Indian Government


THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

INDIA, a Union of States, is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic with a parliamentary system of government. The Republic is governed in terms of the Constitution, which was adopted by Constituent Assembly- on 26 November 1949 and came into force on 26 January 1950. The Constitution which envisages parliamentary form of government is federal in structure with unitary features. President of India is constitutional head of executive of the Union. Article 74(1) of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as head to aid and advise president who shall in exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice. Real executive power thus vests in Council of Ministers with Prime Minister as head. Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the House of the People (Lok Sabha). Similarly, in states, Governor is head of executive, but it is the Council of Ministers with Chief Minister as head in whom real executive power vests. Council of Ministers of a state is collectively responsible to Legislative Assembly. The Constitution distributes legislative power between Parliament and state legislatures and provides for vesting of residual powers in Parliament. Power to amend the Constitution also vests in Parliament. The Constitution has provision for independence of judiciary, Comptroller and Auditor-General, Public Service Commissions and Chief Election Commissioner.

THE UNION AND ITS TERRIT0RY India comprises 28 States and seven Union Territories. They are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Union Territories are : Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry.

CITIZENSHIP The Constitution of India provides for a single and uniform citizenship for whole of India. Every person who was at the commencement of the Constitution (26 January 1950) domiciled in the territory of India and: (a) who was born in the territory of India or (b) either of whose parents was born in the territory of India or (c) who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than five years immediately preceding such commencement, shall be a citizen of India. The Citizenship Act, 1955 provides for acquisition and termination of citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution.

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS The Constitution offers all citizens, individually and collectively, some basic freedoms. These are guaranteed in the Constitution in the form of six broad categories of Fundamental Rights which are justiceable. Article 12 to 35 contained in Part III of the Constitution deal with Fundamental Rights. These are :

FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES By the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution, adopted in 1976, Fundamental Duties of the citizens have also been enumerated. Article 51 'A' contained in Part IV A of the Constitution deals with Fundamental Duties. These enjoin upon a citizen among other things, to abide by the Constitution, to cherish and follow noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom, to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so and to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood amongst all people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.

DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY The Constitution lays down certain Directive Principles of State Policy which though not justiceable, are 'fundamental in governance of the country' and it is the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws. These lay down that the State shall strive

In the economic sphere,

Some of the other important directives relate to provision of

THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

THE UNION EXECUTIVE The Union executive consists of the President, the Vice-President and the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President.

PRESIDENT The President is elected by members of an electoral college consisting of elected members of both Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of the states in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. To secure uniformity among state inter se as well as parity between the states, as a whole, and the Union, suitable weightage is given to each vote. President must be a citizen of India, not less than 35 years of age and qualified for election as member of the Lok Sabha. His term of office is five years and he is eligible for re-election. His removal from office is to be in accordance with procedure prescribed in Article 61 of the Constitution. He may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Vice-President, resign his office. Executive power of the Union is vested in the President and is exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution. Supreme command of defence forces of the Union also vests in him. The President summons, prorogues, addresses, sends messages to Parliament and dissolves the Lok Sabha; promulgates Ordinances at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session; makes recommendations for introducing financial and money bills and gives assent to bills; grants pardons, reprieves, respites or remission of punishment or suspends, remits or commutes sentences in certain cases. When there is a failure of the constitutional machinery in a state, he can assume to himself all or any of the functions of the government of that state. The President can proclaim emergency in the country if he is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby security of India or any part of its territory is threatened whether by war or external aggression or armed rebellion.

VICE-PRESIDENT The Vice-President is elected by members of an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. He must be a citizen. of India, not less than 35 years of age and eligible for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha. His term of office is five years and he is eligible for re-election. His removal from office is to be in accordance with procedure prescribed in Article 67 b. The Vice-President is ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and acts as President when the latter is unable to discharge his functions due to absence, illness or any other cause or till the election of a new President (to be held within six months) when a vacancy is caused by death, resignation or removal or otherwise of President. While so acting, he ceases to perform the function of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

COUNCIL OF MINISTERS There is a Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advice the President in exercise of his functions. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President who also appoints other ministers on the advice of Prime Minister. The Council is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to communicate to the President all decisions of Council of Ministers relating to administration of affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation and information relating to them. The Council of Ministers comprises Ministers who are members of Cabinet, Ministers of State (independent charge), Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.

LEGISLATURE Legislature of the Union which is called Parliament , consists of President and two Houses, known as Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and House of the People (Lok Sabha). Each House of Parliament has to meet within six months of its previous sitting. A joint sitting of two Houses can be held in certain cases.

