The term ‘pressure group’ originated from in the USA. A pressure group is a group of people who are organised actively for promoting and defending their common interest. They are a vital link between the government and the governed. They keep governments more responsive to the wishes of the community, especially in between elections.
They are different from the political parties in that they neither contest elections nor try to capture political power but their activism influence the public policy (Government Decision). These groups promote a specific issue and raise it up the political agenda or may have more general political and ideological objectives in mind while campaigning. These groups make efforts to bring government into the podium of accountability.
Characteristics of Pressure Groups
1. Pressure groups may operate at local, regional, national or even international level, depending upon the cause and notice.
2. All interest groups share a desire to affect government policy to benefit themselves or their causes.
3. They are usually non-profit and volunteer organization
4. They seek to influence political or corporate decision makers to achieve a declared objective.
5. Pressure groups are collections of individuals who hold a similar set of values and beliefs on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political philosophy, or a common goal.
6. Pressure groups often represent viewpoints of people who are dissatisfied with the current conditions in society.
7. These are a natural outgrowth of the communities of interest that exist in all societies.
8. They never form government of contest election but influence the decision of Government or public policy. They seek to create change by being elected to public office, while pressure groups attempt to influence political parties. Pressure groups may be better able to focus on specialized issues, whereas political parties tend to address a wide range of issues.
9. Pressure groups are widely recognized as an important part of the democratic process.
A large number of pressure group exists in India but unfortunately they are not developed as compare to the Western Countries like England, France and USA. It can be classified into following categories.
The Business group is one of the most important, influential and organised pressure groups in India. Examples of business groups- Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and industry (FICCI), Associated Chamber of Commerce (ASSOCHAM) – major constituents are the Bengal Chamber of Commerce Calcutta and Central commercial organisation of Delhi.
Trade unions cater to the demand of workers and labours of the industries. Alternatively, they are also known as labour groups. In India, different trade unions represent different political parties. Examples- The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), All India Trade Union Congress (Communist Party of India)
These groups represent the farmer community of India and works for their well-being. Example- Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Hind Kisan Panchayat (control of socialist).
Such association, raise the concern of working professional in India ranging from lawyers and doctors, journalists and teachers. Examples include Association of Engineers, Bar Council of India (BCI), and Dental Council of India. Also read:-Anti-Defection Law.