Enhancing representation, for a just electoral system – Strengthening India’s Democracy: A Path to Enhanced Representation and Accountability | 14 November 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about increasing and strengthening representation (Number of MPs) in the Indian Parliamentary system. 


  • GS2: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these


  • India's vast population and diverse landscape present unique challenges for effective representation in its democratic system.
  • With an average of 2.5 million citizens represented by a single Member of Parliament (MP), India's representation ratio falls far short of that of other democracies like the United States (700,000 citizens per MP).
  • This limited representation poses a significant hurdle in ensuring that the voices and concerns of all citizens are adequately heard and addressed.


  • Role of Delimitation and Federalism in Enhancing Representation:
    • Delimitation, the process of redrawing electoral boundaries to reflect population changes, holds promise in improving representation. However, historical delimitation practices have favored larger, Hindi-speaking northern States, potentially undermining the representation of smaller, southern States. To mitigate these biases, a revised delimitation approach should consider factors beyond population, such as geographical determinism, economic productivity, linguistic history, and fairness.
    • Promoting federalism, empowering States, and giving them a stronger voice in the national discourse can further enhance representation. The Rajya Sabha, currently elected by State legislatures, could be reformed to give each State an equal number of seats. Direct elections for Rajya Sabha MPs, with a domicile requirement, could enhance local representation and accountability.
  • Exploring Proportional Representation and State Reorganization:
    • Proportional representation systems, such as Australia's alternative preference ballot or France's double ballot system, could be considered for Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections. These systems ensure that legislators represent a majority of constituents, providing more accurate representation of voter preferences.
    • Creating more States could also improve representation. With 22 Indian States having populations larger than California, the largest U.S. State, India's vast size hinders effective governance. A New State Reorganization Commission could evaluate the socio-economic and administrative viability of dividing larger States like Uttar Pradesh into smaller, more manageable units.
  • Strengthening Local Democratic Representation:
    • India's 8,000-plus urban settlements deserve stronger representation. Direct elections for mayors of Census towns, with fixed tenures, could enhance democratic representation and improve urban governance.
    • Empowering mayors with decision-making authority over critical functions, as outlined in the 74th Amendment Act, would further strengthen local representation.

Way Forward:

  • Strengthening India's democracy requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the challenges of limited representation, promotes federalism, explores proportional representation systems, considers State reorganization, and enhances local democratic representation. By implementing these measures, India can ensure that its vast and diverse population is truly represented in its democratic system.

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