Indian Polity | Complete Notes

JAMMU AND KASHMIR REORGANISATION ACT, 2019

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 was enacted to provide for reorganization of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into the two union territories – one to be eponymously called Jammu and Kashmir, and the other 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.
  • Accordingly, the “State Legislature including 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”.

CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) ACT

  • The Citizenship Act was amended by the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
  • The amended 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.
  • It is 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.
  • The provisions of the Act, however, do not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the areas where ‘The Inner Line Permit’ is applicable including the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur.

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

  • The Constitution offers all citizens, individually and collectively, some basic freedoms. These are guaranteed in the Constitution in the form of six broad categories of Fundamental Rights which are justifiable.
  • Articles 12 to 35 contained in Part III of the Constitution deal with Fundamental Rights.

FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES

  • By the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution, adopted in 1976, Fundamental Duties of the citizens have also been enumerated.
  • Article 51 ‘A’ contained in Part IV A of the Constitution deals with Fundamental Duties.

DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY

  • The Constitution lays down certain Directive Principles of State Policy, which though not justifiable, are ‘fundamental in governance of the country’ and it is the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws.
  • These have been contained in Part IV from Articles 36 to 51 of the Constitution.

THE UNION EXECUTIVE

The Union executive consists of the President, the Vice-President and the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as the head to aid and advise the President.

President

  • The 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.
  • His term of office is five years and he is eligible for re-election.
  • His removal from office is to be in accordance with procedure prescribed in Article 61 of the Constitution.

Vice-President

  • The Vice-President is 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.
  • While so acting, he ceases to perform the function of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Council of Ministers

  • There is a Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister, to aid and advise the President in exercise of his functions.
  • The Prime Minister is appointed by the President who also appoints other ministers on the advice of Prime Minister. The Council is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.

LEGISLATURE

  • The legislature of the Union which is called Parliament, consists of the President and two Houses, known as Council of States (Rajya Sabha), and House of the People (Lok Sabha).
  • Each House has to meet within six months of its previous sitting. A joint sitting of two Houses can be held in certain cases.
  • Qualification: In order to be chosen a member of Parliament, a person must be a citizen of India and not less than 30 years of age in the case of Rajya Sabha and not less than 25 years of age in the case of Lok Sabha.
  • The Leaders of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha are accorded statutory recognition. Salary and other suitable facilities are extended to them through a separate legislation brought into force on November 1, 1977.

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES

Broadly, Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds: (1) Standing Committees and (2) Ad Hoc Committees

Standing Committees:

  • These are elected or 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—keep an unremitting vigil over Government expenditure and performance.
  • Besides these three financial committees, the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha recommended setting-up of 24 Department Related Standing Committees (DRSCs).

Ad Hoc Committees:

  • These are appointed on an ad hoc basis as need arises and they cease to exist as soon as they complete the task assigned to them.
  • Such committees may be broadly classified under two heads:
    • 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, and
    • Select or Joint Committees on Bills which are appointed to consider and report on a particular bill.

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.

COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is 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 duties, powers and conditions of service of the CAG have been specified by the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Power and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

  • The Attorney-General for India is appointed by the President of India. Any person qualified to be a judge of the Supreme Court can be appointed for the post.
  • The Attorney-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, and shall receive such remuneration as the President may determine.

SOLICITOR GENERAL OF INDIA

  • The Solicitor General of India is the government’s chief legal advisor, and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.
  • The Solicitor General of India is the secondary law officer of the country, assists the Attorney- General, and is himself assisted by several Additional Solicitors General of India.
  • 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.

ADMINISTRATIVE SET-UP

  • The Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 are made by the President of India under Clause (3) of Article 77 of the Constitution for allocation of business of Government of India.
  • The ministries/departments of the Government are created by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister under these rules.

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 (i) secretarial assistance to the Cabinet and Cabinet Committees; and (ii) rules of business.

NATIONAL AUTHORITY FOR CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION

  • The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons (CWC) is a multi-lateral international treaty which outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors.
  • The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague, Netherlands is the ‘treaty organisation’ for the CWC.
  • The National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC) was set up as an office of the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India to fulfil the obligations under the CWC.

NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY

In 2005, the government enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of following bodies to implement a holistic approach to disaster management in the country.

  • 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.

ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS AND PUBLIC GRIEVANCES

  • The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) is the nodal agency of the Government of India for administrative reforms as well as redressal of public grievances relating to the states and central government agencies.
  • The Government of India celebrates April 21 every year as ‘Civil Services Day.’ On this date, first Home Minister of Independent India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel addressed the first batch of Indian Administrative Services officers in New Delhi.
  • On ‘Civil Services Day’, the Prime Minister confers “Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration” to acknowledge, recognize and reward the extraordinary and innovative work done by officers of the central and state governments.
  • DARPG along with the Ministry of Electronics and information Technology, in association with one of the state governments, organizes the National Conference on e-Governance every year since 1997.
  • National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment (NeSDA) aims at assessing the states, UTs and central ministries on the depth and efficiency of e-Governance service delivery.

COMMONWEALTH ASSOCIATION FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT (CAPAM)

  • CAPAM, with its headquarters at Ottawa, Canada, is an organization dedicated to strengthening public management and consolidating democracy and good governance in the Commonwealth. It was formed in 1994.
  • The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India became an institutional member of CAPAM in 1997.

RECRUITMENT AGENCIES

  • The two organizations through which the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) ensures recruitment of personnel for the government are the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Staff Selection Commission (SSC).
  • UPSC is responsible for conducting examinations for appointment to the higher civil services and civil posts; including recruitment to the All India Services.
  • The SSC is responsible for making recruitment to subordinate staff such as Assistants, Stenographers etc.

RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005

  • The Act gives all the citizens the right to seek information held by anybody established under the Constitution; or by any other law; or by notification issued or order made by the central government or a state government.
  • Bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by the central government or a state government and non-government organizations substantially financed by the central government or a state government also fall within the definition of public authority.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

  • Article 343 (1) of the Constitution provides that Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the official language of the Union.
  • Article 343 (2) also 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.
  • Department of Official Language was set up in 1975 as an independent department of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The Department has Rajbhasha Keerti Puraskar Yojana for awarding the outstanding achievements in the implementation of Official Language Policy of the Union.
  • The Kendriya Hindi Samiti was constituted in 1967. Chaired by Prime Minister it is the apex policy making body which lays the guidelines for the propagation and progressive use of Hindi as 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 Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Council.

ZONAL COUNCIL

  • 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.
  • The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of all the zonal councils.

THE STATES

  • The system of government in states closely resembles that of the Union.
  • Executive power of the state is vested in Governor. 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 Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as head, aids and advises Governor in exercise of his functions except in so far as he is by or under the Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.
  • For every state, there is a legislature which consists of Governor and one House or, two Houses as the case may be.

UNION TERRITORIES

  • India comprises 28 states and eight union territories.
  • Union territories are administrated by the President acting to such extent, as he thinks fit, through an administrator appointed by him.
  • The National Capital Territory of Delhi, Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry each has a Legislative Assembly and Council of Ministers.

Municipalities

  • The first Municipal Corporation in India was set up in the former Presidency Town of Madras in 1688; and later in Bombay and Calcutta in 1726.
  • To provide for a common framework for urban local bodies, Parliament enacted the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 (known as Nagarpalika Act) relating to municipalities in 1992.

Panchayats

  • Article 40 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall take steps to organize village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.
  • A new Part IX relating to the panchayats was inserted in the Constitution to provide for Gram Sabha in a village or group of villages and constitution of panchayats at village and other level or levels.

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 responsible for conduct of elections to Parliament and to legislatures of the states and the union territories and elections to the offices of President and Vice-President held under the Constitution.
  • Based on performance criteria laid down in the Elections Symbols (reservation & allotment) Order 1968, the Commission grants recognition to political parties as national or state parties.
  • It also decides disputes relating to split/mergers of recognized political parties.
  • At the state level, the election work is supervised by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state, who is appointed by the Commission by selection from amongst senior civil servants of the state government.
  • Election Commission of India launched the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM), an advanced resource centre of learning, research, training and extension for electoral democracy and election management. The Institute presently functions from New Delhi.
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