Politics: An Introduction to the Modern Democratic State

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Panchayati Raj Institutions or Local self-government bodies play a crucial role in Indian politics, as it focuses on grassroot-level administration in India. On April 24, , the Constitutional 73rd Amendment Act, came into force to provide constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj institutions. The Act aims to provide 3-tier system of Panchayati Raj for all States having population of over 2 million, to hold Panchayat elections regularly every 5 years, to provide reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Women, to appoint State Finance Commission to make recommendations as regards the financial powers of the Panchayats and to constitute District Planning Committee to prepare draft development plan for the district.

As with any other democracy, political parties represent different sections among the Indian society and regions, and their core values play a major role in the politics of India. Both the executive branch and the legislative branch of the government are run by the representatives of the political parties who have been elected through the elections. Through the electoral process, the people of India choose which representative and which political party should run the government. Through the elections any party may gain simple majority in the lower house. Coalitions are formed by the political parties, in case no single party gains a simple majority in the lower house.

Unless a party or a coalition have a majority in the lower house, a government cannot be formed by that party or the coalition. India has a multi-party system , where there are a number of national as well as regional parties. A regional party may gain a majority and rule a particular state.

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If a party is represented in more than 4 states, it would be labelled a national party. The party enjoyed a parliamentary majority save for two brief periods during the s and late s.

This rule was interrupted between and , when the Janata Party coalition won the election owing to public discontent with the controversial state of emergency declared by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The Janata Dal won elections in , but its government managed to hold on to power for only two years. Between and , there was a period of political flux with the government being formed first by the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party BJP followed by a left-leaning United Front coalition.

In , the BJP formed the National Democratic Alliance with smaller regional parties, and became the first non-INC and coalition government to complete a full five-year term. The Indian elections saw the INC winning the largest number of seats to form a government leading the United Progressive Alliance , and supported by left-parties and those opposed to the BJP.

Introduction to Government and Politics

The UPA ruled India without the support of the left front. Previously, Atal Bihari Vajpayee [13] had taken office in October after a general election in which a BJP-led coalition of 13 parties called the National Democratic Alliance emerged with a majority. Formation of coalition governments reflects the transition in Indian politics away from the national parties toward smaller, more narrowly based regional parties. Some regional parties, especially in South India, are deeply aligned to the ideologies of the region unlike the national parties and thus the relationship between the central government and the state government in various states has not always been free of rancor.

Disparity between the ideologies of the political parties ruling the centre and the state leads to severely skewed allocation of resources between the states. The lack of homogeneity in the Indian population causes division between different sections of the people based on religion , region , language , caste and race.


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  • Fiscal Behavior of the Modern Democratic State: Public Choice Perspectives and Contributions.

This has led to the rise of political parties with agendas catering to one or a mix of these groups. Parties in India also target people who are not in favour of other parties and use them as an asset. Rama Rao which demands for rights and needs of people of the state only. Some other parties claim to be universal in nature, but tend to draw support from particular sections of the population. The narrow focus and votebank politics of most parties, even in the central government and central legislature, sidelines national issues such as economic welfare and national security.

Moreover, internal security is also threatened as incidences of political parties instigating and leading violence between two opposing groups of people is a frequent occurrence. Economic issues like poverty , unemployment , development are main issues that influence politics.

Fiscal Behavior of the Modern Democratic State: Public Choice Perspectives and Contributions

Garibi hatao eradicate poverty has been a slogan of the Indian National Congress for a long time. The Communist Party of India Marxist vehemently supports left-wing politics like land-for-all , right to work and strongly opposes neo-liberal policies such as globalisation , capitalism and privatisation. Terrorism , Naxalism , religious violence and caste-related violence are important issues that affect the political environment of the Indian nation. Terrorism has affected politics India since its conception, be it the terrorism supported from Pakistan or the internal guerrilla groups such as Naxalites.

In the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during an election campaign. The Babri Masjid demolition on December 6, by Hindu Karsevaks resulted in nationwide communal riots in two months, with worst occurring in Mumbai with at least dead. Law and order issues, such as action against organised crime are issues which do not affect the outcomes of elections. On the other hand, there is a criminal—politician nexus. Many elected legislators have criminal cases against them.

In July , the Washington Post reported that nearly a fourth of the Indian Parliament members faced criminal charges, "including human trafficking , child prostitution immigration rackets, embezzlement , rape and even murder ".

Democracy - A short introduction

The President is eligible for re-elections; however, in India's independent history, only one president has been re-elected, Rajendra Prasad. It is on the President's recommendation that the Houses of Parliament meet, and only the president has the power to dissolve the Lok Sabha. Furthermore, no bill passed by Parliament can become law without the president's assent. However, the role of the president of India is highly ceremonial. All the powers of the president mentioned above are exercised on recommendation of the Union Cabinet , and the president does not have much discretion in any of these matters.

The president also does not have discretion in the exercise of his executive powers, as the real executive authority lies in the cabinet. The current President is Ram Nath Kovind. The Office of the Vice-President of India is constitutionally the second most senior office in the country, after the President. The vice-president is also elected by an electoral college, consisting of members of both houses of parliament.

The Vice-President fills in a vacancy in the office of President till the election of a new president. His only regular function is that he functions as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The current Vice President is M. Venkaiah Naidu. The Union Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister, is the body with which the real executive power resides. The Prime Minister is the recognized head of the government.


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  6. The Union Council of Ministers is the body of ministers with which the PM works with on a day-to-day basis. Work is divided between various ministers into various departments and ministries. The Union cabinet is a smaller body of ministers which lies within the Council of Ministers, which is the most powerful set of people in the country, playing an instrumental role in legislation and execution alike. It is the Union Cabinet that co-ordinates all foreign and domestic policy of the Union. It exercises immense control over administration, finance, legislation, military, etc.

    India has a federal form of government, and hence each state also has its own government. The executive of each state is the Governor equivalent to the president of India , whose role is ceremonial. The real power resides with the Chief Minister equivalent to the Prime Minister and the state council of ministers. States may either have a unicameral or bicameral legislature, varying from state to state.

    State (polity) - Wikipedia

    The Chief Minister and other state ministers are also members of the legislature. Since the s, Indian politics has become dynastic, possibly due to the absence of a party organization, independent civil society associations that mobilize support for the party, and centralized financing of elections. One example of dynastic politics has been the Nehru—Gandhi family which produced three Indian prime ministers.

    Family members have also led the Congress party for most of the period since when Indira Gandhi floated the then Congress I faction of the party. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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