantage over Assamese, they were better suited to man the growing administrative and professional machinery. Bengali Muslims on the other hand, were mainly peasants. They originated predominantly in East Bengal, a highly populated area with low agricultural productivity and a fragmented landholding pattern incapable of supporting large families.
In contrast, Assam was less populated, many areas were unsettled, and there was less pressure on the land. Bengali peasants made large tracts of waste, flooded and forested land habitable and productive along the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River, an area that is also populated by indigenous tribal groups, especially the Lalung. Overall Bengali dominance began to manifested itself in various ways. They held urban professions, their language was more developed and widely used in Assam, and their educational and even numerical superiority became more than evident. With the halting spread of education in the twentieth century, the Assamese middle class slowly emerged, and with the growth of the Assamese middle class, the seeds of what has been called “little nationalism” were sown in Assam.
3. Discuss the importance of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in
4. What are the non-party institutions of participation? How do they
complement the democratic process?
5. Write short notes on the following in about 250 words each:
a) Caste in Indian Democracy
b) Identity Politics in India
SECTION – B
6. Critically analyse the role of media in shaping public policies and public opinion.
Media is considered to be the fourth Pillars of Democracy, the other three being Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. The system of checks of balances which is followed among the other well-known pillars, media also keeps a check on the functioning of the three independent organs of government to keep the system intact.
The role of media is to ensure that the people are aware of the social, economic, political developments taking place around them. In performing its role in spreading information, media also plays a pivotal function in creating public opinion. It holds significance in a democracy as a positive public opinion on any subject would mean legitimization and validation from the public. Firstly, public opinion is nothing but an amalgamation of opinions, views, beliefs, and attitudes of individuals which can be on a particular subject matter, voiced by a comparatively significant segment of the society.Human nature is such that it makes them eager to know about their surroundings, the tendency of being informed, such an atypical nature makes them prone to relying upon and getting influenced by the information that they receive without critically thinking about the authenticity of the information. It can be observed that sometimes the information providers not only tell the bare information but also state their opinion along with it. Mass Media including news channels, internet (social media), newspapers, etc. have the power of changing people’s perspectives on an issue in hand. All such instances combined help in the formation of public opinion, depending on the authenticity of the news and how the people wish to interpret it.
Public opinion matters as with the help of public opinion, several policy decisions can be taken by the government. In a democracy, government policies and programs are people-centric and to know whether the government can create the desired impact through its actions, public opinion is necessary. Mass media works as a medium between the government and the public. Its function is to provide the people with information for them to form an opinion based on the piece of information.
The media coverage that was received by Anna Hazare brought the issue of corruption into the limelight. Anna’s support to the Lokpal Bill reached masses which helped in the formation of public opinion so as to fight against corruption. Thus, creating awareness is the primary task in the hands of media to make the public capable of forming some sort of opinion because to form an opinion on a particular issue it is vital to be aware of what is going in and around the society.
Role of Media and Social Networking in the creation of Public Opinion
One needs to understand that role of mass media in shaping public opinion can be positive as well as negative. Every coin has two faces to it; sometimes the controversies created by media can help to give momentum to a cause for good whereas sometimes it can prove to be detrimental. For instance, if a local social movement gains media attention on a nation-wide level then it can create an impact on a wider scale which was not originally expected out of it.
The Agenda-setting theory of media plays the biggest role in shaping opinions. There are two aspects to this agenda-setting theory i.e. first, media doesn’t show the reality rather the reality is filtered and shaped before being telecasted. Second, it is not necessary that the media will show everything that is out there rather importance is the concentration on few subjects which in turn leads the public to think as if they are the only important issues to be dealt with.
The role of mass media including social networking sites becomes even more significant when there is no direct experience or some other knowledge on a particular issue is unavailable. In such a situation, all that the audience has got is what is being presented by the media, where there is no way to cross-check, which gives them the benefit of doubt. Even when there is an availability of other sources to verify, what makes it easier to shape public opinion according to the agenda-setting, is the growing tendency of the people to believe in each and everything which they see that is out there.
The important role played by mass media in shaping opinion can be well understood by looking at an example i.e. of China. The Chinese government has complete control over what is being shown to its populace. From television to the internet, the government decides what its citizens need to watch and what not to.
The Chinese people are not free to post according to their whims and fancies on the internet, what is worse is that it is not even considered as an infringement of their right to speech. This clearly shows how the government tries to curb the freedom of press and media from shaping any kind of public opinion which goes against the government.
