About the GoI
India, also known as Bharat, is a Union of States.
It is a Sovereign Socialist Democratic Republic with a parliamentary system
of government. The Republic is governed in terms of the Constitution of India
which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949 and came
into force on 26th January 1950.
The Constitution provides for a Parliamentary form of government which is
federal in structure with certain unitary features. The constitutional head
of the Executive of the Union is the President. As per Article 79 of the Constitution
of India, the council of the Parliament of the Union consists of the President
and two Houses known as the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House
of the People (Lok Sabha). Article 74(1) of the Constitution provides that
there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head
to aid and advise the President, who shall exercise his functions in accordance
to the advice. The real executive power is thus vested in the Council of Ministers
with the Prime Minister as its head.
The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the House of the People
(Lok Sabha). Every State has a Legislative Assembly. Certain States have an
upper House also called State Legislative Council. There is a Governor for
each state who is appointed by the President. Governor is the Head of the
State and the executive power of the State is vested in him. The Council of
Ministers with the Chief Minister as its head advises the Governor in the
discharge of the executive functions. The Council of the Ministers of a state
is collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the State.
The Constitution distributes legislative powers between Parliament and State
legislatures as per the lists of entries in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.
The residuary powers vest in the Parliament. The centrally administered territories
are called Union Territory.
Parliament is the supreme legislative body
of India. The Indian Parliament comprises of the President and the two Houses-Lok
Sabha (House of the People) and Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The President
has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve
The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The first general
elections under the new Constitution were held during the year 1951-52 and
the first elected Parliament came into being in April, 1952, the Second Lok
Sabha in April, 1957, the Third Lok Sabha in April, 1962, the Fourth Lok Sabha
in March, 1967, the Fifth Lok Sabha in March, 1971, the Sixth Lok Sabha in
March, 1977, the Seventh Lok Sabha in January, 1980, the Eighth Lok Sabha
in December, 1984, the Ninth Lok Sabha in December, 1989, the Tenth Lok Sabha
in June, 1991, the Eleventh Lok Sabha in May, 1996, the Twelfth Lok Sabha
in March, 1998, Thirteenth Lok Sabha in October, 1999, Fourteenth Lok Sabha
in May, 2004 and Fifteenth Lok Sabha in April, 2009.
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The origin of Rajya Sabha can be traced back to 1919,
when in pursuance to the Government of India Act, 1919, a second chamber known
as the Council of States was created. This Council of States, comprising of
mostly nominated members was a deformed version of second chamber without
reflecting true federal features. The Council continued to function till India
became independent. The Rajya Sabha, its Hindi nomenclature was adopted in
23 August, 1954.
The Rajya Sabha is to consist of not more than 250 members - 238 members representing
the States and Union Territories, and 12 members nominated by the President.
Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution. However,
one third of the members retire every second year, and are replaced by newly
elected members. Each member is elected for a term of six years.
The Vice President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. The
House also elects a Deputy Chairman from among its members. Besides, there
is also a panel of "Vice Chairmen" in the Rajya Sabha. The senior most Minister,
who is a member of Rajya Sabha, is appointed by the Prime Minister as Leader
of the House.
More information of Rajya Sabha
Parliamentary institutions in India, with all their
modern ramifications, owe their origin to India's British connections. Until
1853, there was no legislative body distinct from the Executive. The Charter
Act of 1853, for the first time provided some sort of a legislature in the
form of a 12 member Legislative Council. The Indian Independence Act, 1947
declared the Constituent Assembly of India to be a full sovereign body. Apart
from being a Constitution drafting body, it also assumed full powers for the
governance of the country. With the coming into force of the Constitution
on 26 January, 1950, the Constituent Assembly functioned as the Provisional
Parliament until the first Lok Sabha, then known as the House of People, and
was constituted following General Elections in 1952. Lok Sabha, the Hindi
nomenclature was adopted on 14 May, 1954.
The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election
on the basis of Universal Adult Suffrage. The Constitution provides that the
maximum strength of the House be 552 members - 530 members to represent the
States, 20 members to represent the Union Territories, and 2 members to be
nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian Community. At present, the
strength of the House is 545 members.
The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved, 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.
More information of Lok Sabha
Difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
- Members of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the eligible voters. Members
of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of State Legislative Assemblies
in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of
single transferable vote.
- The normal life of every Lok Sabha is 5 years only while Rajya Sabha
is a permanent body.
- Lok Sabha is the House to which the Council of Ministers is responsible
under the Constitution. Money Bills can only be introduced in Lok Sabha.
Also it is Lok Sabha, which grants the money for running the administration
of the country.
- Rajya Sabha has special powers to declare that it is necessary and expedient
in the national interest that Parliament may make laws with respect to a
matter in the State List or to create by law one or more all-India services
common to the Union and the States.
Functions and Powers
The cardinal functions of the Legislature include
overseeing of administration, passing of budget, ventilation of public grievances,
and discussing various subjects like development plans, international relations,
and national policies. 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, remove judges of Supreme and High Courts, the Chief Election
Commissioner, and Comptroller and Auditor General in accordance with the procedure
laid down in the Constitution. All legislation requires the consent of both
Houses of Parliament. In the case of Money Bills, the will of the Lok Sabha
prevails. The Parliament is also vested with the power to initiate amendments
in the Constitution.
Please refer to the official GoI
for further information on Acts, Schemes, and Rules/Regulations.