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Power Sharing QA Test (1)

Subjective Test
Question 1 ( 3.0 marks)

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What necessitated the formulation of a power-sharing arrangement in Belgium? Question 2 ( 3.0 marks) Explain the power-sharing arrangement in Belgium. Question 3 ( 3.0 marks) Describe the ethnic composition of Sri Lanka. Question 4 ( 3.0 marks) What are the reasons for the social tensions in Sri Lanka? Question 5 ( 3.0 marks) What do you understand by the System of Checks and Balances? Question 6 ( 3.0 marks) Why is power-sharing required in a country with diverse ethnic groups? Question 7 ( 3.0 marks) Explain the role of pressure groups in influencing government policies. Question 8 ( 4.0 marks) Compare and contrast the approach of Belgium and Sri Lanka with respect to power-sharing arrangement. Question 9 ( 4.0 marks) Describe the various types of power-sharing arrangements and explain their working. Question 10 ( 4.0 marks) On the given map of Belgium, indicate the Flemish and Wallonia regions. Also state the main languages spoken in these regions.

Question 1 ( 3.0 marks) What necessitated the formulation of a power-sharing arrangement in Belgium? Solution:

Belgium is a country in Europe with its capital at Brussels. It has three ethnic communities: the French, living in Wallonia region; the Dutch, residing in Flemish region and the Germans, living in the eastern part of the country. The need for power sharing arose in Belgium because of contrasting distribution of population in the capital and the rest of the country. In the capital city of Brussels, French-speaking people are in majority (80% of the population), while in the rest of the country, the Dutch are in majority, constituting about 60% of the population. Also, the minority French population was much richer and educated than the majority Dutch because of which the Dutch people got the benefit of development much later. This created tensions in the country. Hence, in the 1970s, a power-sharing arrangement was chalked out in Belgium so as to accommodate the interests of both the ethnic groups. Question 2 ( 3.0 marks) Explain the power-sharing arrangement in Belgium. Solution: The power-sharing arrangement formulated in Belgium is quite complex and innovative. The Belgian leaders recognized the regional differences in the country and tried to give each community its fair share in the countrys governance. The salient features of the powersharing arrangement in Belgium are as follows: (i) The number of Dutch and French-speaking ministers in the central government is equal. (ii) The majority of members from each linguistic group is required with respect to certain special laws that affect a particular community. (iii) Flemish and Wallonia regions have been given many powers of the central government and they are not subordinate to the central government. (iv) There is a separate government for Brussels in which both the communities have an equal representation. Also, there is a community government which is elected by the people. This government has the power with respect to cultural, educational and linguistic issues. Question 3 ( 3.0 marks) Describe the ethnic composition of Sri Lanka. Solution: The island nation of Sri Lanka is a small country surrounded by water from all sides. The ethnic composition of Sri Lanka is very peculiar. The major community in Sri Lanka is Sinhala-speaking, which comprises 74% of the total Sri Lankan population. The other main social group is Tamil-speaking, which comprises 18% of the Sri Lankan population. Apart from these two, Christians and Muslims are also a part of the population. The Sinhalese are Buddhists, whereas Tamils are Hindus or Muslims. The Tamils are concentrated in the northern and eastern part of Sri Lanka. The ethnic composition of Sri Lanka is one in which one ethnic group can easily overpower the others. Question 4 ( 3.0 marks) What are the reasons for the social tensions in Sri Lanka? Solution: The social tensions in Sri Lanka emanate from the domination of one ethnic group over the others. After Sri Lankas independence in 1948, the Sinhala community, taking advantage of

