Interest Groups, also called special interest group, advocacy group, or pressure group, any association of individuals or organizations, usually formally organized, that, on the basis of one or more shared concerns, attempts to influence public policy in its favor. All interest groups share a desire to affect government policy to benefit themselves or their causes. Their goal could be a policy that exclusively benefits group members or one segment of society (e.g., government subsidies for farmers) or a policy that advances a broader public purpose (e.g., improving air quality). They attempt to achieve their goals by lobbying that is, by attempting to bring pressure to bear on policy makers to gain policy outcomes in their favor.
Furthermore, interest groups exist at all levels of government—national, state, provincial, and local—and increasingly they have occupied an important role in international affairs. The common goals and sources of interest groups obscure, however, the fact that they vary widely in their form and lobbying strategies both within and across political systems. This article provides a broad overview that explains these differences and the role that interest groups play in society.
There Contribution in different fields in India
- Business Groups – Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) etc
- Trade Unions – Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)
- Educational Field :- PRATHAM
- Professional Groups – Indian Medical Association (IMA), Bar Council of India (BCI), All India Federation of University and College Teachers (AIFUCT)
- Agrarian Groups- All India Kisan Sabha, Bharatiya Kisan Union, etc
- Tribal Groups – National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Tribal National Volunteers (TNU) in Tripura, League of Assam, etc.
- Ideology based Groups – Narmada Bachao Andolan, Chipko Movement, Women’s Rights Organisation, India Against Corruption etc.
Interest Groups may achieve their targets through various means- legal or illegal, peaceful or violent, honest or corrupt etc. That’s why there are some issues with these groups which create problems in the society like narrow views regarding government programme and policies, lead the public against the government, riots, act as barriers in development work etc.
Even the politicians and bureaucrats are themselves forming interest groups and try to maximize their own interests. These negative aspects should be checked by the state which has to play the role of referee and comes out with policies which benefit every group of the society.