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The Polity


The Union and its Territory

India comprises 28 States and 7 Union Territories. They are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Union Territories are : Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, National Capital Territory of Delhi, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.


The Constitution of India provides for a single citizenship for the whole of India. Every person who was at the commencement of the Constitution (26 January 1950) domiciled in the territory of India, and (a) who was born in India, or (b) either of whose parents was born in India, or (c) who has been ordinarily resident in India for not less than five years, became a citizen of India. The Citizenship Act, 1955 deals with matters relating to acquisition, determination and termination of Indian citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution.

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 justiciable. Article 12 to 35 contained in Part III of the Constitution deal with Fundamental Rights. These are:

(i) right to equality, including equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment;

(ii) right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation (some of these rights are subject to security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality);

(iii) right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labour, child labour and traffic in human beings;

(iv) right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion;

(v) right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice; and

(vi) right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of 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. These enjoin upon a citizen among other things, to abide by the Constitution, to cherish and follow noble ideals, which inspired India's struggle for freedom, to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so, and to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.

Directive Principles of State Policy

The Constitution lays down certain Directive Principles of State Policy, which though not justiciable, are ‘fundamental in governance of the country', and it is the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws. These lay down that the State shall strive to promote the welfare of people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may, a social order, in which justice—social, economic and political—shall form in all institutions of national life. The State shall direct its policy in such a manner as to secure the right of all men and women to an adequate means of livelihood, equal pay for equal work and within limits of its economic capacity and development, to make effective provision for securing the right to work, education and to public assistance in the event of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement or other cases of undeserved want. The State shall also endeavour to secure to workers a living wage, humane conditions of work, a decent standard of life, and full involvement of workers in management of industries.

In the economic sphere, the State is to direct its policy in such a manner as to secure distribution of ownership and control of material resources of community to subserve the common good, and to ensure that operation of economic system does not result in concentration of wealth and means of production to common detriment.

Some of the other important directives relate to provision of opportunities and facilities for children to develop in a healthy manner; free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14; promotion of education and economic interests of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections; organisation of village panchayats ; separation of judiciary from executive; promulgation of a uniform civil code for whole country; protection of national monuments; promotion of justice on a basis of equal opportunity; provision of free legal aid; protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife of the country; promotion of international peace and security; just and honourable relations between nations; respect for international law; treaty obligations; and settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

The Union

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.


The President is elected by members of an electoral college consisting of elected members of both Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of the states in accordance with the system of proportional representation, by means of single transferable vote. To secure uniformity among state inter se, as well as parity between the states as a whole, and the Union, suitable weightage is given to each vote. The President must be a citizen of India, not less than 35 years of age, and qualified for election as 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. He may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Vice-President, resign his office.

Executive power of the Union is vested in the President, and is exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution. Supreme command of defence forces of the Union also vests in him. The President summons, prorogues, addresses, sends messages to Parliament and dissolves the Lok Sabha, promulgates Ordinances at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, makes recommendations for introducing financial and money bills and gives assent to bills, grants pardons, reprieves, respites or remission of punishment or suspends, and remits or commutes sentences in certain cases. When there is a failure of the constitutional machinery in a state, he can assume to himself all, or any of the functions of the government of that state. The President can proclaim emergency in the country if he is satisfied that a grave emergency exists, whereby security of India or any part of its territory is threatened, whether by war or external aggression or armed rebellion.


The Vice-President is elected by members of an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. He must be a citizen of India, not less than 35 years of age, and eligible for election as a member of the Rajya 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 67 b.

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 (to be held within six months when a vacancy is caused by death, resignation or removal or otherwise of 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. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to communicate to the President all decisions of Council of Ministers relating to administration of affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation and information relating to them.

The Council of Ministers comprises Ministers who are members of Cabinet, Ministers of State (independent charge), Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.

The Union: Legislature

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.

Rajya Sabha

The Constitution provides that the Rajya Sabha shall consist of 250 members, of which 12 members shall be nominated by the President from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service; and not more than 238 representatives of the States and of the Union Territories. Rajya Sabha Chamber

Elections to the Rajya Sabha are indirect; members representing States are elected by elected members of legislative assemblies of the States in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and those representing Union Territories are chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law prescribe. The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution; one-third of its members retire every second year.

Rajya Sabha, at present, has 245 seats. Of these, 233 members represent the States and the Union Territories, and 12 members are nominated by the President.

Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage. The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is now 552 (530 members to represent States, 20 to represent Union Territories, and not more than two members of the Anglo-Indian community to be nominated by the President, if, in his opinion, that community is not adequately represented in the House). The total elective membership of the Lok Sabha is distributed among States in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each State and population of the State is, as far as practicable, the same for all States. The Lok Sabha at present consists of 545 members. Of these, 530 members are directly elected from the States and 13 from Union Territories, while two are nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community. Following the Constitution 84th Amendment Act, the total number of existing seats as allocated to various States in the Lok Sabha on the basis of the 1971 census, shall remain unaltered till the first census to be taken after the year 2026. Lok Sabha Chamber

The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved earlier, is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time, and not extending in any case, beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate. Fourteen Lok Sabhas have been constituted so far.

Qualification for Membership of Parliament

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. Additional qualifications may be prescribed by Parliament by law.

Functions and Powers of Parliament

As in other parliamentary democracies, the Parliament in India has the cardinal functions of legislation, overseeing of administration, passing of the Budget, ventilation of public grievances and discussing various subjects like development plans, national policies and international relations. The distribution of powers between the Union and the States, followed in the Constitution, emphasises in many ways the general predominance of Parliament in the legislative field. Apart from a wide-range of subjects, even in normal times, the Parliament can, under certain circumstances, assume legislative power with respect to a subject falling within the sphere exclusively reserved for the States. The Parliament is also vested with powers to impeach the President and to remove the Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts, the Chief Election Commissioner and the Comptroller and Auditor General in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution.

All legislation require consent of both the Houses of Parliament. In the case of money bills, however, the will of the Lok Sabha prevails. Delegated legislation is also subject to review and control by Parliament. Besides the power to legislate, the Constitution vests in Parliament the power to initiate amendment of the Constitution.

