Working of Institutions

Houses of Parliament

We are sure that you are aware of the parliament of the country. Too often you come across such news wherein the members of the parliament have taken some decisions for the country. But, have you ever wondered what gives parliament the power to do so? Who elects this body and what powers does it have? In this chapter, let us know more about the political institutions, parliament and its two houses. First, we will start with the need for such institutions.

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Need for Political Institutions

The government is responsible for providing various things and facilities to the people. It is responsible for providing security to the people. It constantly works for the welfare of the people. The government collects taxes. This way, it can get money to carry out various welfare programmes.

The money from the tax is also used for the maintenance of the government machinery. There are various organs and departments of the government with separate roles and responsibilities. These are the government institutions. We need such institutions in our country for the smooth functioning of the government.

Pertaining to civil matters, there are primarily three main institutions that are at work. They are as follows:

  • The Prime Minister and the Cabinet take important decisions on all policy matters.
  • The Civil Servants who comprise of the bureaucrats and they implement the decisions which are taken by the cabinet.
  • The Supreme Court plays a role whenever there is a dispute between the public interest and the government.

Disadvantages of Institutions

Presence of various institutions leads to a delay in the making of various decisions. This could be quite frustrating and troublesome for many common people in our country.

Advantages of Institutions

Presence of various institutions ensures that a broad consensus is arrived at before any major decision is taken. Institutions also prevent the governing bodies from making any bad decision.

Introduction to Parliament

In India, there are two houses of Parliament. They are the House of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of People (Lok Sabha). Rajya Sabha is the Upper House, while the Lok Sabha is the Lower House. Bicameral Legislature is this system of two houses in the legislature.

People directly elect the members of the Lok Sabha. On the other hand, indirect elections choose the members of the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha is more powerful compared to the Rajya Sabha. This is because Lok Sabha is directly elected by and answerable to the people. However, the Rajya Sabha has some special powers to look after the interests of states or regions.

The Role of Parliament

The Parliament is the final authority for making laws in the country. The task of making a law is called legislation. Hence, the parliament or the assemblies are called legislatures. The legislature can make a new law. It can also change the existing laws or abolish existing laws.

Parliaments have some control over those who run the government. In India, the control of the parliament is direct and full. A government is empowered to take a decision only till it enjoys the support of the Parliament.

In most of the democratic countries, the public money can only be spent after the sanction of the parliament. Parliament is the highest forum of discussion and debate on public issues and national policy in any country. Parliament has the right to seek information on any matter.

Both the houses need to pass any ordinary law. A bill can become a law only after both the houses pass it. In case of any difference between the houses, a joint session takes the final decision. Since the Lok Sabha has more members than the Rajya Sabha, so the view of the Lok Sabha is likely to prevail during a joint session.

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

Lok Sabha has more powers in case of money bills. Once the budget or any other money bill is passed by the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha cannot reject it. The Rajya Sabha can only delay it by 14 days or suggest changes in it. The Lok Sabha may or may not accept those changes.

The Lok Sabha controls the Council of Ministers. A person who enjoys the majority support in the Lok Sabha becomes the Prime Minister of the country. Once the Lok Sabha says that its members have ‘no confidence’ in the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister and all the ministers have to quit. The Rajya Sabha does not enjoy this power.


Political Executive

The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers constitute the political executive. The task of the Council of Ministers is to execute the programmes and policies of the government. Hence, it is called the executive. People elect the members of the political executive.

Permanent Executive

The Civil Servants form the permanent executive. All India Civil Services exam select these candidates. They continue their job even if the government changes. Since the political executive is answerable to the people, hence, it enjoys more power than the permanent executive. However, people in the permanent executive are technically more knowledgeable and capable compared to those in the political executive.

Solved Example

Q1. What is the tenure of the members of the Rajya Sabha?

  1. 3 Years
  2. 5 Years
  3. 4 Years
  4. 6 Years

Sol: The correct answer is the option ”d”. Rajya Sabha is a permanent House and is not subject to dissolution. However, one-third Members of Rajya Sabha retire after every second year. A member who is elected to a full term serves for a period of six years.

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