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‘The response to food scarcity during the 1958-1961 famine in China compared to India demonstrates that a democratic government is a more accountable form of government.’

Using the example of the response to food scarcity during the 1958-1961 famine in China compared to India, explain how a democratic government is more accountable in addressing the needs of the people.


Answer by Student

  • In China, under a non-democratic communist regime, the government failed to effectively address the famine, resulting in the deaths of nearly three crore people. The lack of accountability and responsiveness of the Chinese government played a significant role in exacerbating the severity of the famine. The ruling Communist Party held absolute power and made decisions without consultation or input from the citizens. The absence of multiparty elections , opposition parties , and a free press limited public scrutiny and criticism of government policies.


  • In contrast, India, despite its economic challenges at the time, did not experience a famine of the magnitude that occurred in China. Economists argue that this difference can be attributed to the democratic nature of the Indian government, which was more responsive to food scarcity and the needs of the people. The existence of multiparty elections , opposition parties , and a free press allowed for checks and balances on the government, promoting accountability .


  • In a democratic system like India, the ruling government is accountable to the citizens as they have the power to choose their representatives through elections . This accountability creates a system where the government is more likely to respond to the needs of the people. The presence of opposition parties and a free press further ensures that the government’s actions and policies are subject to scrutiny and criticism, reducing the likelihood of unchecked power and enabling corrective measures when necessary.


  • By contrast, in a non-democratic government, the rulers are not obligated to act according to the wishes of the people, as they lack the mechanisms of accountability present in a democratic system. This lack of accountability can lead to policies and decisions that do not adequately address the needs of the citizens and can result in dire consequences, as seen in the Chinese famine.


  • Therefore, the example of the response to the 1958-1961 famine demonstrates that a democratic government, with its accountability mechanisms and responsiveness to public needs, is a more effective and accountable form of governance compared to non-democratic systems.

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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 13 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.