The Union: Parliamentary Committees

The functions of Parliament are not only varied in nature, but considerable in volume. The time at its disposal is limited. It cannot make very detailed scrutiny of all legislative and other matters that come up before it. A good deal of Parliamentary business is, therefore, transacted in the committees.

Both Houses of Parliament have a similar committee structure, with a few exceptions. Their appointment, terms of office, functions and procedure of conducting business are also more or less similar and are regulated as per rules made by the two Houses under Article 118(1) of the Constitution.

Broadly, Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds—Standing Committees and ad hoc Committees. The former are elected or appointed every year or periodically and their work goes on, more or less, on a continuous basis. The latter 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.

Standing Committees : Among the Standing Committees, the three Financial Committees—Committees on Estimates, Public Accounts and Public Undertakings—constitute a distinct group as they keep an unremitting vigil over Government expenditure and performance. While members of the Rajya Sabha are associated with Committees on Public Accounts and Public Undertakings, the members of the Committee on Estimates are drawn entirely from the Lok Sabha.

The Estimates Committee reports on ‘what economies, improvements in organisation, efficiency or administrative reform consistent with policy underlying the estimates’ may be effected. It also examines whether the money is well laid out within limits of the policy implied in the estimates and suggests the form in which estimates shall be presented to Parliament. The Public Accounts Committee scrutinises appropriation and finance accounts of Government and reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General. It ensures that public money is spent in accordance with Parliament’s decision and calls attention to cases of waste, extravagance, loss or nugatory expenditure. The Committee on Public Undertakings examines reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, if any. It also examines whether public undertakings are being run efficiently and managed in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.

Besides these three Financial Committees, the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha recommended setting-up of 17 Department Related Standing Committees (DRSCs). Accordingly, 17 Department Related Standing Committees were set up on 8 April 1993. In July 2004, rules were amended to provide for the constitution of seven more such committees, thus raising the number of DRSCs from 17 to 24. The functions of these Committees are : (a) to consider the Demands for Grants of various Ministries/Departments of Government of India and make reports to the Houses; (b) to examine such Bills as are referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha, as the case may be, and make reports thereon; (c) to consider Annual Reports of ministries/departments and make reports thereon; and (d) to consider policy documents presented to the Houses, if referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha, as the case may be, and make reports thereon.

Other Standing Committees in each House, divided in terms of their functions, are (i) Committees to Inquire: (a) Committee on Petitions examines petitions on bills and on matters of general public interest and also entertains representations on matters concerning subjects in the Union List; and (b) Committee of Privileges examines any question of privilege referred to it by the House or Speaker/Chairman; (ii) Committees to Scrutinise : (a) Committee on Government Assurances keeps track of all the assurances, promises, undertakings, etc., given by Ministers in the House and pursues them till they are implemented; (b) Committee on Subordinate Legislation scrutinises and reports to the House whether the power to make regulations, rules, sub-rules, bye-laws, etc., conferred by the Constitution or Statutes is being properly exercised by the delegated authorities; and (c) Committee on Papers Laid on the Table examines all papers laid on the table of the House by Ministers, other than statutory notifications and orders which come within the purview of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation, to see whether there has been compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, Act, rule or regulation under which the paper has been laid; (iii) Committees relating to the day-today business of the House: (a) Business Advisory Committee recommends allocation of time for items of Government and other business to be brought before the Houses; (b) Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions of the Lok Sabha classifies and allocates time to Bills introduced by private members, recommends allocation of time for discussion on private members’ resolutions and examines Constitution amendment bills before their introduction by private members in the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha does not have such a committee. It is the Business Advisory Committee of that House which recommends allocation of time for discussion on stage or stages of private members’ bills and resolutions; (c) Rules Committee considers matters of procedure and conduct of business in the House and recommends amendments or additions to the Rules; and (d) Committee on Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House of the Lok Sabha considers all applications from members for leave or absence from sittings of the House. There is no such Committee in the Rajya Sabha. Applications from members for leave or absence are considered by the House itself; (iv) Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, on which members from both Houses serve, considers all matters relating to the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes which come within the purview of the Union Government and keeps a watch whether constitutional safeguards in respect of these classes are properly implemented; (v) Committees concerned with the provision of facilities to members : (a) General Purposes Committee considers and advises Speaker/ Chairman on matters concerning affairs of the House, which do not appropriately fall within the purview of any other Parliamentary Committee; and (b) House Committee deals with residential accommodation and other amenities for members; (vi) Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament, constituted under the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, apart from framing rules for regulating payment of salary, allowances and pension to Members of Parliament, also frames rules in respect of amenities like medical, housing, telephone, postal, constituency and secretarial facility; (vii) Joint Committee on Offices of Profit examines the composition and character of committees and other bodies appointed by the Central and State governments and Union Territories Administrations and recommends what offices ought to or ought not to disqualify a person from being chosen as a member of either House of Parliament; (viii) The Library Committee consisting of members from both Houses, considers matters concerning the Library of Parliament; (ix) On 29 April 1997, a Committee on Empowerment of Women with members from both the Houses was constituted with a view to securing, among other things, status, dignity and equality for women in all fields; (x) On 4 March 1997, the Ethics Committee of the Rajya Sabha was constituted. The Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha was constituted on 16 May 2000.

Ad hoc Committees : Such Committees may be broadly classified under two heads : (a) 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, (e.g., Committees on the Conduct of certain Members during President’s Address, Committees on Draft Five-Year Plans, Railway Convention Committee, Committee on Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme, Joint Committee on Bofors Contracts, Joint Committee on Fertilizer Pricing, Joint Committee to enquire into irregularities in securities and banking transactions, Joint Committee on Stock Market Scam, Joint Committees on Security in Parliament Complex, Committee on Provision of Computers for Members of Parliament, Offices of Political Parties and Officers of the Lok Sabha Secretariat; Committee on Food Management in Parliament House Complex; Committee on Installation of Portraits/Statues of National Leaders and Parliamentarians in Parliament House Complex, etc.), and (b) Select or Joint Committees on Bills which are appointed to consider and report on a particular Bill. These Committees are distinguishable from the other ad hoc committees inasmuch as they are concerned with Bills and the procedure to be followed by them as laid down in the Rules of Procedure and Directions by the Speaker/Chairman.

The Union: Leaders of Opposition in Parliament

In keeping with their important role, 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 1 November 1977.