their majority status, established control over the government, thereby sidelining the Tamils and other communities. Ignoring Tamil, Sinhala was made the official language of Sri Lanka. Sinhala-speaking people were given preference for government jobs and university admissions. Buddhism i.e., the religion of the Sinhalese was made the state religion. All this and more, alienated the native Tamil population of Sri Lanka. They started feeling oppressed and exploited in their own country. They were denied their basic political and social rights and were discriminated against. This jeopardized their interests and made them resentful towards the Sinhalese. Gradually, this resentment took an organized form and Tamils launched a full-fledged movement for the protection of their rights, which was strongly opposed by the government thus culminating in widespread chaos in Sri Lanka. Question 5 ( 3.0 marks) What do you understand by the System of Checks and Balances? Solution: The system of checks and balances is an off-shoot of a power-sharing arrangement. The power is so divided among each organ of government that each works independent of the other and still exercises certain amount of control over the other. Thus, a balance of power is maintained wherein each organs power is limited by the checks imposed by the other organ. In India, the system of checks and balances can be seen in the working of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Here, the executive is answerable to the legislature, the legislature is subject to scrutiny by the judiciary and the judiciary is appointed by the executive. Thus, each organ of the government keeps an eye over the other, thus forming a system of checks and balances. Question 6 ( 3.0 marks) Why is power-sharing required in a country with diverse ethnic groups? Solution: Power sharing is the best method of accommodating the interests of each social group in a country where diverse communities reside. It helps in reducing conflicts and social tensions between social groups by giving each its fair share. This in turn, prevents violence and political instability in the country, thereby strengthening the unity of the country. A country that has adopted a democratic setup must have a power-sharing arrangement because democracy is all about people. A democratic government has to keep into mind the interests of all the people, which can only be done when each community has a say in the government of the country. Hence, power-sharing is an indispensible part of a modern nation. Question 7 ( 3.0 marks) Explain the role of pressure groups in influencing government policies. Solution: Pressure groups are groups of people having common interests or values, professions or political philosophy. On the basis of these, they try to promote their interests by influencing the government. Several pressure groups exist in a country, such as those of traders, farmers, workers etc. Pressure groups play an important role in a democracy. They represent a large section of population having common interests. Thus, it becomes imperative for the government to give heed to their demands and appease their interests in order to ensure the proper functioning of the country. However, sometimes, these pressure groups press upon their demands using undue methods such as staging protests, dharnas and strikes, which pose problems for the government.

Question 8 ( 4.0 marks) Compare and contrast the approach of Belgium and Sri Lanka with respect to power-sharing arrangement. Solution: Belgium and Sri Lanka are democratic countries having diverse social setups. Yet, both took completely different approaches when it came to sharing of power. Belgium accommodated the interests of its two main ethnic groups i.e., Dutch and French by formulating a power-sharing arrangement that gave both an equal opportunity in the working of the government. The Belgians realized that the only way of securing the countrys political stability and unity was by giving both the communities an equal representation in the government. In this manner, feelings of resentment towards the other community were not allowed to flourish in Belgium. The power-sharing arrangement in Belgium, although complex, has been running smoothly over the years. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, took a different stand with respect to power sharing. The government in Sri Lanka was completely dominated by the majority Sinhala-speaking population, thereby ignoring the Tamil people. Power was concentrated in the hands of only one community, thereby undermining the interests of the others. This approach proved catastrophic for the unity of Sri Lanka. Over the years, Sri Lanka has been riddled with civil wars and political instability. Refusal to share power has resulted in the weakening of the country. Question 9 ( 4.0 marks) Describe the various types of power-sharing arrangements and explain their working. Solution: Power can be shared in different ways among different social groups and government organs. The various forms of power-sharing arrangements are as follows: (i) Horizontal sharing: This type of power-sharing envisages distribution of powers among various organs of government such as the legislature, executive and judiciary. Specific functions are delegated to each organ and each works independently from the other. This type of arrangement ensures a balance of power in the system as each organ keeps a check on the powers of the other and restrains it from crossing its limits. (ii) Vertical sharing: Power can be shared among governments at different levels. Thus, the central government can vest powers in state governments and local bodies. This ensures effective working of the system by preventing over-burdening of the central government. (iii) Power can also be shared among different social groups. These groups can be based on religion and/or language. This is done to safeguard the interests of each social group in the country and to include them in the mainstream so that they don not feel alienated in their own country. (iv) Power sharing is also done among political parties and pressure groups. Each political party contests elections for gaining power. This ensures the rotation of power from one party to the other having, thereby ensuring a balanced working of the governmental system. Question 10 ( 4.0 marks) On the given map of Belgium, indicate the Flemish and Wallonia regions. Also state the main languages spoken in these regions.

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