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Polity

3. POLITY

  • INDIA (a union of states)- Sovereign + Socialist + Secular + Democratic + Republic +Parliamentary system of government (federal in structure with unitary features).
  • PRESIDENT: -Constitutional head of the executive of the union.
  • Article 74(1): -Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head (real executive power) to aid and advise the President.
  • COUNCIL OF MINISTERS: - Collectively responsible to the House of the People (Lok Sabha).
  • STATES: - Governor (head of the executive) + Council of Ministers (collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the state) with the Chief Minister as its head in whom real executive power vests.
  • The Constitution:- Distributes legislative power between Parliament and State Legislatures and provides for vesting of residual powers in Parliament.

UNION AND ITS TERRITORY:

  • India comprises 28 states and 8 union territories.
  • Union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli merged (November 2019).

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019(November 2, 2019):

  • Reorganization of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into the two union territories – (Jammu and Kashmir + Ladakh).
  • The introduction of the bill was preceded by a presidential order under Article 370 of the Indian constitution that revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and mandating, inter alia, that all the provisions of the Indian Constitution would be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.
  • State Legislature including the Legislative Council of the State has been abolished and shall from now onwards be construed as “Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir”.
  • All the provisions of the constitution as amended from time to time have become applicable to the existing Jammu and Kashmir with effect from August 5, 2019.
  • Any notification issued or order, rule or appointment made during the period between August 5, 2019 and October 31 are “required to be protected as if such actions have been taken in accordance with law”.
  • There are references in the state laws that have been applied to the expressions ‘permanent residents’ or ‘hereditary state subjects’ are now omitted.

CITIZENSHIP:

  • Constitution: - A single citizenship for the whole of India.
  • Every person who was at the commencement of the Constitution (January 26, 1950) domiciled in the territory of India and:
  1. who was born in India; or
  2. either of whose parents were born in India; or
  3. who has been ordinarily resident in India for not less than five years became a citizen of India.
  • The Citizenship Act, 1955, deals with acquisition, determination and termination of Indian citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution.

CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) ACT:

  • The Citizenship Act was amended by the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
  • The act makes foreign illegal migrants of six religious communities i.e., Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship.
  • Applicable to those who have taken shelter in India due to persecution on grounds of religion or fear of such persecution in their countries and have entered into India on or before December 31, 2014. Such migrants shall be deemed to be Indian citizens from the date of their entry into India.
  • The Third Schedule to the Act has been amended to make applicants belonging to the said communities from the three countries eligible for citizenship by naturalization if they can establish their residency in India for five years instead of the previous requirement of eleven years.

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS(Part III, Articles12 to 35):

Art. 14-18

Art. 19-22

Art. 23-24

Art. 25-28

Art. 29-30

Art. 32

Right to equality-equality before the law, the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in employment.

Right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation

Right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labour, child labour and traffic in human beings.

Right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion.

 

Right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

 

 

 

Right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of fundamental rights.

 

FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES (Part IV A, Article 51 ‘A’):

  • Adopted in 1976, by the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution,
  • These enjoin upon a citizen:
    • to abide by the Constitution,
    • to cherish and follow noble ideals, which inspired India’s struggle for freedom,
    • to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so,
    • to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.

DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY (Part IV, Articles 36 to 51):

  • Not justifiable.
  • The state shall strive to promote the welfare of people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice—social, economic, and political—shall form the basis in all institutions of national life.
  • Some of the other important directives:
    • education for all children up to the age of 14;
    • promotion of education and economic interests of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections;
    • the organization of village panchayats; separation of judiciary from the executive;
    • promulgation of a uniform civil code for the whole country;
    • protection of national monuments; promotion of justice on the basis of equal opportunity;
    • provision of free legal aid; protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife of the country;
  • promotion of international peace and security.

THE UNION EXECUTIVE:

 

PRESIDENT:

  • Must be a citizen of India, not less than 35 years of age and qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
  • Elected by an electoral college (elected members of both Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of the states) in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
  • Term of office- 5 years, eligible for re-election.
  • Removal- Procedure prescribed in Article 61 of the Constitution. He may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Vice-President, resign his office.
  • Powers of President:
    • The executive power of the Union is vested in him exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him.
    • The supreme commander of defense forces of the Union.
    • 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, remit or commutes sentences in certain cases.
    • Can proclaim emergency in the country in case of external aggression or armed rebellion.