The Union: Governmant Business in Parliament

The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs is entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating, planning and arranging Government Business in both Houses of Parliament. In the discharge of this function, he is assisted by his Ministers of State. The Minister also keeps close and constant contact with the presiding officers, the leaders as well as chief whips and whips of various parties and groups in both the Houses of Parliament. During the period 1 June 2005 to 31 May 2006, both Houses of Parliament passed 58 Bills.

The Union: Consulative Committees

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs constitutes Consultative Committees of Members of both the Houses of Parliament, which are attached to various Ministries, and arranges meetings thereof. The Minister/Minister of State incharge of the Ministry concerned acts as the chairman of the Consultative Committee of that Ministry.

The main purpose of these Committees is to provide a forum for informal discussions between the Government and Members of Parliament on policies and programmes of the Government and the manner of their implementation. Meetings of these Committees are held both during the session and intersession period of Parliament. After the constitution of the 14th Lok Sabha, 29 Consultative Committees attached to various Ministries were constituted. Besides this, 16 Informal Consultative Committees of the sixteen Railway Zones have also been constituted. Unlike the Consultative Committees attached to the Ministries, meetings, of these Informal Consultative Committees are to be arranged during Session periods only.

189 meetings of the Consultative Committees were held till 31 May 2006 after the constitution of the 14th Lok Sabha including 114 meetings held during the year 2005.

The Union: Nomination of Members of Parliament on Government Committees/Bodies

The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs nominates Members of Parliament on Committees, Councils, Boards and Commissions, etc., set-up by the Government of India in various Ministries (except in case of statutory or other bodies where the statute or the bye-laws framed thereunder provides that the Member of Parliament to be appointed thereon will be nominated by the Presiding Officers of the respective Houses or will be elected by the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha, as the case may be). The Members are nominated on such Bodies keeping in view their aptitude and special interest in the subject.

The Union: Youth Parliament Competition

In order to develop democratic ethos in the younger generation the Ministry conducts youth parliament Competition in various categories of schools and colleges/universities. The youth parliament Scheme was first introduced in the Schools in Delhi in 1966-67. Kendriya Vidyalayas located in and around Delhi were incorporated into the ongoing Scheme for Delhi Schools in 1978. Subsequently, as separate scheme of youth parliament for Kendriya Vidyalayas at the National Level was launched in 1988. Similarly, in 1997-98, two new youth Parliament Schemes at the national level, one for Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and the other for niversities/Colleges were launched.

During 2005-06, the 40th Youth Parliament Competition for Delhi Schools was completed and 46 schools participated. The 18th National Youth Parliament Competition for Kendriya Vidyalayas was held and 90 Kendriya Vidyalayas participated. The 9th National Youth Parliament Competition for Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas is in progress. The Eighth National Youth Parliament Competition for Universities/Colleges is also in progress.

The Union: Other Parliamentary Matters

All India Whips Confrence

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India has been organising All India Whips’ Conference from time to time, with the purpose of establishing suitable links among the whips of various political parties at the Centre and the States who are concerned with the practical working of the legislatures to discuss matters of common interest and to evolve high standards to strengthen the institution of Parliamentary Democracy. The Thirteenth All India Whips’ Conference was held in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh from 4-5 February 2005.

Matters Under Rule 377 and Special Mentions

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs takes follow-up action on matters raised under Rule 377 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and by way of Special Mentions in Rajya Sabha. Also after ‘Question Hour’ in both the Houses of Parliament, Members raise matters of urgent public importance. Though it is not mandatory, Ministers sometimes react to the points made by the Members. In the absence of concerned Minister the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs assures the House or the individual Members that their sentiments would be conveyed to the concerned Ministers.

Implementation of Assurances

The Ministry culls out assurances, promises, undertakings, etc., given by Ministers in both the Houses of Parliament, from the daily proceedings and forwards them to the concerned Ministries/Departments for implementation, Statements showing action taken by the Government in implementation of the assurances, after due scrutiny of the implementation of the assurances, after due scrutiny of the implementation reports received from the various Ministries/ Departments concerned, are laid periodically on the table of the Houses by Minister/Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs.

The Union: Administrative Set-up

The Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 are made by the President of India under Article 77 of the Constitution for the allocation of business of the Government of India. The Ministries/Departments of the Government are created by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister under these Rules. The business of the Government are transacted in the Ministries/Departments, Secretariats and offices (referred to as ‘Department') as per the distribution of subjects specified in these Rules. Each of the Ministries is assigned to a Minister by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. Each department is generally under the charge of a Secretary to assist the Minister on policy matters and general administration.

Cabinet Secretariet The Cabinet Secretariat is under the direct charge of 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.

In the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 ‘Cabinet Secretariat’ finds a place in the First Schedule to the Rules. The subjects allotted to this Secretariat are : (i) Secretarial assistance to Cabinet and Cabinet Committees; and (ii) Rules of Business.

The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 and the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961, facilitating smooth transaction of business in Ministries/Departments of the Government by ensuring adherence to these rules. The Secretariat assists in decision-making in Government by ensuring Inter-Ministerial coordination, ironing out differences amongst Ministries/Departments and evolving consensus through the instrumentality of the standing and ad hoc Committees of Secretaries. Through this mechanism, new policy initiatives are also promoted.

The Cabinet Secretariat ensures that the President, the Vice-President and Ministers are kept informed of the major activities of all Ministries/Departments by means of monthly summary of their activities. Management of major crisis situations in the country and coordinating activities of various Ministries in such a situation is also one of the functions of the Cabinet Secretariat.

The Cabinet Secretariat is seen as a useful mechanism by the departments for promoting inter-Ministerial coordination since the Cabinet Secretary is also the head of the civil services. The Secretaries felt it necessary to keep the Cabinet Secretary informed of developments from time to time. The Transaction of Business Rules also require them to keep the Cabinet Secretary informed specially if there are any departures from these rules.

National Authority, Chemical Weapons Convention

National Authority, Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was set up by a resolution of Cabinet Secretariat dated 5 May 1997 to fulfil the obligations enunciated in the Chemical Weapons Convention initially signed by 130 countries in a conference which concluded on 14 January 1993 for the purpose prohibiting of the development, production, execution, transfer, use and stockpiling of all chemical weapons by Member-States is a non-discriminatory process. To fulfil its obligations, each State Party has to designate or establish a National Authority to serve as the national focal point for effective liaison with Organisation for Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and other State Parties and hence the NA, CWC under the administrative control of the Cabinet Secretariat was set-up.

