Discuss the various functions of Pressure groups while commenting their role on healthy democratic system.
Despite the fact that the pressure groups don’t contest in elections, they play important role for healthy democratic system via their various functions. The key functions of pressure groups are representation, political participation, education and policy formulation.
Pressure groups provide an alternative to the formal representative process or the functional representation by providing mouthpiece for groups and interests that are not adequately represented through the electoral process or by political parties.
Pressure groups can be called informal face of politics. The insider as well as outside groups; the cause as well as interest groups seek to exert influence precisely by mobilizing popular support through activities such as petitions, marches, demonstrations and other forms of political protest. Such forms of political participation have been particularly attractive to young people.
Many pressure groups devote significant resources to carrying out research, maintaining websites, commenting on government policy and using high-profile academics, scientists and even celebrities to get their views across, with an emphasis to cultivate expert authority.
Though the pressure groups themselves are not policy-makers, yet this does not prevent many of them from participating in the policy-making process. Many pressure groups are vital source of information and advice to the governments and therefore are regularly consulted in the process of policy formulation.
The questions have always been raised on influence of policy groups in policy formation. For example, many a times, only a small body of insider groups are involved in the policy formulation. Similarly, many argue that the pressure groups should not influence the policy process because they are not elected and so not accountable to the public.
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