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Indian Government and Politics
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Indian Government and Politics

5.0 1
by Bidyut Chakrabarty, Rajendra Kumar Pandey

ISBN-10: 8178298813

ISBN-13: 9788178298818

Pub. Date: 10/07/2008

Publisher: SAGE Publications

This core political science textbook written for the paper Indian Government and Politics explores the changing nature of politico-constitutional institutions and is drawn from the 1950 Constitution of India.


This core political science textbook written for the paper Indian Government and Politics explores the changing nature of politico-constitutional institutions and is drawn from the 1950 Constitution of India.

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SAGE Publications
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Salient Features of the Indian Constitution
The Executive System in Theory and Practice
State Executive
The Judiciary
Planning and Economic Development
Statutory Institutions and Commissions
The Indian Party System
The Evolution of Indian Administration
Panchayati Governance in India
Major Issues in Indian Politics
Model Questions

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Indian Government and Politics 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the present book, the authors endeavour to take the reader on a guided tour of India as a nation, republic and a distinct polity, showing a glimpse of the background from which the present governmental system has evolved. On the route are all the milestones, right from how we, the people got our constitution, how the steel frame of civil services directed development administration, to how in modern India issues like caste, religion and gender play their role towards deepening of democracy. The first two chapters dwell on evolution and salient features of Indian constitution, going into details of Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles of State Policy. Why the founding fathers chose Parliamentary democracy and how the quasi-federal system came into being is discussed with interesting inputs of the vision and deliberation of the founding fathers. Our constitutional framework is full of innovation and ‘first-of-its-kind’ institutional arrangements suited to India’s diverse polity. The third chapter outlines the distinct system of executive in Indian political system. Three predominant types influenced the choice, namely, the British cabinet system, Swiss elected executive and the American Presidential system. Also, the role, powers and functions of the President, Council of Ministers, civil services, their problems and scope for reforms have been discussed. Bureaucracy is the permanent government and had helped maintain unity and integrity of the nation but could not meet the ‘raised expectations’ of the people. The socio-economic development was not as fast and efficient as the people would’ve wanted once they gained independence. The civil servants lacked in skill to manage developmental tasks. The need of the hour was that of a dynamic and innovative bureaucracy but there was a wide gap as what we had was a restrictive and regulatory British appendage. After many reforms, passage of fifth pay commission, Official Secrets Act, Citizen’s Charter and the Right to Information; the nature and the structure of the bureaucracy is undergoing transformation for good. But the pace is slow and there is a long way to go. Starting from the genesis of the issue and taking us to the contemporary situation the authors often present us with comparison for better understanding .In the fourth chapter we get a detailed account of Parliament-Loksabha and Rajyasabha. The profile of the parliament has changed overtime because of the socio-economic changes in the society-there was a time only the elite and professionals like lawyers dominated the parliament whereas now we have representatives from every class and caste, educated and uneducated. Though the change is positive there is hardly any qualitative addition. The fifth chapter takes a look at the State Executive’s office-CM, office of the Governor, Council of Ministers. Constitutional provisions and political trends dictate the functioning of these authorities. Chief Minister’s and Central government relations are discussed in interesting detail along with the position of the CM and his relation with the Governor, Planning Commission, NDC and the Council of ministers. Perspectives of the fathers of constitution on the Judiciary and the working of the judicial system in the country makes up the sixth chapter .The founding fathers aspired to idealize the courts to strengthen the fundamental rights and to act as guardians of the constitution itself. To secure independence of the judiciary the British method of appointment of Lord Chancellor was rejected as it lacked supervision and the American system of confirmation of judicial appointment by the Senate was found open to politics; leading to the Indian system of appointment of the judges by the President after due consultation with the stipulated judicial officers. Due to the position of the parliament as the body expressing the will of the people, the scope of the power of judicial review is not as extensive as it is in the US. The framers instead chose ‘procedure established by law’. Public Interest Litigation and Judicial Activism are some of the efforts by the judiciary to act in the public interest. The UPSC, Election Commission, CAG and the Finance Commission are independent commissions designed to serve as the operational support system for the machinery of governance in the country. The Finance Commission is in fact an institutional innovation and is a quasi- arbitral body to regulate, co-ordinate and integrate the finances of the government at the centre and the various states. The authors analyse the issues followed by the practical reality and the why’s of it –for example –the reports of the Finance Commission does not evoke much public attention because of [1] conservatism of the commission and [2] indifference of the public to unintelligible financial matters. We now move to another important aspect of our polity that is planning and economic development through the Planning Commission and the NDC, contemplated upon in the seventh chapter. India is one of the most important countries to go for