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Significant Aspects of Political Processes | Foundation Course Chapter 5 | Mumbai University

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Significant Aspects of Political Processes

Significant Aspects of Political Processes

1) Write Short Notes on political parties in India.

Answer : The Constitution of Independent India came into effect on 26 January, 1950. With its adoption India officially became a
Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic. The Indian Constitution has established a parliamentary form of government both at the Centre and the State. The types of political parties can be broadly classified into following categories:

a) National Parties :
Any party to be called as national level political party must fulfill following conditions:
i) It must have had its candidates stood for last elections in at least four or more States for Loksabha or for Legislative Assembly and secured not less than 6 % of total valid votes in those elections. In addition win at least four seats in Loksabha from any State or States.
ii) It must have won at least 2 % seats in Loksabha from at least three different States. Some of the present national parties are; Indian National Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Communist Party of India etc.

b) State Parties :
i) The State parties promote regional languages, culture and interest of people of that region. To be recognized as a State party, it must fulfill following conditions :

ii) In the last general elections to legislative assembly, the party candidates must have secured not less than 6% of total valid votes and must retain at least 2 members to State Legislative Assembly. Some of the well known State political parties are; Shiv Sena (Maharashtra), AIADMK and DMK (Tamilnadu), Telgu Desam (Andhra Pradesh), Rashtriya Janata Dal (Bihar), the National Conference (Jammu and Kashmir) etc.

2) State the features of party system in India.

Answer : The party system is the base of democracy. It is a link between people and the government. A political party serves as a platform for people with common ideologies. Every political party aims to contest elections to be a part of legislative and executive organs of the government. Through representation in the parliament the party members function as agents of people and voice the grievances and challenges of the society.

a) Dominance of Single Party :
The party system was introduced in India as an influence of western education. The Indian leaders had realized the importance of united efforts to achieve independence. The political parties, thus, were established to demand for reforms from the British government and eventually complete self government. Various political parties had emerged before independence as well but it was Indian National Congress (INC) that remained one of the most popular and dominant political party. After independence except for a brief period in the late 1970s the congress dominated the political scene till late 1980s.

b) Emergence of multi- party system :
Internal factions led to the split in the Congress and by 1970s many new parties had emerged. In 1977, Janata party was formed which was a coalition of at least five parties. This new party formed the first non-Congress government after independence. The rise of BJP and many regional parties in States reduced the dominance of Congress over Indian politics to a greater extent.

c) Coalition Party System :
From 1990s an era of coalition started. Failure of big national parties like Congress and BJP to win majority seats in elections has brought numerous small parties to the forefront. The large parties came to be dependent upon smaller parties for the formation of governments. In 1996 the elections led to the formation of ‘United Front’, a coalition of as many as 13 political parties. Similarly in
1999 a coalition party government of ‘National Democratic Alliance’ (NDA) was formed with BJP as a largest member of coalition.

d) Absence of loyalty to ideology :
Every party is based on some ideology and when people join the party they are committed to its ideology. But the situation is changing fast. Most of the parties are interested in capturing power. Many candidates shuffle between parties to grab position in the government keeping aside the ideological commitment of the party.

e) Emergence of Regional Parties :
One of the reasons for the decline in the strength of national parties is the emergence of numerous regional level parties. Each state has almost 2 to 3 strong regional parties. Tamilnadu has become stronghold of DMK and AIADMK; Punjab is dominated by Shiromani Akali Dal; Shivsena is a powerful party in Maharashtra; National Conference is popular in Jammu and Kashmir etc.

3) What are the functions of Municipal Corporation and Municipal Council.

Answer : A) The Municipal Corporation :
The system was introduced by the Britishers first in Madras in 1688 and then in Bombay and Calcutta by 1762. The current structure of Municipal administration is largely based on Lord Ripon’s reforms on local self government introduced in1882. The Municipal Corporation consists of the Council, wherein representatives from every ward are elected by the people known as Councilors for the term of five years.

Functions of the Municipal Corporation :
It includes wide variety of duties to be performed by the corporations to ensure overall development of the city i.e. economic, social, health and sanitation, infrastructure etc. The functions of Municipal Corporations are classified as obligatory and voluntary. Some of them are listed as follows.

i) Obligatory Functions:
a) Sanitation of hospitals, roads, maintenance of drainage ofcity,
b) Water supply for public and private purposes,
c) Providing healthcare facilities, public vaccination and prevention of diseases,
d) Establishing hospitals, child and maternity welfare centres,
e) Providing street lights, cleaning of garbage’s from the city roads,
f) Registration of birth and death, etc.

ii) Voluntary Functions:
a) Constructing and maintaining public parks, gardens, libraries, museums, swimming pools, recreation centers etc.
b) Providing shelter to old, street children, destitute, orphans etc.
c) Survey of buildings, lands etc.