A high-level steering committee under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary with Secretary (Chemical and Petrochemicals), Foreign Secretary, Secretary, Defence Research and Development, Defence Secretary and Chairman, National Authority as its other members would oversee the functions of the National Authority. The NA, CWC is responsible for implementation of CWC Act, liaison with CWC and other State Parties, Collection of data fulfilling of declaration obligations, negotiating facility agreements, coordinating OPCW inspections, providing appropriate facilities for training national inspectors and industry personnel, ensuring protection of confidential business information, checking declarations for consistency, accuracy and completeness, registration of entitles engaged in activities related to CWC, etc.

Ministries/Departments of the Government

The Government consists of a number of Ministries/Departments, number and character varying from time to time on factors such as volume of work importance attached to certain items, changes of orientation, political expediency, etc. On 15 August 1947, the number of Ministries at the Centre was 18.

List of the Ministries/Departments (as on 30.9.2006)

1. Ministry of Agriculture (Krishi Mantralaya)

  • Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (Krishi aur Sahkarita Vibhag)
  • Department of Agricultural Research and Education (Krishi Anusandhan aur Shiksha Vibhag)
  • Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (Pashupalan aur Dairy Vibhag)

2. Ministry of Agro and Rural Industries (Krishi Evam Gramin Udyog Mantralaya)

3. Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers (Rasayan aur Urvarak Mantralaya)

  • Department of Chemicals and Petro-Chemicals (Rasayan aur Petro-Rasayan Vibhag)
  • Department of Fertilizers (Urvarak Vibhag)

4. Ministry of Civil Aviation (Nagar Vimanan Mantralaya)

5. Ministry of Coal (Koyala Mantralaya)

6. Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Vanijya aur Udyog Mantralaya)

  • Department of Commerce (Vanijya Vibhag)
  • Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (Audyogik Niti aur Samvardhan Vibhag)

7. Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (Sanchar aur Soochana Praudyogiki Mantralaya)

  • Department of Telecommunications (Doorsanchar Vibhag)
  • Department of Post (Dak Vibhag)
  • Department of Information Technology (Soochana Praudyogiki Vibhag)

8. Ministry of Company Affairs (Company Karya Mantralya)

9. Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (Upbhokta Mamle, Khadya aur Sarvajanik Vitaran Mantralaya)

  • Department of Consumer Affairs (Upbhokta Mamle Vibhag)
  • Department of Food and Public Distribution (Khadya aur Sarvajanik Vitaran Vibhag)

10. Ministry of Defence (Raksha Mantralaya)

  • Department of Defence (Raksha Vibhag)
  • Department of Defence Production and Supplies (Raksha Utpadan aur Aapoorti Vibhag)
  • Department of Defence Research and Development (Raksha Anusandhan aur Vikas Vibhag)

11. Ministry of Earth Sciences (Bhoo Vigyan Mantralaya)

12. Ministry of Environment and Forests (Paryavaran aur Van Mantralaya)

13. Ministry of External Affairs (Videsh Mantralaya)

14. Ministry of Finance (Vitta Mantralaya)

  • Department of Economic Affairs (Arthik Karya Vibhag)
  • Department of Expenditure (Vyaya Vibhag)
  • Department of Revenue (Rajaswa Vibhag)
  • Department of Disinvestment (Vinivesh Vibhag)

15. Ministry of Food Processing Industries (Khadya Prasanskaran Udyog Mantralaya)

16. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Swasthya aur Parivar Kalyan Mantralaya)

  • Department of Health (Swasthya Vibhag)
  • Department of Family Welfare (Parivar Kalyan Vibhag)
  • Department of Ayurveda, Yoga-Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (Ayurveda, Yoga-Prakritik Chikitsa Paddhati, Unani, Siddha aur Homoeopathy Vibhag)

17. Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises (Bhari Udyog aur Lok Udyam Mantralaya)

  • Department of Heavy Industries (Bhari Udyog Vibhag)
  • Department of Public Enterprises (Lok Udyam Vibhag)

18. Ministry of Home Affairs (Grih Mantralaya)

  • Department of Internal Security (Antarik Suraksha Vibhag)
  • Department of States (Rajya Vibhag)
  • Department of Official Language (Raj Bhasha Vibhag)
  • Department of Home (Grih Vibhag)
  • Department of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs (Jammu tatha Kashmir Vibhag)

19. Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (Aawas aur Shahari Garibi Upshaman Mantralaya)

20. Ministry of Human Resource Development (Manav Sansadhan Vikas Mantralaya)

  • Department of Elementary Education and Literacy (Prarambhik Shiksha aur Saksharta Vibhag)
  • Department of Secondary Education and Higher Education (Madhyamik aur Uchchatar Shiksha Vibhag)
  • Department of Women and Child Development (Mahila aur Bal Vikas Vibhag)

21. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Soochana aur Prasaran Mantralaya)

22. Ministry of Labour and Employment (Shram aur Rozgar Mantralaya)

23. Ministry of Law and Justice (Vidhi aur Nyaya Mantralaya)

  • Department of Legal Affairs (Vidhi Karya Vibhag)
  • Legislative Department (Vidhayee Vibhag)
  • Department of Justice (Nyaya Vibhag)

24. Ministry of Mines (Khan Mantralaya)

25. Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (Aparamparik Oorja Srota Mantralaya)

26. Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs (Apravasi Bharatiyon Ke Mamalon Ka Mantralya)

27. Ministry of Panchayati Raj (Panchayati Raj Mantralaya)

28. Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (Sansadiya Karya Mantralaya)

29. Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (Karmik Lok Shikayat tatha Pension Mantralaya)

  • Department of Personnel and Training (Karmik aur Prashikshan Vibhag)
  • Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (Prashasanik Sudhar aur Lok Shikayat Vibhag)
  • Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare (Pension aur Pension Bhogi Kalyan Vibhag)

30. Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (Petroleum aur Prakritik Gas Mantralaya)

31. Ministry of Planning (Yojana Mantralaya)

32. Ministry of Power (Oorja Mantralaya)

33. Ministry of Railways (Rail Mantralaya)

34. Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways (Pot Parivahan, Sarak Parivahan aur Raj Marg Mantralaya)