centralized planning as it was thought that faster and sustained socio-economic development of people could be brought about only through a conscious planning .The Planning Commission is a staff agency and its prime role is to assess and augment the material, capital and human resources of the country; to formulate a plan for their balanced use ;to define stages of implementation ,to indicate the requisites of plan execution and to determine the machinery for effective execution of the plan. Planning is inevitable and will co-exist with the market forces in the form of a guide and facilitator and can be compared with the French concept of ‘Indicative Planning’. In the era of liberalization there is the need for deliberate interaction between the national planners and the corporate planners, the process can be strengthened through the informal consultative mechanisms as in Japan or the Malaysian system of RETREAT, where the PM brainstorms along with the main ministers and the industry leaders. The next chapter analyses the functioning of four statutory institutions and commissions-National Commission for Backward Classes, National Commission for Women, National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Minorities. In 1993 NCBC was set up to ensure that discriminatory idea of preferential treatment should be minimized gradually so that the once marginalized sections of the society can join the mainstream of the society. NCW was set up in 1992 to secure a just and equitable existence and status for women in society through institutional machinery working to protect and promote the exclusive rights of women on continuing basis. It is a nodal agency looking into the gaps between the constitutional and legal stipulations and their actual implementation on the ground. The research and studies are usually pioneering initiatives as they carry moral weight with the common people and may prove useful in welfare of women. NHRC was set up in 1993 to protect human rights and the National Commission on Minorities Act was passed in 1992 with an amendment in 1995. In several cases the statutory commissions go too far to guarantee the heaven to their clients, in normal times, their efforts remain confined to recommending solutions of the problems to the government. The ninth chapter illustrates the Indian Party system, its genesis and evolution along with analyzing the contemporary phase of coalition governments both at the centre and the state level. The re-alignment of the parties would be visible only at the time of the next general elections in 2009 and till then its going to be static. There is a mad rush to secure power at any cost and that’s how the party system is losing its ideological sharpness and commitment to various policies on their agenda. The most interesting chapter of the present book is ‘The Evolution of Indian Administration’ because of many reasons. It gives a detailed account of the genesis of the administrative system right from the times of Arthashastra of Kautilya. Even before the advent of the foreign rulers in the country, India did have a fairly developed system of administration traces of which can still be found in some structures or processes of the present–day system. Interesting example and a fact from history is that of the nomenclature of the officer ‘Samahartr’, in charge of preparing annual budget and accounts in Mauryan Empire, and continues to be used for officer-in-charge of the assessment and collection of revenues for organizations like Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Mughal administration was a combination and innovation called ‘Perso-Arabic,in Indian setting’. Administration during East India Company’s rule was mainly concerned with the collection of revenues. Various administrative reforms were undertaken for better management of company affairs and later under British crown’s rule to strengthen the hold on the colony. First World War saw increased association of Indians in every branch of administration and thus came gradual development of self-governance in India. After independence governmental functions expanded in scope and control and Panchayati Raj system along with urban local bodies were conceived of as a well –knit system of institutions to accelerate the development process. Local Self Government and Panchayati Raj make the premise of the 11th chapter. Grassroots democracy in the true sense of the term can only be realized by having rural local bodies gain autonomy and instill in the people the confidence of affair administration .After a long neglect of four decades the provisions of the 73rd constitutional amendment has given sweeping powers to the local administration. Now the basic framework of the Panchayati Raj is in place elaborating upon its functions, composition, reservation of seats etc. For regular, free and fair elections State Election Commissions have been set up .The most important provision is of adequate financial resources made available through government grants, loans, and proceeds from taxes, fees, income from property etc. With this system India stands out as one of the pioneers in taking the democracy to the grassroots- levels. Reservation of seats for women, scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes was also made mandatory .Though a lot of good intent has come on paper, much more is desired when it comes to implementation of the policy. The last chapter highlights the major issues like caste, religion, coalition politics, role of gender and environment in politics. Caste is the most prominent marker of social privilege and political parties in modern times prefer to engineer support by taking sides with one or other caste group. Gender and environment issues are relatively new in Indian politics but have found voice as people become more aware of their rights and would not let the government exploit their habitat and environment for the selfish gains of few in the garb of development. Thus democracy deepens in India. The present book wins hands down when it comes to analysis of key political issues, methodical approach, rich language and focused content. The authors offer a new look at contemporary Indian politics and open areas of inquiry. All the chapters begin with key objectives of learning and there are model questions at the end of the book which will be of immense help to the students as well as researchers.