Media Trials and Public Opinion
Nowadays, it is a normal saying that an accused has to face two trials- one is in the courtroom and the other one is outside court i.e. the ‘Media Trial’. Trial by media of the under-trials is no more an alien concept, it is very much prevalent in Indian society and there has been media intervention in some high profile cases which have even influenced the judgment of the court. A lot of times it has been noticed that even before the court can pass its judgment, media passes its verdict.
For instance, while deciding on matters like awarding the death penalty to a convict, strong public opinion works as an aggravating factor. What happens in real life is that, in sensitive cases like that of rape, strong public opinion is formed with the help of media attention which is completely based on the emotions and morals of the people due to which often the judiciary has to give the decision accordingly keeping in view the aggravating and mitigating factors.
Critics have also considered the Nirbhaya Verdict to be one such result of such public opinion. It is not a very healthy practice for the functioning of the judiciary. A Law Commission report even suggested to abolition death penalty except in the cases relating to terrorism as it doesn’t serve the purpose of deterrence and also because of the attached arbitrariness of ‘rarest of the rare’ case. The Janta Adalat has initiated to interfere in the court proceedings. The much-required difference between an accused and a convict has started to diminish and the age-old basic principle of innocent until proven guilty is not being respected by these public courts. Not only the press but social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Tweeter, etc. have their own share of the role that they play in passing their own verdict.
Even if an accused gets acquitted from the court but the amount of trolling that is received by the person on these networking sites is in itself enough to defame him/her and once that is done even if the person gets an order of acquittal still social bullying not only cause mental trauma but also tarnishes one’s reputation.
Social Media is also a platform to influence public opinion and this act is done by the social media influencers. A social media influencer can be anyone from a celebrity to a blogger who has the credibility to persuade people according to their recommendations. As social media is a platform where anyone and everyone can express their opinions, influencers have the power to shape opinion as well.
For instance, the recent killing of an African-American, George Floyd, by a cop in the USA has gathered the attention of many of the celebrities and this has in turn brought the issue of racism into the forefront yet again. Violent protests are being carried out against police brutalities targeted towards the blacks in the United States. Celebrities in and around America are condemning such practices of the US policy, which has not only helped in shaping public opinion but has also given momentum to the protests.
However, sometimes influencers on social media glorify an event that should actually be condemned keeping in view the principles of justice. Hyderabad’s police encounter case in which Hyderabad police killed the ‘accused’ persons of a murder-rape case in an encounter was celebrated on social media by a lot of influencers. This particular case of encounter like many others was a failure of the judicial system which should have criticized but rather such an act by the police was labeled as heroic and a lot of celebrities tweeted as they thought that ‘justice had been served’.
Principles and effectiveness of self-regulation for media
Self-regulation mechanisms are essential to uphold and maintain the quality and also the credibility of media. This is one way of making free media accountable to the public. The self-regulating mechanism might include ethics codes which will help in maintaining editorial standards, complaint commissions will assist in maintaining the quality quotient and an ombudsman to verify the redressal mechanism. Fairness and rationality will make the medium of getting the information more reliable. Freedom of media is necessary so as to curb state intervention.
There should be a clear cut division between stating facts and stating one’s own opinion if this division is not clear then it can lead to spreading propaganda which is not healthy. Ethical journalism, also with respect to the online information that is available on social media, is the need of the hour and it is being promoted to uphold genuine professionalism.[xii] Codes of Ethics might vary from different countries depending upon the traditions but few aspects which are like the basics of such codes are fidelity towards independence, accuracy, and truth.
Self-regulation policies should be such that it promotes independence of journalists, right to information of the public, better understanding to form public opinion, and developed redressal mechanism to institute trust relations between the public & media. Media must promote pluralism, be it the news channels or social networking sites, what is important, to present both the sides of the picture to assist people from a better and holistic opinion. Public opinion is the first essential of democracy, and the role played by the media informing this public opinion is immense thus the success of a democracy is very much based upon the effectiveness of such self-regulation practices of media.
7. Comment on the following in about 250 words each:
a) Sustainable Development
b) Gender and Development
8. Discuss the factors for the growth of regionalism in India.
9. Discuss the changing notions of civil society and its importance in contemporary era.
10. Write short notes on the following in about 250 words each:
a) Language and politics in India
b) Economic Consequences of Migration.
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