35. Ministry of Rural Development (Gramin Vikas Mantralaya)

  • Department of Rural Development (Gramin Vikas Vibhag)
  • Department of Land Resources (Bhumi Sansadhan Vibhag)
  • Department of Drinking Water Supply (Peya Jal Poorti Vibhag)

36. Ministry of Science and Technology (Vigyan aur Praudyogiki Mantralaya)

  • Department of Science and Technology (Vigyan aur Praudyogiki Vibhag)
  • Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (Vigyan aur Audyogik Anusandhan Vibhag)
  • Department of Bio-Technology (Biotechnology Vibhag)

37. Ministry of Small-Scale Industries (Laghu Udyog Mantralaya)

38. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (Samajik Nyaya aur Adhikarita Mantralaya)

39. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (Sankhyiki aur Karyakram Kiryanvayan Mantralaya)

40. Ministry of Steel (Ispat Mantralaya)

41. Ministry of Textiles (Vastra Mantralaya)

42. Ministry of Tourism and Culture (Paryatan evam Sanskriti Mantralaya)

43. Ministry of Tribal Affairs (Janjatiya Karya Mantralaya)

44. Ministry of Urban Development (Shahari Vikas Mantralaya)

45. Ministry of Water Resources (Jal Sansadhan Mantralaya)

46. Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (Yuva Karyakram aur Khel Mantralaya)

47. Department of Atomic Energy (Parmanu Oorja Vibhag)

48. Department of Space (Antariksh Vibhag)

49. Cabinet Secretariat (Mantrimandal Sachivalaya)

50. President’s Secretariat (Rashtrapati Sachivalaya)

51. Prime Minister’s Office (Pradhan Mantri Karyalaya)

52. Planning Commission (Yojana Ayog)

53. Department of Development of North-Eastern Region (Uttar Poorvi Kshetra Vikas Vibhag)

The Union: Public Services

ALL INDIA SERVICES Prior to Independence, the Indian Civil Service (ICS) was the senior most amongst the Services of the Crown in India. Besides the ICS, there was also the Indian Police Service. After Independence, it was felt that though the ICS was a legacy of the imperial period, there was need for the All India Services for maintaining the unity, integrity and stability of the nation. Accordingly, a provision was made in Article 312 of the Constitution for creation of one or more All India Services common to the Union and State. The Indian Administrative Service and The Indian Police Service are deemed to be constituted by the Parliament in terms of Article 312 of the Constitution. After the promulgation of the Constitution, a new All India Service, namely, The Indian Forest Service, was created in 1966. A common unique feature of the All India Services is that the members of these services are recruited by the Centre, but their services are placed under various State cadres, and they have the liability to serve both under the State and under the Centre. This aspect of the All India Services strengthens the unitary character of the Indian federation.

Of the three All India Services, namely, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Police Service (IPS), and the Indian Forest Service (IFS), the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions is the cadre controlling authority for the IAS. The recruitment to all the three services is made by the UPSC. These officers are recruited and trained by the Central Government, and then allotted to differen t State cadres. There are now 24 State cadres including three Joint cadres, namely, (i) Assam and Meghalaya, (ii) Manipur and Tripura, and (iii) Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and the Union Territories (AGMUT).

CENTRAL SECRETARIAT SERVICES The Central Secretariat has three services, namely, (i) Central Secretariat Services (CSS), (ii) Central Secretariat Stenographers' Services (CSSS) and (iii) the Central Secretariat Clerical Service (CSCS). The Section Officers' Grade and Assistants' Grade of CSS, Steno Grade ‘D' , ‘C', ‘A' , and ‘B' (merged) of CSSS and LDC and UDC are decentralised. The grades of Principal Private Secretary and Senior Principal Private Secretary of CSSS and selection grade, and Grade I of CSS are centralised. Appointments and promotions in the Centralised Grades are made on all secretariat basis. In respect of the decentralised grades, Department of Personnel and Training monitors and assesses the overall requirements of different cadres for fixing zones of promotion against the vacancies in seniority quota and arranges centralised recruitment against direct recruitment and departmental examination quota vacancies through open competitive and departmental examination.

Pursuant to the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, the Government set-up a committee on the Cadre Restructuring of CSS in February 2001. The committee submitted its Report in February 2002, making several recommended actions. The Government, after careful considerations has taken several decisions in October 2003 for improving the career prospects of the CSS personnel.

UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION (UPSC) The Constitution provides for an independent body known as Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment to Group ‘A' and Group ‘B' Gazetted posts under Central Government, and for advice in various service matters. The Chairman and members of the Commission are appointed by the President for tenure of six years, or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. To ensure independence, members who were at the service of Government at the time of appointment are deemed to have retired from Government service on their appointment in the Commission. The Chairman and members are also not eligible for further employment under the Government. They cannot be removed except for the reasons and in the manner provided for in the Constitution.

STAFF SELECTION COMMISSION (SSC) Staff Selection Commission, initially known as Subordinate Services Commission, was set up on 1 July 1976. It has been entrusted with the work of making recruitment to (i) all non-gazetted Group 'B' posts in the various Ministries/Departments of the Government and their Attached and Subordinate Offices, which are in the pay scales of Rs 6,500-10,500, and (ii) all non-technical Group 'C' posts in the various Ministries/Departments of the Government and their Attached and Subordinate Offices, except those posts which are specifically exempted from the purview of the Staff Selection Commission. The Commission is an attached office of the Department of Personnel and Training, and comprises of a Chairman, two Members and Secretary-cum-Controller of Examinations. The tenure of Chairman/Members is for five years or till they attain the age of 62 years, whichever is earlier. The Commission's headquarters and the office of its Northern Region are in New Delhi. The offices of Central, Western, Eastern, North-Eastern, Southern, and Karnataka-Kerala region are at Allahabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, and Bangalore respectively. Its sub-regional offices of Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh region and North-Western region are at Raipur and Chandigarh respectively.

