Political Science

Political Science is concerned with the theory and practice of politics and analysis of political systems and political behaviour.

Indian Polity

Indian Polity

Political Science is concerned with the theory and practice of politics and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. Herein relationship between the political events and the conditions is studied.

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Questions on Peace and Security

1. Why is peace and security considered so important?

Because it is a condition where individuals, institutions, regions, nations and the world move ahead without any threat. In this condition regions or nations are generally more stable domestically, likely to be democratically governed and respectful to human rights. Conflict not only generates threat and fear, but also hampers economic, social, or political advancement.

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Questions on Socio-economic Development

1. Why do GDP and per capita income not effectively measure the quality of people’s life?

The GDP is a specific measure of economic welfare that does not take into account important aspects such as leisure time, environmental quality, freedom, or social justice or gender equality and similarly the per capita income numbers also do not indicate the level of income equality among people.

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Questions on National Integration and Secularism

1. Why is national integration needed?

National integration is essential for any nation with socio-cultural, religious, linguistic and geographical diversities. And for a country like India, it is still more necessary. India is a very large country. A unique feature of our country is that all the major religions of the world are practiced here. There are more than one thousand languages. Despite all these differences India is one political entity. We have to co-exist with each other peacefully. This is possible only when national integration is realised in true sense of the term.

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Questions on Indian Democracy

1. What do you mean by political democracy?

Democracy is defined as a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and is exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodic free elections. In essence, democracy is a form of government which is run by the elected representatives of the people.

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Questions on People's Participation in Democratic Process

1. What do you mean by people’s participation in the democratic process?

People’s participation includes voting in elections. It is also expressed through public debates, newspaper editorials, protest demonstrations and their active involvement in governmental programmes. Even in respect of election process, it includes participation in campaign, political discussion, working for political parties and standing as candidates.

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Questions on Political Parties

1. Which of the following is the characteristic of a political party?

  1. Group of people organized for betterment of their locality.
  2. Group of people sharing similar religious views.
  3. Group of people having common principles and views on public matters.
  4. Group of people attending an election meeting.

Answer: (c)

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Questions on Governance at Union Level

1. How is the President of India elected?

The President is indirectly elected by an Electoral College which consists of the elected members of the two Houses of the Parliament as well as of the State Legislative Assemblies. Moreover, the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry also participate in this election. The voting is by secret ballot. He or She is elected according to the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

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Internal Threats to Peace and Security

Whenever there is an aggressive protest and demonstration or violent activities leading to loss of lives and property, it is a threat to peace and security. But a number of such occurrences are law and order problems which are locally managed by the police. In a democracy like India such protests, demonstrations, strikes, bandhs and other agitations do take place to draw the attention of governments or concerned authorities towards specific demands and concerns.

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Peace and Security in India

Like any other country, in India also peace and security has been one of the major concerns. The geographical position of India and its emergence as a global power make it vulnerable to external threats. India has not only faced wars with neighbouring countries like China and Pakistan, but has also been dealing with international terrorism.

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Peace and Security

Peace does not mean a state of mind or a condition with complete absence of disturbances or conflicts. In fact, complete absence of disturbances or conflicts in human world is impossible. Peace is a social and political condition that ensures development of individuals, society and nation. It is a state of harmony characterised by the existence of healthy relationships.

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Role of Citizens in Democracy

Generally, it is believed that the government rules the people who have to respect the political authority and obey it. They are there to be governed. The people who are citizens in a democratic system like India cannot and ought not remain passive and treat themselves as governed.

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Corrective Measures for Challenges to Democracy

Democracy in India faces certain serious challenges. These are causes of serious concern to all. In fact, the leadership of the freedom movement and especially the framers of the Indian Constitution themselves were very much aware of these issues. They made a number of constitutional provisions to address the same.

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Electoral System in India

India has earned accolades for successfully conducting so many elections. There is a huge electoral system that has been engaged in managing elections in India.

