Indian Political System

India is a union of 28 states and 7 centrally operated territories that are governed under a Parliamentary system of government, which is prompted by the country’s Constitution.

India is a sovereign, secular, and democratic republic, with a Parliamentary system of governance. The functioning of the Indian government or its Parliamentary affairs is overseen by the Constitution of India that came into existence on 26th January 1950. This date is observed as the Republic Day of India.

The Indian political system can be widely distributed into three factions, namely:

  • Local government
  • State government
  • Central government

The local governments of a district or township are supervised by their respective collectorates or Zilla Parishads, while the villages are governed by the Gram Panchayats. These bodies fall directly under the ambit of their respective state governments. The state governments can be understood to be a microcosm of the central government, which is why learning about the political system of the central government of India is essential in order to understand the functioning of the political system of the state governments of India.

President: The President of India is considered to be the head of the nation. Though he/she holds a nominal designation, the President of India is the first citizen of the country and needs to be made aware of all the affairs of the nation. The President is the one who appoints all the ministers of the cabinet including the Prime Minister himself.

Cabinet of Ministers: There are several facets of decentralization of power in the central government of India. Various important aspects of the country such as transport, infrastructure, education, etc. are distributed into separate ministries and departments. These ministries are presided over by various ministers appointed to look after them. These ministers form the cabinet of ministers who function at the core of the government. The Prime Minister of India is the head of the cabinet of ministers.

Parliament: The Parliament of India is probably the most important establishment of the country, as this is the place where all legislations and laws regarding various states and the nation are passed. The Parliament is also a place, where the budgetary sessions such as the Union budget and Railway budget of India are presented. The Parliament of India is divided into two houses namely:

  • Rajya Sabha (The upper house): The Rajya Sabha comprises of 245 members who are the representatives of the 28 states and 7 union territories. These representatives though amount only to 233 members of the house, as the other 12 are nominated personally by the President of India from the fields of art, literature, sports, etc. The Rajya Sabha functions in tandem with the other house of the Parliament to pass the bills, except the ones concerning finance and money matters.
  • Lok Sabha (The lower house): The Lok Sabha literally means 'the house of the people'. This is the most important house of the Parliament, which is probably why it houses more members than the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha constitutes 545 members out of which 543 members are elected from various constituencies across the nation. The remaining 2 members are again appointed by the President of India to represent the Anglo-Indian community.

Supreme Court: The Supreme Court of India is regarded as the apex judicial body of the country. The Chief Justice of India holds sway over the Supreme Court of India. He/she is also flanked by 25 other judges for various case hearings from all over the nation. The Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President of India himself. The President can also exercise his powers of influencing the verdict of any case as and when required.

The above are the most important parts of the body of the central government system of India.

Likewise, the state government systems have certain establishments as their essential parts:

Governor: Simply put, a governor is exactly that to a state, what the President of India is to the nation. All the governors of the 28 states take office on behalf of the President to represent him while supervising the affairs of their respective states. Like the President, the governor also holds influential powers of appointing the cabinet of ministers of the state, including the Chief Minister of the state.

Cabinet ministers of state: Similar to the cabinet of ministers at the central government, the cabinet of ministers in a state is responsible for overseeing the various departments entrusted to them. They have to report to the Chief Minister of the state, who in turn has to report to the governor regarding all the major happenings in the state.

Legislative Assembly/Council: The constitution of India allows the states of the country to have a unicameral or bicameral legislative bodies. That is, the states those have only one legislative establishment is known as a 'unicameral' state, while those with two legislative establishments are known as 'bicameral'. The states have only one legislative body, which is known as Vidhan Sabha or the Legislative Assembly. The bicameral states have the Vidhan Parishad or the Legislative Council in addition to the Vidhan Sabha. Expectantly, the lower house, which is the Vidhan Sabha has more powers over the Vidhan Parishad.

High Court: Each state of India is equipped with the highest judicial entity regarding the legal affairs of that particular state; it is known as the High Court. The High Court is also responsible for overseeing the functioning of lower courts such as district courts and other civil courts. The Judge of the High Court is appointed by the governor of the state on behalf of the President of India. The Constitution of India also provides for the facility of approaching the Supreme Court if an individual or an individual body is unsatisfied by the verdict given out by the High Court of their state.

These establishments in every state of India make up the political system of the state. A notable thing about the respective political systems of the centre and the state is that these two have to work in close association for a decent observance of law and order in the nation. Also, as the Constitution of India dictates that the central government is always liable to hold sway over any state government at a given point of time.

Therefore, all the above establishments and their interconnectivity form the Political System of India.


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