Measuring and evaluating democracy
Democracy has found to be a right, system, approach, mechanism and the profound channel of expression of consent and dissent. Measuring and evaluating democracy complement each other. As it was strongly expressed by Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, the Drafting Committee Chairman of the Constitution of India, ‘In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality.
In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value.’ Democracy can be measured and evaluated in terms of qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative analysis will help to understand the dynamics of social change and the quantitative analysis will help to prove the net result of the change to accentuate the democratic process.
The qualitative analysis of democracy can be measured through the political participation in terms of protest, demonstration, campaign, opinion making, freedom of expression and other constitutionally guaranteed rights. The social reflections are adding values to the social changes in terms of social upward mobility occurring within the caste system, religious, gender and cultural perspectives. Democracy has direct relationship with changing economic pattern of development through policies to minimize the inequality. The quantitative part of the democracy is to evaluate through human development index, per capita income and so on. The democracy can be measured and evaluated by the following criteria.
Sovereignty: The degree to which a polity is able to govern itself in its domestic affairs and foreign policies and free from interference of other nations.
Authority: The degree to which central governmental authority is pre-eminent throughout the territory claimed as part of the polity.
Elected government: The extent to which executive functions are carried forward by officials elected through election through secret ballot.
Universal Adult suffrage: The extent to which all the adults have been given the right to exercise vote in elections.
Turnout: The percentage of people’s participation in voting during elections.
Regular elections: The extent to which elections are held in regular interval (every 5 years) and on schedule, according to the constitution of India.
Free and Fair elections: The extent to which parties and candidates can gain access to the ballot, and have their votes counted and allocated fairly. Also, the extent to which citizens are able to register to vote without fear and favour.
Access to media and campaign: The extent to which all parties/candidates are granted equal access to the media and to campaign, proportional to their support in the electorate.
Ensuring rule of law: The extent to which the executive follows the law, as defined by the constitution and as interpreted by the judiciary.
Legislative power: The extent to which the legislature controls the executive with parliamentary systems
Role of Opposition parties: The extent to which the opposition parties function in a parliamentary democracy to control the excess of ruling party when it moves out of the constitutional framework.
Independent Judiciary: The extent to which the highest judicial bodies are independent of the executive and other outside influences.
Judicial review: The extent to which the highest judicial bodies are able to review acts of legislation and other governmental actions in the light of constitutional provisions, and the extent to which such decisions are respected by other bodies.
Party strength: The extent to which parties are institutionalized and decentralized its power, functions and inclusiveness.
Party ideology: The extent to which parties have well-defined, consistent, and coherent ideologies.
Party system: The number of parties gaining seats in the legislature.
Freedom of Press: The extent to which major media outlets are independent, free to air their diverse political expert views, and able to reach the citizen.
Civil society independence: The extent to which civil society is independent of the state and able to voice opinions critical of political leaders.
Civil liberty: The extent to which citizens enjoy all the fundamental and human rights enshrined in the constitution.
Property rights: The extent to which property rights are protected.
Religious freedom: The extent to which freedom of religion is guaranteed to maintain religious harmony and secular content of government policies and programs.
Equal access to resources: The extent to which resources are redistributed to achieve economic equilibrium through income, education, and health which would make greater impact of participating in politics.
Equal access to natural and common property: The extent to natural and common resources to ensure their livelihood, environment and social emancipation.
Gender equality: The extent to which women achieve equal representation with indiscriminate dignity in the legislature, social institutions and other high positions within government.
Political equality to achieve socio-economic status for underprivileged: The extent to which underprivileged ethnic groups defined as caste, tribe, race, religious minority, or other ascriptive characteristics are granted constitutional rights and remedies to come up to positions of power within the government, as well as the extent to which such groups actually gain representation in the legislature and other high positions within government according to their political participation and social position.
This could be witnessed in any forum whichever is meant for public cause would raise its voice for justice and equality. For an example, when a development activity or industry is established in a place where it may cause some health and environmental hazards to the public. Then they are allowed to represent, protest, argue, and have a dialogue with all the concerned officials for their betterment. Refer new paper or magazines and collect news items related to protest, dharna, rally or procession and paste it in the chart. Display the chart in your classroom.