VICE-PRESIDENT:

  • 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.
  • Elected by an electoral college (members of both Houses of Parliament) in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
  • Term of office- 5 years and eligible for re-election.
  • Removal- Procedure prescribed in Article 67(b).
  • He is an 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:

  • Members of Cabinet + Ministers of State (independent charge) + Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.
  • Headed by the Prime Minister, to aid and advise the President in the exercise of his functions.
  • Advice to Prime Minister.
  • 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 the administration of affairs of the Union.

LEGISLATURE:

RAJYA SABHA:

  • Total Members: 238 (Representatives of the states and of the union territories) + 12 (nominated by the President from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art, and social service).
  • Qualification for Membership: Must be a citizen of India and not less than 30 years of age.               
  • Elections: Indirect. (Members representing states are elected by the elected members of Legislative Assemblies of the states in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote + Members from union territories are chosen in such a manner as Parliament may by law prescribe).
  • The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution; one-third of its members retire every second year.

LOK SABHA:

  • The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage.
  • Qualification for Membership: Must be a citizen of India not less than 25 years of age.
  • Maximum strength: 552 (530 members to represent the states, 20 members to represent the union territories and not more than two members of the 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 the states in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each state and the population of the state is, as far as practicable, the same for all states.
  • Following the 84th amendment to the Constitution in 2001, 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.
  • Term: Unless dissolved earlier 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 is or has ceased to operate.

FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF PARLIAMENT:

  • Has the cardinal functions of legislation, the passing of the budget, and discussing various subjects like development plans, national policies, and international relations.
  • The Parliament can, under certain circumstances, assume legislative power with respect to a subject falling within the sphere exclusively reserved for the states.
  • It can impeach the President and remove the judges of Supreme Court and High Courts, the ChiefElection Commissioner and the Comptroller and Auditor General in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution.
  • All legislation requires the consent of both the Houses of Parliament.
  • In the case of money bills, however, the ‘will’ of the Lok Sabha prevails.
  • The Constitution vests in Parliament the power to initiate amendment of the Constitution.

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES:

                                                         

AD HOC COMMITTEES:

Such committees may be broadly classified under two heads:

  1. committees which are constituted from time to time, either by the two Houses on a motion adopted in that behalf or by Speaker/Chairman to inquire into and report on specific subjects.
  2. Select or Joint Committees on Bills that are appointed to consider and report on a particular bill.

STANDING COMMITTEES:

  • Appointed every year or periodically and their work goes on, more or less, on a continuous basis.
  • Among the Standing Committees, the three Financial Committees—Committees on Estimates, Public Accounts, and Public Undertakings—constitute a distinct group as they keep an unremitting vigil over Government expenditure and performance.

THE ESTIMATES COMMITTEE:

  • The members of the Committee on Estimates are drawn from the Lok Sabha.
  • Committee reports on what economies, improvements in organization, efficiency or administrative reform consistent with the policy underlying the estimates may be affected.
  • It also examines whether the money is well laid out within limits of the policy implied in the estimates and suggests the form in which estimates shall be presented to the Parliament.

THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE:

Members of the Rajya Sabha are associated with Committees on Public Accounts.

  • The Public Accounts Committee scrutinizes appropriation and finance accounts of Government and reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General.
  • It ensures that public money is spent in accordance with the Parliament’s decision and calls attention to cases of waste, extravagance, loss or nugatory expenditure.

THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC UNDERTAKINGS:

  • Examines reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, if any.
  • It also examines whether public undertakings are being run efficiently and managed in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.

LEADERS OF OPPOSITION IN PARLIAMENT:

  • The Leaders of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha are accorded statutory recognition.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS IN PARLIAMENT:

  • The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs is entrusted with coordinating, planning, and arranging government business in both Houses of Parliament. In the discharge of this function, he is assisted by two ministers of state.

CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEES:

  • The functioning of Consultative Committees of Members of Parliament for various ministries is one of the functions allocated to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs under the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961.
  • The minimum membership of a Consultative Committee is ten and the maximum membership is thirty.
  • The Consultative Committee stands dissolved upon dissolution of every Lok Sabha and are re-constituted upon the constitution of each Lok Sabha.

YOUTH PARLIAMENT COMPETITION:

  • In order to develop democratic ethos in the younger generation, the Ministry conducts Youth Parliament Competitions in various categories of schools and colleges/universities.
  • The ‘Youth Parliament Scheme’ was first introduced in the schools in Delhi in 1966-67.

ALL INDIA WHIPS’ CONFERENCE:

  • The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs organizes All India Whips ‘Conference from time to time with the purpose of establishing suitable links among the whips of various political parties at the center and the states/union territories to discuss matters of common interest.
  • Seventeen All India Whips’ Conferences have been organized so far since 1952.

SPECIAL MENTIONS:

  • The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs takes follow-up action on matters raised under Rule 377 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and by way of Special Mentions in Rajya Sabha.

IMPLEMENTATION OF ASSURANCES:

  • The Ministry culls out from the printed daily proceedings, assurances, promises, undertakings, etc., given by ministers in both the Houses of Parliament, and forward them to the concerned ministries/departments for implementation.
  • Thereafter, a periodic review of the stage of implementation is done by the Ministry and the ministries are also reminded to expedite the fulfillment of assurances.

COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL:

  • Appointed by the President.
  • The procedure and the grounds for his removal from office are the same as for a Supreme Court judge.
  • He is not eligible for further office under the union or a state government after he ceases to hold his office.
  • The accounts of the Union and of the states shall be kept in such form as the President may, on the advice of the CAG, prescribe.
  • The reports of the India relating to the accounts of the union shall be submitted to the President, who shall cause them to be laid before each House of Parliament.
  • The reports of the CAG of India relating to the accounts of a state shall be submitted to the Governor of the state, who shall cause them to be laid before the legislature of the state.
  • The duties, powers, and conditions of service of the CAG have been specified by the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL:

  • Appointed by the President of India.
  • Any person qualified to be a judge of the Supreme Court can be appointed for the post.
  • Give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the President.
  • In the performance of his duties, the Attorney-General shall have the right of audience in all courts in the territory of India.
  • Hold office during the pleasure of the President, and shall receive such remuneration as the President may determine.

SOLICITOR GENERAL OF INDIA:

  • The government’s chief legal advisor, and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.
  • The secondary law officer of the country assists the Attorney-General and is himself assisted by several Additional Solicitors General of India.
  • Like the Attorney-General for India, the Solicitor General and the Additional Solicitors General advise the government and appear on behalf of the Union of India in terms of the Law Officers (Terms and Conditions) Rules, 1972.
  • However, unlike the post of Attorney-General for India, which is a Constitutional post under Article 76, the posts of the Solicitor General and the Additional Solicitors General are merely statutory.
  • Appointments Committee of the Cabinet appoints the Solicitor General.

CABINET SECRETARIAT:

  • The Cabinet Secretariat functions directly under 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.
  • The business allocated to Cabinet Secretariat is:
  1. secretarial assistance to the Cabinet and Cabinet Committees
  2. 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 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 a monthly summary of their activities.

NATIONAL AUTHORITY FOR CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION:

  • The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons (NACWC) is a multi-lateral international treaty that outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors.
  • The CWC came into force with effect from 1997.
  • The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague, Netherlands is the ‘treaty organization’ for the CWC.
  • To fulfill, on behalf of the Government of India.

National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC) was set up as an office of the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India.

PUBLIC GRIEVANCES:

  • The Directorate of Public Grievances (DPG) was set up in the Cabinet Secretariat in 1988 to entertain grievances from the public after they fail to get satisfactory redress from the ministry/department concerned within a reasonable time.
  • It is thus, an office of the last resort for a redress of grievances relating to sectors in its purview.

NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY:

  • In 2005, the government enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of National Disaster Management Authority, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to disaster management in the country.