RAJYA SABHA The Constitution provides that the Rajya Sabha shall consist of 250 members, of which 12 members shall be nominated by the President from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service; and not more than 238 representatives of the states and of the union territories. Elections to the Rajya Sabha are indirect; members representing states are elected by elected members of legislative assemblies of the states in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and those representing union territories are chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law prescribe. The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution; one-third of its members retire on expiry of every second year. The Rajya Sabha, at present, has 245 seats. Of these, 233 members represent the states and the union territories and 12 members are nominated by the President. The names of members of Rajya Sabha and party affiliation are given in Appendices.

LOK SABHA The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage. The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is now 552 (530 members to represent States, 20 to represent Union territories and not more than two members of Anglo-Indian community to be nominated by the President, if, in his opinion, that community is not adequately represented in the House). The total elective membership of the Lok Sabha is distributed among States in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each State and population of the State is, as far as practicable, the same for all States. The Lok Sabha at present consists of 545 members. Of these, 530 members are directly elected from the States and 13 Union territories while two are nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community. Following the Constitution 84th Amendment Act, the total number of existing seats as allocated to various States in the Lok Sabha on the basis of the 1971 census shall remain unaltered till the first census to be taken after the year 2026. The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved, is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case, beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate. Twelve Lok Sabhas have been constituted so far. The term of each Lok Sabha and its Speaker(s) is given in table 3.1. The State-wise allocation of seats in the two Houses and the party position in the Lok Sabha is given in table 3.2. The names of members of the Twelfth Lok Sabha, their constituencies and party affiliations are given in Appendices.

QUALIFICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP OF PARLIAMENT In order to be chosen a member of Parliament, a person must be a citizen of India and not less than 30 years of age in the case of the Rajya Sabha and not less than 25 years of age in the case of the Lok Sabha. Additional qualifications may be prescribed by Parliament by law.

FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF PARLIAMENT As in other parliamentary democracies, Parliament of India has the cardinal functions of legislation, overseeing of administration, passing of budget, ventilation of public grievances and discussing various subjects like development plans, international relations and national policies. The distribution of powers between the Union and the States, followed in the Constitution, emphasises in many ways the general predominance of Parliament in the legislative field. Apart from a wide range of subjects, even in normal times Parliament can, under certain circumstances, assume legislative power with respect to a subject falling within the sphere exclusively reserved for the States. Parliament is also vested with powers to impeach the President and to remove the Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts, the Chief Election Commissioner and the Comptroller and Auditor General in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution. All legislation requires consent of both the Houses of Parliament. In the case of money bills, however, the will of the Lok Sabha prevails. Delegated legislation is also subject to review and control by Parliament. Besides the power to legislate, the Constitution vests in Parliament the power to initiate amendment of the Constitution.

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES The functions of Parliament are not only varied in nature, but considerable in volume. The time at its disposal is limited. It cannot make very detailed scrutiny of all legislative and other matters that come up before it. A good deal of its business is, therefore, transacted in committees. Both Houses of Parliament have a similar committee structure, with a few exceptions. Their appointment, terms of office, functions and procedure of conducting business, are also more or less, similar and are regulated under rules made by the two House under article 118(1) of the Constitution.

Broadly, parliamentary committees are of two kinds -

Standing committees where members are elected or appointed every year or periodically and their work goes on, more or less, on a continuous basis..Among standing committees there are
(a)3 Financial committees-Committee on Estimates, Public Accounts and Public Undertakings- constitute a distinct group and they keep an unremitting vigil over Government expenditure and performance.
(b)17 Department Related Standing Committees were set up on 8 April 1993.

Ad hoc committees where members are appointed on an ad hoc basis as need arises and they cease to exist as soon as they complete the task assigned to them. These can be broadly classified under two head
(a) committees which are constituted from time to time, either by two Houses on a motion adopted in that behalf or by Speaker/Chairman to inquire into and report on specific subjects.
(b) Select or Joint Bills which are appointed to consider and report on a particular bill. These committees are distinguishable from other ad hoc committees inasmuch as they are concerned with bills and the procedure to be followed by them is laid down in the Rules of Procedure and Directions by Speaker/ Chairman.

