OUTLINES OFINDIAN POLITICAL SYSTEM Presentation by Dr. Subhash C. Kashyap
Preamble It is necessary that we, the people of India, know about the political system under which we live and are governed. In a democracy, citizens have to be wide awake and aware of their liberties, rights and responsibilities. Ultimately, the success of our political system will depend largely on our willingness to understand the system and become active participants in the democratic process.
What is Political SystemandWhat it Does? • Identifies and establishes the organs and units of the state • Defines the roles and jurisdictions of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary • Distributes powers between the Union and the units and regulates relationships between them • Establishes accountability and relationship of the organs of the State with the people.
Political system generally denotes the structure of institutions that constitute the State and its Government. It delineates the framework and form of inter-relationships between institutions and organs of the State-the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary-and the linkage of each with the people. Political system gives shape and form to some fundamental principles round which politics and political institutions have developed or are proposed to be organized to govern the country. It also consists of the manner in which the rulers are selected or elected, governments are formed and political decisions taken. Political interactions in society and structures and procedures for decision making are all rooted in a country’s political system.
Why Do We Need Political System • Sovereignty vesting in the people at large – uncontrolled and unregulated – is like the vast energy in a wild mountainous river running down the hills in its full force and fury causing extensive damage and devastation. • Political system is like a dam that gives shape and content to the sovereign will of the people and institutionalisesit to provide security and public weal.
System As a Process • Political system is a dynamic, ever-growing process, nothing static or inert. • A living organism of functioning institutions getting new meanings and content from the manner in which and the people by whom it is worked from generation to generation. • Changes and growth come through – Constitutional Amendments and laws by Legislatures – Interpretation by Courts – Operation by Executive institutions at various levels
Forms of Government • Monarchy • Aristocracy/oligarchy • Authoritarian/Totalitarian/Dictatorial • Democracy: Worst Form except that none better “About forms of government, let fools contest whatever is best administered is the best” - Pope
Types of Democracy • Direct/Representative/Participatory • Federal/Unitary • Republican • Presidential/Parliamentary
Indian Political System • Unique – does not fit into any one model • Compromise between – – Presidential and Parliamentary – Federal and Unitary – Republican & Parliamentary • Republican, quasi-federal, representative, parliamentary. • Not built on the plinth of country’s past – continuation of the British colonial model – transfer of power not to the people.
Structure of Indian System • Very broadly the adult population, i.e., those who have attained the age of 18, constitute the electorate; they elect the members of the LokSabha and the Legislative Assemblies of their States. The State Assemblies, in turn, elect the members of the RajyaSabha. The President is elected by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of the RajyaSabha, the LokSabha and the Legislative Assemblies of the States. He is the nominal or the constitutional Continued
Continued executive, the real or the political executive being the Council of Ministers. The ministers are from Parliament and collectively responsible to the LokSabha. The judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts are to be appointed by the President but the Supreme Court has held that the decisive authority in the matter would vest in the Judicial Wing.
Merits of Indian System • Survival potential – Dynamism, resilience, conflict resolution mechanism • Ability to adjust and accommodate • Ability to face crises - both internal and external, natural and man-made – withstanding several aggressions • Preservation of freedom, rule of law, democracy, secularism and unity and integrity of the nation
Significant Achievements • Preservation of Freedom of Institutions • Independence of Judiciary • Freedom of the Press • Integration and Reorganization of States • Liberation of French & Portuguese possessions in India • Economic development, solving the food problem • Development of a meaningful foreign policy • 15 Free & Fair General Elections • Peaceful Transfers of Power • Land Reforms & abolition of Zamindari • Local Self Govt. – Nagar Palikas & Panchayats
Failures • 95 Constitutional Amendments – one every 7 months • Over 120 failures of Constitutional machinery – President’s rule • Strains in Relations between Union and States • Judiciary, Legislature and Executive – conflicts and controversies • Misuse of Emergency provisions Continued
Continued • Disconnect between the people and the politicians • Democracy & Freedom under threat • Governance Deficit – Disdain & disregard for ordinary citizens • Insecurity, illiteracy, poverty, unemployment and rising prices • Devaluation of values and de-institutionalization of institutions – – Parliament, Council of Ministers & Prime Minister – Judicial system- Delays, costs Continued
Continued • Criminalization, corruption, casteism and communalism • Erosion of representational legitimacy of representatives • Role of Money, Muscle and Mafia power – 300 crorepatis in LokSabha, many multiplied their wealth & assets in 5 yrs, 175 with criminal background.
Conclusion Nation is passing through critical times. Our political system is under severe strain. There is a crisis of confidence. Faith of the people in the quality, integrity and efficiency of governmental institutions and of public functionaries stands seriously eroded. The life of the ordinary citizen is getting more and more miserable. The case for political reforms is unassailable.