DEPARTMENT OF PERSONNEL AND TRAINING:

  • The role of the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) can be conceptually divided into two parts.
  • In its large nodal role, it acts as the formulator of policy and the watch-dog of the government ensuring that certain accepted standards and norms, as laid down by it, are followed by all ministries/departments, in the recruitment, regulation of service conditions, posting/transfers, deputation of personnel as well as other related issues.
  • It also advises all organizations of the central government on issues of personnel management.
  • At a more immediate level, the DoPT has the direct responsibility of being the cadre controlling authority for the IAS and the three secretariat services in the Central Secretariat.

ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION:

  • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) was constituted in 2005, as a Commission of Inquiry for preparing a detailed blueprint for revamping the public administrative system.
  • The central government considered 14 out of 15 reports and the decisions on the accepted recommendations of 2nd ARC are at various stages of implementation.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE:

 

Article 343 (1)

  • Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the official language of the Union.

 

Article 343 (2)

  • Provides for continuing the use of English in official work of the Union for a period of 15 years (i.e., upto January 25, 1965) from the date of commencement of the Constitution.

 

Article 343 (3)

  • Empowered the Parliament to provide by law for continued use of English for official purposes even after January 25, 1965.

RIGHT TO INFORMATION:

  • The Right to Information Act, 2005 empowers the citizens, promotes transparency and accountability in the working of the government, combat corruption, and makes democracy work for people in real sense.
  • The Act gives all the citizens the right to seek information held by any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted by or under the Constitution; or by any other law made by the Parliament or a state legislature; or by a notification issued or order made by the central government or a state government.
  • It also includes information relating to any private body which can be accessed by the public authority under any law for the time being in force.
  • This comprehensive law covers almost all levels of governance, and are applicable not only to union, state and local governments but also to the recipients of government grants

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE POLICY:

  • The features of official language policy are: All manuals, codes, and other procedural literature relating to central government offices are required to be prepared both in Hindi and English.

COMMITTEES/SAMITI'S:

  • The Kendriya Hindi Samiti was constituted in 1967. Chaired by Prime Minister it is the apex policy-making body that lays the guidelines for the propagation and progressive use of Hindi as an official language of the Union.

INTER-STATE COUNCIL:

  • The provision for setting up an Inter-State Council is mentioned in Article 263 of the Constitution.
  • In pursuance of the recommendation made by the Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State Relations, the Inter-State Council was set up in 1990.
  • The Inter-State Council (ISC) is a recommendatory body and has been assigned the duties of investigating and discussing such subjects, in which some or all of the states or the union territories and one or more of the states have a common interest, for better coordination of policy and action with respect to that subject.
  • The Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Council.
  • Chief Ministers of all the states and union territories having legislative assemblies, administrators of union territories not having legislative assemblies, governors of states under President’s rule and six ministers of cabinet rank in the Union Council of Ministers, nominated by the Chairman of the Council, are members of the Council.

ZONAL COUNCILS:

  • Five zonal councils viz., Northern Zonal Council, Central Zonal Council, Eastern Zonal Council, Western Zonal Council, and Southern Zonal Council were set up vide Part-III of the States Re-organisation Act, 1956 with the objectives of bringing out national integration and establishing a climate of co-operation amongst the states for successful and speedy execution of development projects.
  • The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of all the zonal councils.
  • The Office of the Vice-Chairman is held by the Chief Minister of the Member State of the respective zonal council by annual rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.

THE STATES

EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR:

  • A state executive- (Governor + Council of Ministers) with Chief Minister as its head.
  • The Governor of a state is appointed by the President for a term of five years office.
  • Only Indian citizens above 35 years of age are eligible for appointment to this office.
  • The executive power of the state is vested in Governor.
  • The Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as head, aids and advises Governor in the exercise of his functions.
  • In respect of Nagaland, the Governor has special responsibility under Article 371 A 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.
  • Similarly, in respect of Arunachal Pradesh, the Governor has special responsibility under Article 371 H of the Constitution with respect to law and order.
  • In the Sixth Schedule which applies to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram as specified in para 20 of that schedule, discretionary powers are given to Governor in matters relating to sharing of royalties between the district council and state government.

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 the Legislative Assembly of the state.

LEGISLATURE:

  • For every state, there is a legislature which consists of Governor and one House or, two Houses as the case may be. In Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh, there are two Houses known as Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly.
  • In the remaining states, there is only one House known as the Legislative Assembly.