B) Municipal Council:
The smaller cities are looked after by Municipal Councils. When the cities grow in size of population it is transformed under the administration of Municipal Corporations. The Council consists of :
a) The Council members are elected by the people for the term of five years.
b) President and Vice-President are elected by the members of the Council for the term of two and half years. The President is honoured as the first citizen of the town.
c) Each Council has among its appointed Staff, one Executive Officer and its subordinate staff and nominated selected citizens of the town.

Functions of the Municipal Council:
The functions of the Municipal Council are similar to that of Municipal Corporations which includes some obligatory functions and some voluntary functions. To perform these functions various committees are created, namely, Public Works Committee, Education Committee, Sanitation Committee, Water Supply Committee, Planning and Development Committee, Women and Child Welfare Committee.

4) Classify and explain the three tier system of Local Self Government at rural level.

Answer : The concept of local self government is known to Indian since ancient times. The system of local self government in its modern sense was revived during the British period. In a democratic country power is decentralized and shared at different levels. Apart from the Central and State Government, the administration at the local level is handled by the local government in urban as well as rural areas.

In India the Local Self Government is broadly classified into two categories that is Rural and Urban. The rural local bodies incorporate Zilla Parishad, Panchayat Samiti and Gram Panchayat.

a) Zilla Parishad :
The Panchayati Raj system’s triangular form is topped by the Zilla Parishad. The Panchayat Samiti representatives, all members of the State Legislature and the Parliament who represent all or a portion of the district, and all district-level officials from the departments of medicine, public health, public works, engineering, agriculture, veterinary medicine, education, and other development departments make up the Zilla Parishad.

The Zilla Parishad elects its chairman from among its members. The Zilla Parishad has a chief executive officer. He is a representative of the State Government in the Zilla Parishad. For various development programs, there are subject matter experts or officers at the district level in every state. The Collector is a part of the Zilla Parishad as well.

b) Panchayat Samiti :
The second tier of the Panchayati Raj is the Panchayat Samiti. The Samiti is envisioned in the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee report as a single, powerful, democratic institution to oversee all facets of rural development. A Panchayat Samiti typically consists of 20 to 60 villages, depending on the population and area. A Samiti’s population ranges from 35,000 to 100,000, with an average of roughly 80,000.

All of the Panchayat Samiti’s members as well as all of the Panchas of the Gram Panchayats located in the designated areas vote to elect the Pradhan as the organization’s president. He oversees the execution of the Samiti and its Standing Committees’ decisions and resolutions.

c) Gram Panchayat.
The Gram Panchayat is the lowest entity in the Panchayati Raj framework. If the population of these villages happens to be too tiny, there is a Panchayat for each village or group of villages. Representatives chosen by the villagers make up the majority of the Panchayat. Election to the Panchayat is only open to those who are registered to vote and do not hold any paid government positions. People who have been found guilty of a crime by a court are ineligible to run for Panchayat.

The Panchayat also keeps records of births and deaths. It makes necessary provisions for the promotion of agriculture and animal husbandry, cottage CONTI industries, co-operative societies etc. The minor disputes among residents of village are also settled by the Gram Panchayat. The two officers who help the Sarpanch in administration at the Panchayat level are the Panchayat Secretary and the Village Level Worker.

5) What are the obstacles faced by women in the field of Politics.

Answer : The participation of women in politics is not a new phenomenon. In ancient times during early Vedic period women could become members of Sabha and Samiti. However her position declined considerably after the end of Vedic age as she was not only denied the political rights but was confined to the four walls of the house. She faced many inequalities and was regarded inferior to men.

After independence various laws have been enacted and various provisions have been made to empower women. To bring about more of women’s participation in politics provisions are made for the reservation of seats in the legislature.

Obstacles faced by women in the participation of Politics:
a) Male Domination :
Male domination mindset is one of the major obstacle for women as politics is regarded as man’s area of interest and caliber. There is a lack of family support or co operation because the political participation is time consuming as one has to attend party meetings, organize workers, gathering mass support for the party by undertaking different activities to promote party requires women to stay out of the house for a long time. In such scenario women face opposition from her family.

b) Corruption and Criminalization of Politics :
Politics and contesting elections has been a costly affair in recent times. Corruption in elections and sabotaging of electoral booths are the methods adopted by many. Many criminal minded people are entering politics as they have huge chunk of black money. Women are regarded as misfit in such changing trends in politics.

c) Approach of Government officials :
The elected members need to meet government officials in order to fulfill the promises to the electorate. However women representatives often face non cooperation from the government officers due to their biased approaches towards women which causes hurdle in their work and reduces their efficiency.

d) Poverty, Unemployment and Illiteracy :
Poverty is the major problem faced by India and women’s condition is even worse as the unemployment rate is high among women. Many women work in unorganized sector and hence are paid low wages. Literacy rate is also low in case of women as compared to men. Such issues are the major obstacles in her political growth.

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