The Union: Official Language

Official Language — Constitutional/Statutory Provisions

Article 343 (1) of the Constitution provides that Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the Official Language of the Union. Article-343(2) also provided for continuing the use of English in official work of the Union for a period of 15 years (i.e., up to 25 January 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 25 January 1965. Accordingly, section 3(2) of the Official Languages Act, 1963 (amended in 1967) provides for continuing the use of English in official work even after 25 January 1965. The Act also lays down that both Hindi and English shall compulsorily be used for certain specified purposes such as Resolutions, General Orders, Rules, Notifications, Administrative and other Reports, Press Communiqués; Administrative and other Reports and Official Papers to be laid before a House or the Houses of Parliament; Contracts, Agreements, Licences, Permits, Tender Notices and Forms of Tender, etc.

In 1976, Official Language Rules were framed under the provisions of section 8(1) of the Official Languages Act, 1963. Its salient features are as under:

(i) they apply to all Central Government Offices, including any office of a Commission, Committee or Tribunal appointed by the Central Government and Corporation or Company owned or controlled by it;

(ii) Communications from a Central Government Office to State/Union Territories or to any person in Region "A" comprising the States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Haryana and UTs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Delhi, shall be in Hindi;

(iii)Communications from a Central Government Office to States/UTs in Region "B" comprising the States of Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, shall ordinarily be in Hindi. However, communication to any person in Region "B" may be either in English or Hindi;

(iv) Communications from a Central Government Office to a State Government Office in region 'C' comprising all other States and UTs not included in region 'A' & 'B' or to any office (note being a Central Government Office) or person shall be in English;

(v) Communications between Central Government Offices and from Central Government Offices to the Offices of the State Governments/Union Territories and individuals, etc., will be in Hindi in such proportions as may be determined from time to time;

(vi) All Manuals, Codes and other Procedural literature relating to Central Government Offices are required to be prepared both in Hindi and English. All Forms, Headings of Registers, Name Plates, Notice Boards and various items of stationery, etc., are also required to be in Hindi and English;

(vii) It shall be the responsibility of the officer signing the documents specified in section 3(3) of the Act to ensure that these are issued both in Hindi and English.

(viii) Shall be the responsibility of the administrative head of each Central Government Office to ensure that the provisions of the Act, the Rules and directions issued under Sub-Rule-2 are properly complied with and to devise suitable and effective check points for this purpose.


In compliance with the Official Language Resolution, 1968, an Annual Programme is prepared by the Department of Official Language in which targets are set for the offices of the Central Government with regard to originating correspondence, telegrams, telex, etc., in Hindi. A Quarterly Progress Report is called for from the offices of the Central Government regarding achievements vis-à-vis the said targets. An Annual Assessment Report is prepared on the basis of the Quarterly Progress Reports, which is laid on the Tables of both Houses of the Parliament and copies endorsed to State Governments and the Ministries/Departments of the Central Government.

Eight Regional Implementation Offices have been established at Bangalore, Cochin, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Bhopal, Delhi and Ghaziabad to monitor the implementation of Official Language Policy of the Union.


A Committee of Parliament on Official Language was constituted in 1976 under section 4 of the Official Languages Act, 1963 to periodically review the progress in the use of Hindi as the Official Language of the Union and to submit a report to the President. The Committee consists of 20 Members of the Lok Sabha and 10 of the Rajya Sabha. The Committee have decided to submit its report in parts. It has so far submitted to the President eight parts of its report. The Presidential Orders on seven parts of its report have been issued and work is in progress on the eighth part.

The Kendriya Hindi Samiti was constituted in the year 1967. It is chaired by the Prime Minister. It is the apex policy making body which lays down the guidelines for the propagation and progressive use of Hindi as Official Language of the Union.

Under the directions of the Kendriya Hindi Samiti, Hindi Salahakar Samitis have been constituted in all Ministries/Departments under the chairmanship of the Ministers concerned. These Samitis periodically review the progress in the use of Hindi in their respective Ministries/Departments and the offices/ undertakings and suggest measures to promote the use of Hindi.

Besides, the Central Official Language Implementation Committee [headed by Secretary, Department of Official Language and consisting of Joint Secretaries (In-charge Official Language) of all the Ministries/Departments as ex-officio members] reviews the status of use of Hindi for official purposes of the Union, training of its employees in Hindi and implementation of instructions issued from time to time by the Department of Official Language and suggests measure for removing the shortcomings and difficulties noticed in implementing these instructions.

Town Official Language Implementation Committees are constituted in different towns having ten or more Central Government offices, etc., to review the progress made in the use of Hindi in their member offices and exchange experiences. So far 255 Town Official Language Implementation Committees have been constituted all over the country.

Award Schemes

The Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Awards Scheme has been in operation since 1986-87. Shields are given every year to Ministries/ Departments, Banks and Financial Institutions, Public Sector Undertakings and Town Official Language Implementation Committees for outstanding achievements in the implementation of the Official Language Implementation Cmmittees for outstanding achievements in the implementation of the Official Language Policy of the Union. Cash awards are given to the working/retired employees of the Central Government, Banks, Financial Institutions, Universities, Training Institutions and Autonomous Bodies of the Central Government for writing original books in Hindi.

The National Awards Scheme for Original Book writing on Gyan-Vigyan has been renamed as Rajiv Gandhi National Awards Scheme for Original Book Writing in Hindi for promoting writing of books in Hindi on all branches of modern Science/Technology and contemporary subjects. This Scheme is open to all citizens of India.

At Regional level, Regional Official Language Awards are given each year to the Regional/Subordinate Offices, Public Sector Undertakings, Town Official Language Implementation Committees, Banks and Financial Institutions of the Central Government for outstanding achievements in implementing the Official Language Policy of the Union and accelerating the progressive use of Hindi.


Under the Hindi Teaching Scheme, administered by the Department of Official Language, training in Hindi language is being imparted through 119 full-time and 49 part-time centres throughout the country. Likewise, training in Hindi Stenography and Hindi Typing is being provided through 23 full-time and 38 part-time centres. Thus, training in Hindi is being provided in 229 centres located in different parts of the country. Five Regional Offices of Hindi Teaching Scheme at Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Guwahati are providing academic and administrative support to the Hindi Teaching Scheme in the East, West, North-Central, South and North-East Regions. To fulfill the increasing demand of Hindi training of North Eastern region a new Regional Headquarter has been extablished at Guwahati and new Hindi training centres have been established at Imphal, Aizwal and Agartala.

