NCERT Class 10 Civics Chapter 1 - Power-Sharing

Chapter 1 Power-Sharing

Question and Answer
Question 1: Describe the ethnic composition of Belgium.
Answer:

• The ethnic composition of Belgium is very complex.
• Of the country’s total population, 59% lives in the Flemish region and speak Dutch language.
• Another 40% people live in the Wallonia region and speak French.
• Remaining 1% of the Belgians speak German.
• In capital city of Belgium, Brussels, 80% people speak French and 20% are Dutch speaking.

Question 2: What led to tension between the Dutch and the French in Belgium during 1950’s and 1960’s?
Answer:

• The minority French speaking communities 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 tension between the Dutch speaking and French speaking communities during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Question 3: Describe the ethnic composition of Sri Lanka.
Answer:
Sri Lanka has a diverse population.
The major social groups are the Sinhala speakers (74%) and the Tamil speakers (18%).  Among Tamils, there are two sub groups – Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils.
Most of the Sinhala speaking people are Buddhists, while most of the Tamils are Hindus or Muslims.  There are about 7% Christians, who are both Tamils and Sinhala.

Question 4: What were the Majoritarian measures adopted by the Sri Lankan Government?
Answer:
The democratically elected government in Sri Lanka adopted a series of Majoritarian measures to establish Sinhala supremacy.
In 1956, an Act was passed to recognize Sinhala as the only official language, thus disregarding Tamil.
The government 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.

Question 5: What led to civil war in Sri Lanka?
Answer:

• All the majoritarian measures taken by government, gradually increased the feeling of alienation among the Sri Lankan Tamils.
• Government policies denied them equal right opportunities and ignored their interests.
• The Sri Lankan Tamils launched parties and struggles for the recognition of Tamil as official for regional autonomy and equality of opportunity securing education and jobs.
• But their demand for more autonomy to Provinces populated by the Tamils was repeatedly denied.
• The distrust between the two communities turned into a widespread conflict. It soon turned into a Civil War.

Question 6: How did the Belgium government avoid the civil strife between the major communities?
Answer:

• The Belgium government recognized the existence of regional differences and cultural diversities. They amended their constitution four times in such a way that would enable everyone to live together within the same country.
• 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 majority of numbers from each linguistic group.
• The state governments are not subordinate to the Central government.
• Brussels has a separate government in which both communities have equal representation.
• Apart from the Central and State government there is a community which is elected by the people belonging to one language community.
• This government has the power regarding cultural, educational and language related issues.

Question 7: Why is power sharing desirable? / State the prudential and moral reasons of power sharing.
Answer:

1. Prudential reasons:
• Power sharing is good because it helps to reduce the possibility of conflict between social groups and ensures political stability.
• Imposing the will of majority community over the minorities may look like an attractive option in the short run, but in the long run it undermines the unity of the nation and it often brings ruin to the majority community as well.

2. Moral reasons:
• 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.

Question 8: “In modern democracies, power sharing arrangements can take many forms.” Explain.
Answer:

1. Horizontal distribution of power:
• Power is shared among different organs of government such as the legislature, executive and judiciary.
• Different organs of government are placed at the same level but exercise different powers.
• Each organ checks the others.  This results in a balance of power among various institutions.
• For Example: Executive is responsible to the legislature.  Though the judges are appointed by the executive, they can check the functioning of the legislature and the executive.

2. Vertical distribution of power:
• Power is shared among governments at different levels – a general government for the entire country which is called Central or the Union government and governments at the provincial or regional level which are called as State governments/ Provincial governments. The same principle can be extended to levels of government lower than the State government, such as the municipality and panchayat called as local self-governing bodies.
• The constitution clearly laws down the powers of different levels of government.

3. Among different social groups:
• Power is shared among different social groups such as religious and linguistic groups.
• In India, there are constitutional and legal arrangements whereby socially weaker sections and women are given reservations in the legislatures and administration.
• This arrangement has been made to give space and a fair share in power to diverse social groups.

4. Among political parties, pressure groups and movements:
→ Political parties:
• Sometimes two or more parties form an alliance to contest elections.
• If their alliance is elected, they form a coalition government and thus share power.

→ Pressure groups and movements:
• Interest groups or pressure groups such as those of traders, businessmen, farmers, industrial workers etc. also will have a share in government power, either through participation in governmental committees or bringing influence on the decision making process.

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