(Last Updated on : 04/05/2013)
India has adopted parliamentary system of government which is based on universal adult franchise. The Government of India is of a democratic form which means it is a government `by the people, for the people and of the people`. In this parliamentary system of government, parliament is supreme and there is fusion of Executive and Legislative powers. The President is the constitutional head of the Executive. All the executive powers are exercised by the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as head. After independence, the whole political scenario changed with the Congress in Power. The Constitution of India being the supreme law of the land came into force on 26 January 1950. The preamble of the Constitution defines India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic. The parliamentary system of India is a replica of the Westminster-style. The first general election was held under the Constitution during 1951-52.
Parliament occupies a prominent position in the structure of the Government of India. It is the representative institution of the people. It is through the Parliament, the sovereign will of the people finds expression. Article 79 of the Constitution of India states that there shall be a Parliament for the union and the government will be responsible to legislature and the legislature is in turn responsible to the people who are the ultimate sovereign. The composition of the parliament consists of the president and the two Houses- the Lok Sabha or the House of the Parliament and the Rajya Sabha or the council of States. The continuation of a President or the Head of the State in the Parliamentary form of government symbolises its true character. The President though does not participate in the discussions of the two Houses, yet he exercises several powers and performs important functions. The president of India is elected by an Electoral College consisting of the elected members of the two Houses of the parliament and the Legislative Assemblies of the state.
The Rajya Sabha which is another essential part of the parliament consists of not more than 250 members. Of these, 233 members represent states and union territories and 12 members are nominated by the President. Members to the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of Legislative Assemblies of the concerned states. The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution in contrast to the Lok Sabha and one third of its members retire every second year. However, in the Indian Polity, the Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of the people chosen by direct election on the basis of universal adult franchise. As present, the Lok Sabha consists of 545 members with two members nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian Community. The term of the Lok Sabha is for five years and gets dissolved under circumstance of failure of the leading party to prove clear majority or a no-confidence motion.
Article 74 (1) of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advise the President who shall, in exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice. India is a bicameral parliament consisting of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha, the House of the People. The Council of Ministers comprises Cabinet Ministers, Minister of States and Deputy Ministers. It is the Prime Minister who communicates all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to administration of affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation to the President. Each department has an officer designated as secretary to the Government of India to advise Ministers on policy matters and general administration. The Cabinet Secretariat has important coordinating role in making decision at highest level and operates under direction of Prime Minister.
Government of India has certain departments that carry on their duties under the supervision of several ministries. The Central Ministry is part of the Executive branch of Government India. Depending on the federal character of the political system of India, Indian Government Departments are divided into Central government departments and State Government department. The central ministry work independently and the State governments work under the supervision of the Central Government. There are certain departments including Departments of Agriculture, Home Affairs, Commerce and Industry, External Affairs, Corporate Affairs, Defence, Information and Broadcasting, Civil Aviation, Human Resource Development, Railways, Environment and Forests, Finance and Company Affairs, Health and Family Welfare, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Power, Labour, Tourism, Women and Child Development, Youth Affairs and Sports and several others constitute the Indian Government Departments. These departments work for public welfare.
The ministers of these government bodies are chosen through general election India at an interval of every five years. But the bureaucrats and other officials are appointed through competitive exams that are held throughout India. Examinations such as IAS, IPS, IFS, UPSC and other exams are held annually across the nation. Moreover, it is through the Government of India, the defence of the country is ensured. The Supreme Command of the Armed Forces is invested in the President and the responsibility for national defence vests in the Cabinet. The Ministry of Defence performs the work assigned. Defence Minister or the Raksha Mantri is the head of the Ministry of Defence