India is a Sovereign, Secular, Democratic Republic with a Parliamentary form of Government. The Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949 and came into force on 26th November 1950. The Constitution advocated the trinity of justice, liberty and equality for all the citizens. The Constitution was framed keeping in mind the socioeconomic progress of the country. India follows a parliamentary form of democracy and the government is federal in structure.
In Indian political system, the President is the constitutional head of the executive of the Union of India. The real executive power is with the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. According to the Article 74(1) of the constitution, the Council of Ministers under the leadership of the Prime Minister is responsible to aid and assist the President in exercising the Presidents function. The Council of ministers is responsible to the Lok Sabha, the House of People. In states the Governor is the representative of the President, though the real executive power is with the Chief Minister along with his Council of Ministers.
For a given state the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible for the elected legislative assembly of the state. The Constitution administrates the sharing of legislative power between Parliament and the State Legislatures. The Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution.
President of India
The President of India is the constitutional head of India and is the supreme commander of the nation’s armed forces. The President is elected by members of an Electoral College consisting of elected members of both the Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of the states, with suitable weightage given to each vote. His term of office is for five years. Among other powers, the President can proclaim an emergency in the country if he is satisfied that the security of the country or of any part of its territory is threatened by the following situations. A war or external aggression, an armed rebellion within the country and collapse of state machinery in terms of economic and political crisis. Hence when there is a failure of the constitutional machinery in a state, the President can assume all or any of the functions of the government of that state.
The Vice-President of India is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament. The method of electing the Vice President is the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. He like the President holds office for five years. The Vice-President also happens to be Ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and presides over its proceedings.
Council of Ministers
The Council Of Ministers is the supreme governing body in the country and is selected from the elected members of the Union Government. The Council of Ministers comprises of Cabinet Ministers, Minister of States and Deputy Ministers. Prime Minister heads the Council of Ministers and communicates all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to administration of affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation to the President. Generally, each department has an officer designated as secretary to the Government of India to advise the Ministers on policy matters and general administration. The Cabinet Secretariat has an important harmonizing role in decision making at the highest level and operates under the bearing of the Prime Minister.
The Parliament is the legislative arm of the Union. It consists of the President, Rajya Sabha or the Upper House and Lok Sabha or the Lower House. All bills to be made into law require the consent of both the houses of parliament. However, in case of money bills, the Lok Sabha is the supreme authority.
The Rajya Sabha consists of not more than 250 members. Of these, 233 represent states and union territories and 12 members are nominated by the President. Elections to the Rajya Sabha are indirect. Members to the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of Legislative Assemblies of the concerned states. The members of the Upper House put forth the interests of their respective state in the Parliament. The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution in contrast to the Lok Sabha and one third of its members retire every second year.
The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of the people chosen by direct election on the basis of universal adult franchise. As of today, the Lok Sabha consists of 545 members with two members nominated by the President to stand for the Anglo-Indian Community. Unless dissolved under circumstances like failure of the leading party to prove clear majority or a no-confidence motion, the term of the Lok Sabha is for five years.
The system of government in states closely resembles that of the Union. In the states as well there are two major governing bodies - the legislative assembly and the legislative council. For the Legislative assembly direct elections are held and the political party receiving the majority votes forms the Government in the state. There are 28 states and seven Union territories in the country. Union Territories are administered by the President through a Governor or administrator appointed by him. Till 1 February 1992, the Union Territory of Delhi was governed by the Central government through an Administrator appointed by the President of India. Through a Constitutional amendment in Parliament, the Union Territory of Delhi is called the National Capital Territory of Delhi from 1 February 1992 onwards. General elections to the Legislative assembly of the National Capital Territory were held in November 1993. Since then after every five years the state underwent general elections maintaining the democratic process in Delhi.
Political Parties In India
In India a recognized political party is categorized either as a National Party or a State Party. If a political party is recognized in four or more states and is either the ruling party or is in the opposition in these states, it is considered as a National Party. The Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Janata Dal, Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) are the prominent National Parties in the Country. Some of these parties have existed before the independence of the country while few of these emerged after political dynamism flourished in the country in post independent years.
Telugu Desam in Andhra Pradesh, Asom Gana Parishad in Assam, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in Bihar, Maharashtra Gomantak Party in Goa, National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir, Muslim League in Kerala, Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, Akali Dal in Punjab, All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and All-India Forward Block in West Bengal are the prominent state parties which are the major political players in their respective states. In fact in most of the states where the regional parties have come to the fore understanding the nuisance of their respective state better, there the scope of National parties emerging victorious is barely present.