LEADERS OF OPPOSITION IN PARLIAMENT In keeping with their important role, the Leaders of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha are accorded statutory recognition. Salary and other suitable facilities are extended to them through a separate legislation brought into force on 1 November 1977.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS IN PARLIAMENT The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs has been entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating, planning and arranging Government Business in both Houses of Parliament. In the discharge of this function, he is assisted by his Ministers of State. For this purpose, the Ministry works under the overall direction of Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs. The Minister also keeps close and constant contact with the presiding officers, the leaders as well as chief whips and whips of various parties and group in both Houses of Parliament. During the period 1 January 2004 to 31 May 2005, 52 Bills were passed by both the Houses of Parliament.

ADMINISTRATIVE SET-UP The Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 are made by the President of India under Article 77 of the Constitution for the allocation of business of the Government of India. The Ministers/Departments of the Government are created by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister under these Rules. The business of the Government are transacted in the Ministries/Departments, Secretariats and offices (referred to as `Department') as per the distribution of subjects specified in these Rules. Each of the Ministry(ies) is assigned to a Minister by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. Each department is generally under the charge of a Secretary to assist the Minister on policy matters and general administration.

CABINET SECRETARY The Cabinet Secretary is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister. The administrative head of the Secretariat is the Cabinet Secretary who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board. In the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 `Cabinet Secretariat' finds a place in the First Schedule to the Rules. The subjects allotted to this Secretariat are: (i) Secretarial assistance to Cabinet and Cabinet Committees; and (ii) Rules of Business. The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 and the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961, facilitating smooth transaction of business in Ministries/Departments of the Government by ensuring adherence to these rules. The Secretariat assist in decision making in Government by ensuring Inter-Ministerial coordination, ironing out differences amongst Ministries/Departments and evolving consensus through the instrumentality of the standing and ad hoc Committees of Secretaries. Through the mechanism, new policy initiatives are also promoted. The Cabinet Secretariat ensures that the President, the Vice-President and Ministers are kept informed of the major activities of all Ministries/Departments by means of monthly summary of their activities. Management of major crisis situations in the country and coordinating activities of various Ministries in such a situation is also one of the functions of the Cabinet Secretariat. The Cabinet Secretary is seen as a useful mechanism by the departments for promoting inter-Ministerial coordination since the Cabinet Secretary is also the head of the civil services. The Secretaries felt it necessary to keep the Cabinet Secretary informed of developments form time to time. The Transaction of Business Rules also required them to keep the Cabinet Secretary informed specially if there are any departures from these rules.

MINISTRIES/DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT The Government consists of a number of Ministries/Department, number and character varying from time to time on factors such as volume of work importance attached to certain items, changes of orientation, political expediency, etc. On 15 August 1947, the number of Ministries at the Centre was 18.

PUBLIC SERVICES ALL INDIA SERVICES Prior to Independence, the Indian Civil Service (ICS) was the seniormost amongst the Services of the Crown in India. Besides the ICS, there was also the Indian Police Service. After Independence, it was felt that though the ICS was a legacy of the imperial period there was need for the All India Service for maintaining the unity, integrity and stability of the nation. Accordingly, a provision was made in Article 312 of the Constitution for creation of one or more All India Services common to the Union and State. Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service are deemed to be constituted by the Parliament in terms of Article 312 of the Constitution. After the promulgation of the Constitution, a new All India Service, namely, Indian Forest Service, was created in 1966. A common unique feature of the All India Services is that the members of these services are 1 recruited by the Centre but their services are placed under various State cadres and they have the liability to serve both under the State and under the Centre. This aspect of the All India Services strengthens the unitary character of the Indian federation. Of the three All India Services, namely, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian police Service (IPS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFS), the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions is the cadre controlling authority for the IAS. The recruitment to all the three services is made by the UPSC. These officers are recruited and trained by the Central Government and then allotted to different State cadres.

CENTRAL SECRETARIAT SERVICES The Central Secretariat has three services, namely, (i) Central Secretariat Service (CSS), (ii) Central Secretariat Stenographers' Services (CSSS) and (iiij The Central Secretariat Clerical Service (CSCS). The Section Officers' Grade and Assistants' Grade of CSS, Grade 'D' 'C' and 'A' and 'B' (merged) of CSSS and Grade I and II of CSCS are decentralized. The grade of Principal Private Secretary of CSSS and selection grade, and Grade I of CSS are centralized. Appointments and promotions in the Centralised grade are made on all secretariat basis. In respect of the decentralised grades, Department of Personnel and Training monitors and assesses the overall requirements of different cadres for fixing zones of promotion against the vacancies in seniority quota and arranges centralized recruitment against direct recruitment and departmental examination quota vacancies through open competitive and departmental examination. Pursuant to the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs the Government set-up a committee on the Cadre Restructuring of CSS in February 2002, making several recommended actions. The Government after careful considerations has taken several decisions in October 2003 for improving the career prospects of the CSS personnel.

UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION The Constitution provides for an independent body known as Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) under Article 315 for recruitment to Group 'A' and 'B' Gazetted posts under Central Government and for advice in various services matters. The Chairman and members of the Commission are appointed by the President for tenure of six years or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. To ensure independence, members who were at the service of Government at the time of appointment are deemed to have retired from Government services on their appointment in the Commission. The Chairman and members are also not eligible for further employment under the Government. They cannot be removed except for 'he reasons and in the manner provided for in the Constitution.

STAFF SELECTION COMMISSION Staff Selection Commission initially known as Subordinate Services Commission was set up on 1 July 1976. It has been entrusted with the work of making recruitment to (i) all non-gezetted Group technical and non-technical posts in the various Ministries/Departments of the Government and their Attached and Subordinate Offices which are in the pay scales of Rs. 6,500-10,500 and (ii) all non-technical Group 'C' posts in the various Ministries/Departments of the Government of India and their Attached and Subordinate Offices, except those posts which are specifically exempted form the purview of the Staff Selection Commission. The Committee is an attached office of the Department of Personnel and Training and comprises of a Chairman, two Members and Secreary-cum-Controller of Examinations. The tenure of Chairman/Members is for five years or till they attain the age of 62 years, whichever is earlier. The Commission's headquarters and the office of its Northern Region are in New Delhi . The offices of Central, Western, North-Western, Eastern, North-Eastern and Southern and Karnataka-Kerala Region are at Allahabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Bangalore. Respectively. Its sub-regional offices of Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh region and North-Western region are at Rajpur and Chandigarh respectively.

THE STATES

The system of government in states closely resembles that of the Union.

STATE EXECUTIVE

GOVERNOR State executive consists of Governor and Council of Ministers with Chief Minister as its head. Governor of a state is appointed by the President for a term of five years and holds office during his pleasure. Only Indian citizens above 35 years of age are eligible for appointment to this office. Executive power of the State is vested in Governor. Council of Ministers with Chief Minister as head, aids and advises Governor in exercise of his functions except in so far as he is by or under the Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion. In respect of Nagaland, Governor has special responsibility under Article 371A of the Constitution with respect to law and order and even though it is necessary for him to consult Council of Ministers in matters relating to law and order, he can exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken.

COUNCIL OF MINISTERS The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor who also appoints other ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Council of ministers is collectively responsible to legislative assembly of the State.

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) of a state comprises not more than one-third of total number of members in legislative assembly of the state and in no case less than 40 members (Legislative Council of Jammu and Kashmir has 36 members vide Section 50 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir). About one-third of members of the council are elected by members of legislative assembly from amongst persons who are not its members, one-third by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state, one-twelfth by electorate consisting of persons who have been, for at least three years, engaged in teaching in educational institutions within the state not lower in standard than secondary school and a further one-twelfth by registered graduates of more than three years standing. Remaining members are nominated by Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service. Legislative councils are not subject to dissolution but one-third of their members retire every second year.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) of a state consists of not more than 500 and not less than 60 members (Legislative Assembly of Sikkim has 32 members vide Article 371F of the Constitution) chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the state. Demarcation of territorial constituencies is to be done in such a manner that the ratio between population of each constituency and number of seats allotted to it, as far as practicable, is the same throughout the state. Term of an assembly is five years unless it is dissolved earlier.

POWERS AND FUNCTIONS State legislature has exclusive powers over subjects enumerated in List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and concurrent powers over those enumerated in List III. Financial powers of legislature include authorization of all expenditure, taxation and borrowing by the state government. Legislative assembly alone has power to originate money bills. Legislative council can make only recommendations in respect of changes it considers necessary within a period of fourteen days of the receipt of money bills from assembly. Assembly can accept or reject these recommendations.

UNION TERRITORIES Union territories are administrated by the President acting to such extent as he thinks fit, through an Administrator appointed by him. Administrators of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Delhi and Pondicherry are designated as Lieutenant Governors. The Governor of Punjab is concurrently the Administrator of Chandigarh. The Administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli is concurrently the Administrator of Daman and Diu. Lakshadweep has a separate Administrator.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT MUNICIPALITIES Municipal bodies have a long history in India. The first such Municipal Corporation was set-up in the former Presidency Town of Madras in 1688; and was followed by similar corporations in the then Bombay and Calcutta in 1726.