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Political Parties in India

The establishment of Indian National Congress in 1885 in India is considered as the beginning of the formation of parties. The Indian National Congress which led national movement was an umbrella organisation representing interests of all sections of society. The formative phase of the Indian National Congress was dominated by the Moderates like Dada Bhai Naoroji, Surendra Nath Banerjee, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and others as well as the Extremists like ‘Lal-Bal-Pal’ - referring to Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal.

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President of India

Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first President of India and held the office for two consecutive terms. Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil was the first woman to be elected as the President of India. She was the 12th President of India.

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Questions on Governance at State Level

1. The Governor is: (a) elected (b) appointed (c) nominated (d) selected.

(b) appointed.

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High Courts and Subordinate Courts

According to the Constitution, there has to be a High Court for every State. A High Court may have more than one State under its jurisdiction. For example, Guwahati High Court that acts as a common High Court for the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura. Mostly, the Union Territories come under the jurisdiction of the High Court of their neighbouring States.

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Chief Minister and Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as its head functions as the real executive. The Chief Minister and other members of the Council of Ministers are appointed by the Governor. Their term of office is for five years, but they remain in office till they enjoy the support of the majority in the Assembly.

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Government at State Level

India is a federation having governments at two levels: state level and union or central level. Every citizen is related to and influenced by the governments functioning at both the levels. All the three branches of government, executive, legislature and judiciary exist and function at both the levels.

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Questions on Local Governments

1. Define local government. State two examples to justify the need for a local government.

Local government is a government of the local people, by the local people and for the local people. The local government institutions provide a platform for the common people to participate and contribute to development and social justice at the local level.

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Questions on India - A Welfare State

1. What do you mean by the term welfare state?

A welfare state is a concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity and equitable distribution of wealth.

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Questions on Fundamental Rights and Duties

1. What do you mean by rights and duties? How are they interrelated?

Rights are defined as claims of an individual that are essential for the development of his or her own self and that are recognized by society or State. A duty is something that someone is expected or required to do. Rights and duties are interdependent. Life can become smoother if rights and duties go hand in hand and become complementary to each other.

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Questions on Constitutional Values & Political System

1. What is the meaning of Constitution?

When used in the context of a State or a Nation, Constitution means a set of fundamental principles, basic rules and established precedents. It identifies, defines and regulates various aspects of the State and the structure, powers and functions of the major institutions under the three organs of the Government, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

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Rural Local Government: Panchayati Raj System

Panchayats used to be the seat of justice. Local disputes and other problems were referred to Panchayats and their decisions used to be respected by one and all. National leaders like Mahatma Gandhi had a firm faith in this system. The Constitution makers also considered this system to be very important and made provisions for it in the Directive Principles of State Policy.

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Six Fundamental Rights in Indian Constitution

The Constitution guarantees six fundamental rights to Indian citizens as follows: (i) right to equality, (ii) right to freedom, (iii) right against exploitation, (iv) right to freedom of religion, (v) cultural and educational rights, and (vi) right to constitutional remedies.

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Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties

Rights are rules of interaction between people. They place constraints and obligations upon the actions of the state and individuals or groups. For example, if one has a right to life, this means that others do not have the liberty to kill him or her. Rights are defined as claims of an individual that are essential for the development of his or her own self and that are recognised by society or State.

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Parliamentary Form of Government in India

There are two forms of government: presidential and parliamentary. In presidential system, the three organs of government are independent of one another. There is absence of close relationship between the executive and the legislature. The United States of America has a presidential form of government. But, in a parliamentary form of government, there is a very close relationship between the executive and the legislature.

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Federal System in India

India is a federal state. There are generally two types of states in the world. The state that has only one government for the entire country, which is known as unitary state. The United Kingdom has a unitary system. But there are states like United States of America and Canada which have governments at two levels: one at the central level and the other at the state level.