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL:

  • Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) of a state comprises not more than one-third of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly of the state and in no case less than 40 members.
    • 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 an 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 the 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 (Vidhan Sabha):

  • Consists of not more than 500 and not less than 60 members (Legislative Assembly of Sikkim has 32 members vide Article 371 F 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 the 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:

  • The 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.
  • Legislative Assembly alone has the power to originate money bills.
  • Legislative Council can make only recommendations in respect of changes it considers necessary within a period of 14 days of the receipt of money bills from the Assembly. The Assembly can accept or reject these recommendations.

RESERVATION OF BILLS:

  • The Governor of a state may reserve any Bill for the consideration of the President.
  • No bills seeking to impose restrictions on inter-state trade can be introduced in a State legislature without the previous sanction of the President.

CONTROL OVER EXECUTIVE:

  • State legislatures, apart from exercising the usual power of financial control, use all normal parliamentary devices like questions, discussions, debates, adjournments, and no-confidence motions and resolutions to keep a watch over day-to-day work of the executive.

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, Puducherry, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh are designated as Lieutenant Governors.
  • The National Capital Territory of Delhi, Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry each has a Legislative Assembly and Council of Ministers.
  • Certain categories of bills, require the prior approval of the central government for introduction in the Legislative Assembly of UTs.

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 later in Bombay and Calcutta in 1726.
  • While the Directive Principles of State Policy refer to Village Panchayats, there is no specific reference to municipalities except the implicitly in Entry 5 of the State List, which places the subject of local self-governments as a responsibility of the states.
  • Parliament enacted the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 (known as Nagarpalika Act) relating to municipalities in 1992. It came into effect in 1993.
  • A new Part IX-A relating to the municipalities added to provide for among other things, the constitution of three types of municipalities, i.e., Nagar Panchayats for areas in transition from a rural area to the urban area, Municipal Councils for smaller urban areas and Municipal Corporation for large urban areas, fixed duration of municipalities, the appointment of State Election Commission, the appointment of State Finance Commission and constitution of metropolitan and district planning committees.
  • All state/union territories administrations have set-up their State Election Commissions and FinanceCommissions

PANCHAYATS:

  • Article 40 of the Constitution which enshrines the Directive Principles of State Policy lays down that the state shall take steps to organize village panchayats.
  • A new Part IX relating to the panchayats was inserted in the Constitution to provide for among other things,
    • Gram Sabha in a village or group of villages;
    • Constitution of panchayats at the village and other level or levels;
    • Direct elections to all seats in panchayats at the village and intermediate level, if any, and to the offices of Chairpersons of panchayats at such levels;
    • Reservation of seats for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in proportion to their population for membership of panchayats and office of Chairpersons in panchayats at each level;
    • Reservation of not less than one-third of the seats for women;
    • Fixing tenure of five years for panchayats and holding elections within a period of six months
    • In the event of supersession of any panchayat.

ELECTION COMMISSION:

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) was constituted in 1950 with its headquarters at New Delhi.
  • It is a permanent independent constitutional body vested with the powers and responsibility of superintendence, direction, and control of the entire process of conduct of elections to (Parliament + legislatures of the states + union territories + offices of President and Vice-President).
  • The Election Commission decides the election schedules for the conduct of elections—both general elections and bye-elections. It prepares, maintains and periodically updates the electoral rolls, supervises the nomination of candidates, registers political parties, monitors the election campaign, including funding and expenditure of candidates.
  • Elections are conducted according to the constitutional provisions, supplemented by laws made by Parliament. The major laws are the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952; the Representation of the People Act, 1950; and the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • The Commission grants recognition to political parties as national or state parties. It also decides disputes relating to splits/mergers of recognized political parties.
  • At the state level, the election work is supervised, subject to the overall control of the Commission, by the Chief Electoral Officer of the state, who is appointed by the Commission by selection from amongst senior civil servants of the state government.
  • Field administration at the district and sub-divisional levels in India is run by the District Magistrates (Deputy Commissioners/Collectors), Sub Divisional Magistrates, Revenue Divisional Officers, Tehsildars, etc.

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