Indian Polity

Indian Polity

Foreign Policy

Introduction

  • During the period immediately after the second world War, the world divided into two clear poles - one was under the influence of the United States and its western allies and the other was under the influence of the then Soviet Union.

  • The polarization of power was the beginning of Cold War Era between the two blocs led by the superpowers namely the US and the USSR.

  • The foreign policy of a nation reflects the interplay of domestic and external factors.

Nehru Policy

  • Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, was also the foreign minister and played a crucial role in shaping India’s foreign policy between 1946 and 1964.

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Popular Movements

Introduction

  • During the 1970s, in some parts of Uttarakhand, villagers protested against the practices of commercial logging that the government had permitted.

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Globalization

Introduction

  • It would be incorrect to assume that globalization has purely economic dimensions; it is a multidimensional concept, which includes political, economic, cultural, and ideological manifestations.

  • The impact of globalization is greatly uneven, as it affects some societies more than others and some parts of some societies more than others.

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Environment and Politics

Introduction

  • In the present world, cultivable area is barely expanding any more, and a substantial portion of existing agricultural land is losing fertility (transforming into barren land or desert).

  • Grasslands have been overgrazed; fisheries overharvested; water bodies have suffered extensive depletion; and pollution, severely restricting food production.

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International Organizations

Introduction

  • The United Nations Organization or simply UNO/UN is regarded as the most important international organization in today’s world.

  • International organizations help with matters of war and peace as well as help countries create better living conditions for us all.

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Parts of Constitution

The given table describes the details of ‘Parts’ of the Constitution of India:

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Separation of Powers

  • The principle of separation of powers has not been placed clearly in Indian Constitution; however, the separate functions of the three specified Organs (i.e. Executive, Parliament, and Judiciary) are specified.

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Constitutional Schedules

  • Primarily, there were only eight Schedules; however, four schedules were added after subsequent amendments.

Summary of all twelve schedules is illustrated in the following table:

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Constitutional Amendments

  • Under Article 368 (specific provision) of the Constitution, the Parliament is the repository of the constituent power of the Union and hence, it can amend the Constitutional provision as per the requirement/s (within the circumscribed limit).

  • Article 368 (1) states that notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, the Parliament may exercise its constituent power amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down in this article.

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Political Parties

Introduction

  • Indian governance system has multi-party system and the political parties are categorized as:

    • National Political Party;
    • State or Regional (level) Political Party.
  • The recognition and status of political parties are reviewed and authorized by the Election Commission of India.

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Elections System

Introduction

  • In India, there are three levels of government, i.e.,

    • Center level,
    • State level,
    • Local level.
  • At center level, elections are conducted to elect Member of Parliament, which is known as Lok Sabha elections.

  • For Lok Sabha election, the whole country is divided into 543 constituencies and each constituency elects one representative as a Member of Parliament (MP).

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Emergency Provision

Introduction

  • PART XVIII and Articles 352 to 360 describe the emergency provisions of India.

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Center State Relations

Introduction

  • Articles 245 to 263 of Part XI and Articles 268 to 293 of Part XII describe three types of Center-State relations i.e. Legislative, Administrative, and Financial.

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Federal System

Introduction

  • Federalism is an institutional mechanism to accommodate two sets of polities, i.e., first is the center or national level and second is at the provincial or regional level. Both the sets of polities are autonomous in its own sphere.

  • Each level of the polity has distinct powers and responsibilities and has a separate system of government.

  • The details of this federalism or dual system of government are generally found in a written constitution.

  • Written Constitution is considered to be supreme and also the source of the power of both sets of government.

  • Certain subjects, which are the concern of a nation as a whole, for example, defense or currency, are the responsibility of the union or central government.

  • On the other hand, regional or local matters are the responsibility of the regional or state government.

  • In case of a conflict between the center and the state on any issue, the judiciary has the powers to resolve the disputes.

  • Though the Indian Constitution does not use the word ‘federalism’ anywhere; however, the structure of Indian government is divided into two sets of governments i.e.

    • For the entire nation known as the ‘Union Government’ (or central government)

    • For each unit or state known as the ‘State Government.’

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Judiciary

Introduction

  • Judiciary is an independent body that protects and ensures the ‘rule of law.’

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Local Government

Introduction

  • Local government is the government of the village and district level. It is the government closest to the common people that involves in day-to-day life and attempt to resolve problems of ordinary citizens.