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Salient Features of the Constitution

The Preamble embodying constitutional values clearly demonstrates that these are important for the successful functioning of Indian democracy. The constitutional values permeate all the salient features of Indian Constitution.

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Constitutional Values of India

Constitution means a set of fundamental principles, basic rules and established precedents (standards or instances). It identifies, defines and regulates various aspects of the State and the structure, powers and functions of the major institutions under the three organs of the Government - the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. It also provides for rights and freedoms of citizens and spells out the relationships between individual citizen and the State and government.

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Urban Local Government in India

As Panchayati Raj System is meant for rural area, similarly there are institutions of urban local government. There are three types of urban local bodies.

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Elections

Elections take place regularly in any democracy. In democracies, people rule through their representatives. Election is a mechanism by which people can choose their representatives at regular intervals and change them if they wish to do so. Therefore, elections are considered essential for any representative democracy.

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Diversity and Equality

People are different from each other in many ways. They belong to different regional, cultural or religious backgrounds. All these different people, who come from all kinds of backgrounds, and belong to all kinds of religions and cultures make India diverse.

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Government

Every country needs a government to make decisions and get things done. These can be decisions about where to build infrastructure, or how to supply electricity. The government also takes action on many social issues, running postal and railway services.

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The Constitution of India

A society also has constitutive rules that make it what it is and differentiate it from other kinds of societies. In large societies in which different communities of people live together, these rules are formulated through consensus, and in modern countries this consensus is usually available in written form. A written document in which we find such rules is called a Constitution.

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Indian Judiciary System

In India, we have the rule of law. Laws apply equally to all persons. A certain set of fixed procedures need to be followed when a law is violated. To enforce this rule of law, we have a judicial system that consists of the mechanism of courts that a citizen can approach when a law is violated.

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The Union Executive & Council of Ministers

Three Organs of the Government

Legislature, Executive and Judiciary are the three organs of government. Together, they perform the functions of the government, maintain law and order and look after the welfare of the people. The Constitution ensures that they work in coordination with each other and maintain a balance among themselves.

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Indian Legislature: Parliament

In a democracy, the idea of consent, i.e. the desire, approval and participation of people is important. It is the decision of people that creates a democratic government and decides about its functioning. One way of doing so is through elections. People elect their representatives to the Parliament. Then, one group from among these elected representatives forms the government.

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Local Governments

Local government is government at the village and district level. Local government believes that local knowledge and local interest are essential ingredients for democratic decision making. They are also necessary for efficient and people-friendly administration. The advantage of local government is that it is so near the people.

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Functions of Parliament

The Parliament is the supreme legislative body.

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Panchayati Raj System

In the past, Panchayats used to be the seat of justice. Local disputes and other problems were referred to Panchayats and their decisions used to be respected by one and all.

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Judicial Activism

Judicial activism has been defined as innovative interpretation of the Constitution by the Court.

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Jurisdiction of Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has three types of jurisdiction.

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Supreme Court

India has a unified judiciary. It means that there is a hierarchy of Courts, at the highest level of which is the Supreme Court, then at the state level there are High Courts and at the district and still lower levels there are subordinate courts.

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Prime Minister

According to the Constitution, there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President who shall act according to that advice. The President is bound to exercise all the powers exactly according to the advice of the Council of Ministers, which is headed by the Prime Minister. It is the Prime Minister who is the real head of the Union executive.

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Subordinate Courts

There are subordinate courts at district and sub-divisional levels. There is a Distict and Sessions Judge in each district. Under him or her, there is a hierarchy of judicial officers.

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Functions of State Legislature

The State Legislature performs the following categories of functions.

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High Court

According to the Constitution, there has to be a High Court for every state. A High Court may have more than one state under its jurisdiction. For example, Guwahati High Court acts as a common High Court for the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura.

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State Legislature

Every State has its Legislature. In some of the states, the Legislature is bicameral (two houses). In most of the states, it is unicameral (one house).

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