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Lecture 13

POL328Y1 Lecture 13: State Institutions and Political Parties in India

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Political Science
Kanta Murali

POL328 – January 11, 2016 State Institutions and political Parties in India • look at top-down aspects related to the state and what they can tell us about authoritarianism in South Asia • How bottom-up level affects ways South Asia functions politically • State institutions o parliament, bureaucracy, federalism, Supreme Court • Political parties o key concepts and theories o evolution of the party system in India o key national and regional parties in India o why parties matter in India ▪ for democratic functioning o critical issues State institutions in India • Indian democracy and the role of institutions o parliament, bureaucracy, federalism o growing role of Supreme Court and Election Commission o Evaluating institutional strength • Whoever wins the most vote in the constituency wins an election • The legislature itself is divided with lower house, and upper house • In terms of the two houses of parliament, the upper house is meant to represent houses of the state and lower house is represent the population • The lower house is directly elected that has slightly greater legislative powers and lowering bills [taxation] o the formal aspect of federalization tend to be somewhat centralize • Parliament: Trends o Membership and composition ▪ political composition and re-election chances in Lok Sabha ▪ contradictory trends in terms of society has incorporated marginalized groups ▪ greater representation of marginalized groups over time ▪ increase of “criminalization” of Indian politics ▪ growing power of money o Earlier time was an elite democracy o Become much more diverse in which social group is represented ▪ silent group in the 1990s ▪ lower class and middle class is represented more than early times in Indian democracy o Decline of Congress Dominance ▪ minority and coalition governments between 1989 and 2014 ▪ fragmentation and contention in policy process ▪ most bills introduced by government • money is a big influence in Parliament over time ▪ the first early parliament from 1950s and 60s was dominant by Congress, but overtime, coalition government from 1989, we see more regional parties play active roles in parliament ▪ often bills were introduced by the opposition ▪ overtime, the governing party tend to use it as political agenda ▪ when you look at functioning institutions, parliament ends up being very one side of who was able to pass bills o Parliament practice and functioning ▪ decline in norms and practice • Nehru and parliamentary practice • walkouts and disruptions; growing stalemate o norm of practices ▪ decline in quality of debate • disruptions • television coverage and ‘playing to the gallery’ ▪ government interference ▪ ability to hold executive in check Bureaucracy • Indian administrative Service (IAS) at the apex and state-level bureaucracies below o Differences in efficiency at various levels • IAS o Heart of government machinery ▪ cadre strength ▪ spread at central, state and district levels o Recruitment through an exam-based system ▪ general training • where bureaucratic as thought of leading general skills ▪ training and apprenticeship ▪ the numbers of those who applied to the IAS every year tends to be fairly large ▪ about 600,000 applicants wrote the exam • Key current issues o political interference o quality and performance over time ▪ variation in state capacity ▪ state capacity in India tends to be very uneven ▪ this functioning starts to decline once we leave the level of IAS o state bureaucracies and patronage Federalism • Federal system o 3 tier system; centre and states are main levels o 29 states, 7 union territories o states are broadly organized on linguistic lines o formation of new states ▪ linguistic reorganization under Nehru ▪ creation of new states after 2000 • Separation of powers o union list, State list and Concurrent list o key state government areas: Education, agriculture, law and order, police • Fiscal federalism o revenue sources of state limited; centre has greater powers of taxation ▪ central Indian which has most powers of taxation ▪ at the lower levels, the taxes that are exercise tend to be more limited ▪ the states in term of development function tends to help law and order but ability to generate is limited o system of transfer of funds to states • President’s rule o provision in the constitution o gives the centre the ability to dismiss an elected government in case of failure in law of order Indian Federalism How centralized is Indian federalism? • formal features point to considerable centralization o e.g., President’s rule, fiscal federalism, role of Rajya Sabha • politics and phases of federalism • The Supreme Court and judicial activism o growing role of Supreme Court over time o parliamentary system but judicial review o public interest litigations [PILs] ▪ role in environmental, human rights, corruption, governance, poverty alleviation, education ▪ came in 1993 ▪ similar to a class action but doesn’t have to be brou
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