Sectional Interest Groups And Public Interest Groups

Struggles And Movement Front of Class 10


S. No.

Sectional Interest Groups

Public Interest Groups


The Sectional Interest Groups seek to promote the interests of a particular section or group of society.

The Public Interest Groups promote the interest of the common people


Trade unions, business associations and professional (lawyers, doctors, teachers etc.) bodies, truck union, labour union etc. are some of the examples of interest groups.

BAMCEF, Human Rights Organisation etc.


They are sectional because they represent only a section of the society i.e., workers, employees, business persons, industrialists, followers of a religion, caste group etc.

They are public because they take issues relating to the society.


Their principal concern is the betterment and well being of their members, not society in general.

Their principal concern is the betterment of the whole society.


As in the case of interest groups, the groups involved with movements also include a very wide variety. The various examples mentioned above already indicate a simple distinction. Most of the movements are issue specific movements that seek to achieve a single objective within a limited time frame. Others are more general or generic movements that seek to achieve a broad goal in the very long term.

In India, Narmada Bachao Andolan is a good example of this kind of movement. The movement started with the specific issue of the people displaced by the creation of Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river. Its objective was to stop the dam from being constructed. Gradually it became a wider movement that questioned all such big dams and the model of development that required such dams.

Movements of this kind tend to have a clear leadership and some organisation. But their active life is usually short. These single-issue movements can be contrasted with movements that are long term and involve more than one issue. The environmental movement and the women’s movement are examples of such movements.

There is no single organisation that controls or guides such movements. Environmental movement is a label for a large number of organisations and issue-specific movements. All of these have separate organisation, independent leadership and often different views on policy related matters. Yet all of these share a broad objective and have a similar approach.

That is why they are called a movement. Sometimes these broad movements have a loose umbrella organisation as well. For example, the National Alliance for Peoples’ Movements (NAPM) is an organisation of organisations. Various movement groups struggling on specific issues are constituents of this loose organisation which coordinates the activities of a large number of peoples’ movements in our country.

sectional interest group


Pressure groups and movements exert influence on politics in a variety of ways:

  • They try to gain public support and sympathy for their goals and their activity by carrying out information campaigns, organizing meetings, file petitions, etc. Most of these groups try to influence the media into giving more attention to these issues.
  • They often organize protest activity like strikes or disrupting government programmes. Workers' organizations, employees' associations and most of the movement groups often resort to these tactics in order to force the government to take note of their demand.
  • Business groups often employ professional lobbyists or sponsor expensive advertisements. Some persons from pressure groups or movement groups may participate in official bodies and committees that offer advice to the government.
  • Interest groups and movements do not directly engage in party politics, they seek to exert influence on political parties. Most of the movement groups take a political stance without being a party. They have political ideology and political position on major issues. The relationship between political parties and pressure groups can take different forms, some direct and others very indirect:
  • In some instances the pressure groups are either formed or led by the leaders of political parties or act as extended arms of political parties. For example, most trade unions and students' organizations in India are either established by or affiliated to one or the other major political party. Most of the leaders of such pressure groups are usually activists and leaders of party.
  • Sometimes political parties grow out of movements. For example, when the Assam movement led by students against the 'foreigners' came to an end, it led to the formation of the Asom Gana Parishad. The roots of parties like the DMK and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu can be traced to a long drawn social reform movement during the 1930 and 1940s.
  • In most cases the relationship between parties and interest or from interest or movement groups is not so direct.
  • They often take positions that are opposed to each other. Yet they are in dialogue and negotiation.
  •  Movement groups have raised new issues that have been taken up by political parties. Most of the new leadership of political parties comes from interest or movement group.
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