The Kendriya Hindi Prashikshan Sansthan was established on 31 August 1985, as a subordinate office of the Department of Official Language, with the objective of providing Hindi Training through condensed courses in Hindi language/typing and stenography as also training through correspondence in Hindi language and Hindi Typwriting. Its sub-institutes were opened in Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore in 1988 and in Chennai and Hyderabad in 1990. Training of Hindi typing on computers is being imparted at almost all the typing/stenography centres in the country.

The Central Translation Bureau was set up in March 1971 for translation of different types of non-statutory literature, manuals/codes, forms, etc., of various Ministries/Departments, Offices of the Central Government and Public Sector Undertakings, Banks, etc. The Bureau has also been entrusted with the responsibility of conducting translation training courses for the officers/employees associated with the translation work. Initially, translation training courses of 3 months were being conducted at the Headquarters in New Delhi. In order to strengthen training facilities and meet regional requirements, Translation Training Centres have been established in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata. Besides, Central Translation Bureau also conducts short-term translation courses for Central Government employees.


In order to facilitate the use of Official Language with the help of Mechanical and Electronic equipment, especially computers, a Technical Cell was set up in the Department of Official Language in October 1983. The main activities of the Cell are as under:

  • Development of "Language application tools" - Under this programme LILA Rajbhasha, a self-learning package through the medium of Bangla, English, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu has been developed, MANTRA Rajbhasha, an aid tool for English to Hindi translation has also been developed.
  • Organising computer training programmes in Hindi - Every year around 100 training programmes are conducted to impart training for the use of Hindi on computers.
  • Organising exhibitions and seminars on billingual computing - Technical seminars are held to help the users and manufacturers come face to face to discuss the use of Hindi software, etc.

The Department of Official Language has now set up its portal www.rajbhasha.gov.in


The Department of Official Language brings out ‘Rajbhasha Bharati’, a quarterly magazine, dedicated for encouraging writings in the field of Official Language, literature, technology, information technology, etc., in Hindi and also to give wide publicity to the efforts being made in different Central Government Offices for the use and propagation of Official Language Hindi. So far 112 issues of Rajbhasha Bharati have been published. Likewise, Annual Programme for implementation of the Official Language policy is brought out every year. Annual Assessment Report regarding the use of Official Language in different Ministries/Departments and offices of the Central Government/Public Sector Undertakings, etc., is also brought out every year and laid on the tables of both the houses of Parliament. Official Language Manual, Calendars, Films, Posters, etc., are also brought out to give information regarding the activities relating to propagation and progressive use of Hindi as the Official Language.

The Union: Comptroller & Auditor General

Comptroller and Auditor-General is appointed by the President. Procedure and 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 President on advice of Comptroller and Auditor-General prescribes the form in which accounts of the Union and states are to be kept. His reports on accounts of the Union and states are submitted to the President and respective governors which are placed before Parliament and state legislatures.

Click here, to visit the official website of the Comptroller & Auditor General.

The Union: Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances

The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances is the nodal agency of the Government for Administrative Reforms as well as redress of public grievances relating to the States in general and grievances pertaining to Central Government agencies in particular. The Department disseminates information on important activities of the Government relating to administrative reforms best practices and public grievance redressal through publications and documentation. The Department also undertakes activities in the field of international exchange and cooperation to promote public service reforms.

The mission of the Department is to act as a facilitator, in consultation with Central Ministries/Departments, States/UT Administrations, Organisations and Civil Society Representatives, to improve Government functioning through process re-engineering, systemic changes. Organisation and Methods and efficient Grievance handling, and by promoting modernisation, Citizens Charters, award schemes, e-governance and best practices in government.

A Commission on Review of Administrative Laws was set up by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances on 8 May 1998 with a view to identify proposals for amendment of the existing laws, regulations and procedures having inter-sectorial impact and also for repeal of all dysfunctional laws. The Commission submitted its report on 30 September 1998. out of the 1382 Central Laws of different categories recommended for repeal by the Commission, 414 Acts including 5 War-time Permanent Ordinances have since been repealed. The various Ministries/Departments have decided to retain 822 Acts (which include 700 Appropriation Acts and 27 Reorganisation Acts). As regards amendments, 52 Acts have already been amended and 18 Amendment Bills have been introduced in Parliament. The remaining Acts are at various stages of processing.

The Department set up a Second Administrative Reforms Commission in 2005 under the Chairmanship of Shri Veerappa Moily to prepare a detailed blueprint for revamping the public administrative system. The Commission will suggest measures to achieve a proactive, responsive, accountable, sustainable and efficient administration for the country at all levels of the government.

The Department also instituted in 2005, "Prime Minister's Awards for excellence in Public administration" to recognise the extraordinary and innovative work done by the officers of the Central and State Governments. The Award would comprise the following : i) A Medal, ii) A scroll, and, iii) Cash Award of Rs. 1,00,000. In case of a group of officials total award money for the group will be Rs 5 lakh subject to a maximum of Rs one lakh per person. The amount for an organisation will be up to a limit of Rs 5 lakh. All officers of the Central and State Governments individually or as a group or as organisations are eligible to be considered for the awards.

The Department has developed a model for Bench Marking Excellence in Service Delivery (SEVOTTAM) by Government departments. The main objective of the project is to improve quality of service delivery from Citizen's perspective through effective implementation of Citizen's Charters, Public Grievance Redress Mechanism Rating and Excellence in Service Delivery. The model is to be implemented in all Central Ministries/Departments.

The Union: Administrative Tribunals

The enactment of Administrative Tribunals Act in 1985 opened a new chapter in the sphere of administering justice to the aggrieved government servants. Administrative Tribunals Act owes its origin to Article 323-A of the Constitution which empowers Central Government to set-up by an Act of Parliament, Administrative Tribunals for adjudication of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to the public service and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union and the States. In pursuance of the provisions contained in the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, the Administrative Tribunals set-up under it exercise original jurisdiction in respect of service matters of employees covered by it. As a result of the judgement dated 18 March 1997 of the Supreme Court, the appeals against the orders of an Administrative Tribunal shall lie before the Division Bench of the concerned High Court.

The Administrative Tribunals exercise jurisdiction only in relation to the service matters of the litigants covered by the Act. The procedural simplicity of the Act can be appreciated from the fact that the aggrieved person can also appear before it personally. The Government can present its case through its departmental officers or legal practitioners. Thus, the objective of the Tribunal is to provide for speedy and inexpensive justice to the litigants.