  • Democracy is in fact about meaningful participation and also about accountability. Hence, strong and vibrant local governments ensure both active participation and purposeful accountability.

  • The hierarchy of different levels of Governments (of India) is shown in the following image:

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Union Legislature

Introduction

  • The Union Legislature of India is not only the lawmaking body, but the center of all democratic political process.

  • The Parliament is the central legislature and the legislature of the state is known as ‘State Legislature.’

  • The Parliament of India is bicameral (i.e. consists of two houses) namely Rajya Sabha (the Council of States) and Lok Sabha (the House of the People).

  • Indian states also have the option to have either bicameral or unicameral; however, at present, there are seven states (shown in the map given below), which have bicameral legislature namely:

    • Jammu & Kashmir,
    • Uttar Pradesh,
    • Bihar,
    • Maharashtra,
    • Karnataka,
    • Andhra Pradesh,
    • Telangana.

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Union Executive

Introduction

  • The organ of a government that primarily looks after the function of implementation and administration is known the Executive.

  • The Executive is the branch of Government accountable for the implementation of laws and policies legislated by the legislature.

  • In the Parliamentary form of executive, the Prime Minister is the head of the government and the head of the State may be Monarch (Constitutional Monarchy, e.g. UK) or President (Parliamentary Republic, e.g. India).

  • In a Semi-Presidential System, the President is the head of the State and the Prime Minister is the head of the government, e.g. France.

  • In a Presidential System, the President is the head of the State as well as the head of government, e.g. the US.

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Fundamental Duties

Under Part IV ‘A’, Article 51A of the Indian Constitution describes the following "Fundamental Duties" (i.e. the duty of every citizen of India).

  • To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

  • To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

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Directive Principles

Introduction

  • A list of policy guidelines is included in the Constitution known as “the Directive Principles of State Policy” (DPSP).

  • These guidelines are ‘non-justifiable’, i.e., parts of the Constitution that cannot be enforced by the judiciary.

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Fundamental Rights

Introduction

  • The Constitution of India listed the rights to the citizens of India that would be specially protected and known as the ‘Fundamental Rights.’

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Citizenship

  • Articles 5 to 11 under Part II of the Constitution describe the citizenship.

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Union and its Territory

  • Articles 1 to 4 under Part I of the Constitution describe the Union and its Territory.

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How the Constitution Works

Introduction

  • A constitution is a set of fundamental principles according to which a state is constituted or governed.

  • The Constitution specifies the basic allocation of power in a State and decides who gets to decide what the laws will be.

  • The Constitution first defines how a Parliament will be organized and empowers the Parliament to decide the laws and policies.

  • The Constitution sets some limitations on the Government as to what extent a Government can impose rules and policies on its citizen. These limits are fundamental in the sense that the Government may never trespass them.

  • The Constitution enables the Government to fulfil the aspirations of a society and create conditions for a just society.

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Sources of Constitution

Introduction

  • The Indian Constitution has been formed after ransacking all the major constitutions of the world; however, at the same time, the framers have also considered the following factors:

    • Historical perspective of India;
    • Geographical diversity of India;
    • Cultural and traditional characteristics of India.

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Guiding Values of the Constitution

Introduction

  • India is a Republic Nation and the President of India is the head of the nation. He/she is elected every five years.

  • The provisions are written in the Constitution to guarantee Justice for all. No one can be discriminated on the grounds of caste, religion, and gender. Social inequalities on any grounds of caste, religion, and gender are strictly prohibited.

  • Welfare for all citizens is the prime objective of the Government; besides, the government also needs to give special attention, particularly to the underprivileged sections of the society.

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Features of Constitution

Key Features of Indian Constitution

  • Following are the important features of the Indian Constitution:

    • Indian Constitution is a ‘written’ constitution.

    • Indian Constitution is ‘flexible’ (it can be amended), but it is also ‘rigid’ (as some part, i.e., its ‘basic structure’ cannot be amended).

    • Indian Constitution is ‘Unitary’ (as Center has more power), but it is also ‘Federal’ (as power is divided between the Center and the State).

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Formation of Constitution

Historical Background

  • In 1928, Motilal Nehru and eight other Congress leaders drafted a constitution for India.

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Introduction to Indian Polity

  • The constitution of a country is a document that comprises a set of written rules accepted by everyone living together in that country.

  • The Constitution of a country is the supreme law of the land and it determines the relationship among people living in that country and also regulates the government and its policies towards its citizens.

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