In India's representative democracy, people select their representatives once in fi ve years to make laws and policies on their behalf. Limiting the participation of people to voting once in fi ve years makes the elected representatives unresponsive to the people who have elected them. Initiatives and referendums provide a political mechanism to ensure that citizens' voices can provide a counterbalance to a legislature unresponsive to peoples' interests. They are instruments of direct democracy in which people vote directly on issues of policy and lawmaking. These instruments, however, are not meant to replace representative democracy, but to complement it and to help maintain its responsiveness to the people.