Politics of India
fr:Politique de l'Inde sv:Indiens politikpt:Política da Índia
According to its constitution, India is a "sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic." Like the United States, India has a federal form of government. However, the central government in India has greater power in relation to its states, and its central government is patterned after the British parliamentary system. On several occasions, "the Centre", the national government, has dismissed state governments and imposed President's rule on several states.
The government exercises its broad administrative powers in the name of the President, whose duties are largely ceremonial. The president and vice president are elected indirectly for 5-year terms by a special electoral college. The vice president assumes the office of president in case of the death or resignation of the incumbent president.
Real national executive power is centered in the Council of Ministers (cabinet), led by the Prime Minister of India. The president appoints the prime minister, who is designated by legislators of the political party or coalition commanding a parliamentary majority. The president then appoints subordinate ministers on the advice of the prime minister.
India's bicameral parliament (also known as the Sansad) consists of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People). The Council of Ministers is responsible to the Lok Sabha.
The legislatures of the states and union territories elect 233 members to the Rajya Sabha, and the president appoints another 12, who are experts in science or the arts. The elected members of the Rajya Sabha serve 6-year terms, with one-third up for election every 2 years. The Lok Sabha consists of 545 members; 543 are directly elected to 5-year terms. The other two are appointed by the President if he feels that the Anglo-Indian Community is underrepresented.
India has 28 states and 7 union territories. At the state level, some of the legislatures are bicameral, patterned after the two houses of the national parliament. The states' chief ministers are responsible to the legislatures in the same way the prime minister is responsible to parliament.
Each state also has a presidentially appointed governor who may assume certain broad powers when directed by the central government. The central government exerts greater control over the union territories than over the states, although some territories have gained more power to administer their own affairs. Local governments in India have less autonomy than their counterparts in the United States. Some states are trying to revitalize the traditional village councils, or panchayats, which aim to promote popular democratic participation at the village level, where much of the population still lives.
India's independent judicial system began under the British, and its concepts and procedures resemble those of Anglo-Saxon countries. The Supreme Court consists of a chief justice and 25 other justices, all appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister. In the 1960s India moved away from using juries for most trials, finding them to be corrupt and ineffective, instead almost all trials are conducted by judges.
India had an effective police force that is far less corrupt than many others in the region. Its members have been known to rough up suspects, however, and have been frequently accused of trying to extract confessions.
India has not joined the International Criminal Court
Political Parties in India
Main article : List of political parties in India
On 22 May, 2004, Manmohan Singh was appointed the Prime Minister of India following the surprise victory of the Indian National Congress in the 2004 Lok Sabha election. Previously, Atal Bihari Vajpayee took office in October 1999 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, narrower-based regional parties. This process has been underway throughout much of the past decade and is likely to continue in the future.
With more than 655 million registered voters in 2004, India has often been called "the world's largest democracy".