The Act provides for establishment of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and the State Administrative Tribunals. The CAT was set-up on 1 November 1985. Today, it has 17 regular benches, 15 of which operate at the principal seats of High Courts and the remaining two at Jaipur and Lucknow. These Benches also hold circuit sittings at other seats of High Courts. In brief, the tribunal consists of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Members. The Members are drawn, both from judicial as well as administrative streams so as to give the Tribunal the benefit of expertise both in legal and administrative spheres.

The States

The system of government in states closely resembles that of the Union.



State executive consists of Governor and Council of Ministers with Chief Minister as its head. The Governor of a State is appointed by the President for a term of five years, and holds office during his pleasure. Only Indian citizens above 35 years of age are eligible for appointment to this office. Executive power of the State is vested in Governor.

Council Of Ministers The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor who also appoints other ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to legislative assembly of the State.

Legislature For every state, there is a legislature, which consists of Governor and one House or, two Houses as the case may be. In Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, there are two Houses known as legislative council and legislative assembly. In the remaining states, there is only one House known as legislative assembly. Parliament may, by law, provide for abolition of an existing legislative council or for creation of one where it does not exist, if proposal is supported by a resolution of the legislative assembly concerned.

Legislative Council Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) of a state comprises not more than one-third of total number of members in legislative assembly of the state and in no case less than 40 members (Legislative Council of Jammu and Kashmir has 36 members vide Section 50 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir). About one-third of members of the council are elected by members of legislative assembly from amongst persons who are not its members, one-third by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state, one-twelfth by electorate consisting of persons who have been, for at least three years, engaged in teaching in educational institutions within the state not lower in standard than secondary school and a further one-twelfth by registered graduates of more than three years standing. Remaining members are nominated by Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service. Legislative councils are not subject to dissolution but one-third of their members retire every second year.

Legislative Assembly Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) of a state consists of not more than 500 and not less than 60 members (Legislative Assembly of Sikkim has 32 members vide Article 371F of the Constitution) chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the state. Demarcation of territorial constituencies is to be done in such a manner that the ratio between population of each constituency and number of seats allotted to it, as far as practicable, is the same throughout the state. Term of an assembly is five years unless it is dissolved earlier.

Powers amd Functions State legislature has exclusive powers over subjects enumerated in List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and concurrent powers over those enumerated in List III. Financial powers of legislature include authorisation of all expenditure, taxation and borrowing by the state government. Legislative assembly alone has power to originate money bills. Legislative council can make only recommendations in respect of changes it considers necessary within a period of fourteen days of the receipt of money bills from Assembly. Assembly can accept or reject these recommendations.

Reservation of Bills The Governor of a state may reserve any Bill for the consideration of the President. Bills relating to subjects like compulsory acquisition of property, measures affecting powers and position of High Courts and imposition of taxes on storage, distribution and sale of water or electricity in inter-state river or river valley development projects should necessarily be so reserved. No Bills seeking to impose restrictions on inter-state trade can be introduced in a state legislature without previous sanction of the President.

Control Over Executive State legislatures, apart from exercising the usual power of financial control, use all normal parliamentary devices like questions, discussions, debates, adjournments and no-confidence motions and resolutions to keep a watch over day-to-day work of the executive. They also have their committees on estimates and public accounts to ensure that grants sanctioned by legislature are properly utilised.

Union Territories

Union Territories are administrated by the President acting to such extent, as he thinks fit, through an Administrator appointed by him. Administrators of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Delhi and Puducherry are designated as Lieutenant Governors. The Governor of Punjab is concurrently the Administrator of Chandigarh. The Administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli is concurrently the Administrator of Daman and Diu. Lakshadweep has a separate Administrator.

The National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry each has a legislative assembly and council of ministers. Legislative assembly of Union Territory of Puducherry may make laws with respect to matters enumerated in List II or List III in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution in so far as these matters are applicable in relation to the Union Territory. The legislative assembly of National Capital Territory of Delhi has also these powers with the exceptions that Entries 1, 2 and 18 of the List II are not within the legislative competence of the legislative assembly. Certain categories of Bills, however, require the prior approval of the Central Government for introduction in the legislative assembly. Some Bills, passed by the legislative assembly of the Union Territory of Puducherry and National Capital Territory of Delhi are required to be reserved for consideration and assent of the President.

Local Government


Municipal bodies have a long history in India. The first such Municipal Corporation was set-up in the former Presidency Town of Madras in 1688; and was followed by similar corporations in the then Bombay and Calcutta in 1726. The Constitution of India has made detailed provisions for ensuring protection of democracy in Parliament and in the state legislatures. However, Constitution did not make the local self-government in urban areas a clear-cut constitutional obligation. While the Directive Principles of State Policy refer to village Panchayats, there is no specific reference to Municipalities except the implicity in Entry 5 of the State List, which places the subject of local self-governments as a responsibility of the states.

In order to provide for a common framework for urban local bodies and help to strengthen the functioning of the bodies as effective democratic units of self-government, Parliament enacted the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 relating to municipalities in 1992. The Act received the assent of the President on 20 April 1993. The Government of India notified 1 June 1993 as the date from which the said Act came into force. A new part IX-A relating to the Municipalities has been incorporated in the Constitution to provide for among other things, constitution of three types of Municipalities , i.e., Nagar Panchayats for areas in transition from a rural area to urban area, Municipal Councils for smaller urban areas and Municipal Corporation for large urban areas, fixed duration of municipalities, appointment of state election commission, appointment of state finance commission and constitution of metropolitan and district planning committees. State/UTs have set-up their election Commissions. Elections to municipal bodies have been completed in all States/UTs except Jharkhand and Puducherry.


Article 40 of the Constitution, which enshrines one of the Directive Principles of State Policy, lays down that the State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and, authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.

In the light of the above, a new Part IX relating to the Panchayats has been inserted in the Constitution to provide for among other things, Gram Sabha in a village or group of villages; constitution of Panchayats at village and other level or levels; direct elections to all seats in Panchayats at the village and intermediate level, if any, and to the offices of Chairpersons of Panchayats at such levels; reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population for membership of Panchayats and office of Chairpersons in Panchayats at each level; reservation of not less than one-third of the seats for women; fixing tenure of five years for Panchayats and holding elections within a period of six months in the event of supersession of any Panchayat.

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