The Government of India (GoI), officially known as the Union Government and also known as the Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 29 states and seven union territories, collectively called the Republic of India. It is based in New Delhi, the capital of India.
The basic civil and criminal laws governing the citizens of India are set down in major parliamentary legislation, such as the Civil Procedure Code, the Indian Penal Code, and the Criminal Procedure Code. The union and individual state governments all each consist of executive, legislative and judicial branches. The legal system as applicable to the federal and individual state governments is based on the English Common and Statutory Law. Because the seat of government is in New Delhi, “New Delhi” is commonly used as a metonym for the Central Government.
Legislative power in India is exercised by the Parliament, a bicameral legislature consisting of the President of India, the Rajya Sabha, and the Lok Sabha. Of the two houses of Parliament, the former is considered to be the upper house and consists of members appointed by the president and elected by the state and territorial legislatures. The latter is considered the lower house or the House of the people.
The Parliament does not enjoy complete sovereignty, as its laws are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court of India. However, it does exercise some control over the executive branch. The members of cabinet, including the prime minister and the Council of Ministers, are either chosen from parliament or elected thereto within six months of assuming office. The cabinet as a whole is responsible to the Lok Sabha.
The executive power is vested mainly in the President of India, as per Article 53 (1) of the constitution. The President enjoys all constitutional powers and exercises them directly or through officers subordinate to him as per the aforesaid Article 53(1).The President is to act in accordance with aid and advise tendered by the head of government (Prime Minister of India) and his or her Council of Ministers.
The President is responsible for making a wide variety of appointments. These include : Governors of States, The Chief Justice other judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts of India, The Attorney General, The Comptroller and Auditor General, The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners, The Chairman and other Members of the Union Public Service Commission, The President’s Officer, The Cabinet Secretary, whose position is equivalent to the Ministers in Central Government, Ambassadors and High Commissioners to other countries
The President, as Head of State also receives the credentials of Ambassadors from other countries, whilst the Prime Minister, as Head of Government, receives credentials of High Commissioners from other members of the Commonwealth, in line with historical tradition.
The President is de jure the Commander in Chief of the Indian Armed Forces.
The Vice-President of India is the second-highest ranked government official in the executive branch of the Government of India, following the President. The Vice-President also has the legislative function of acting as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
The Cabinet of India includes the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Ministers. Each Minister must be a member of one of the houses of India’s Parliament. The Cabinet is headed by the Prime Minister, and Cabinet Secretary acts as advisor – who is also acting as the head of the Indian Administrative Service.
The Cabinet Secretary of India is the senior most civil servant in the country. The Cabinet Secretary is the ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board of the Republic of India; generally the senior most officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and head of all civil services under the rules of business of the Government of India. The Cabinet Secretary is arguably India’s most powerful bureaucrat and right hand of Prime Minister of India.
The Supreme Court of India consists of a Chief Justice and 30 associate justices, all appointed by the President on the advice of the Chief Justice of India. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court of India, High Courts of India at the state level, and District Courts and Sessions Courts at the district level.
India has a federal government, with elected officials at the federal (national), state and local levels. On a national level, the head of government, the Prime Minister, is elected in-directly by the people, through a general election where the leader of the majority winning party is selected to be the Prime Minister. All members of the federal legislature, the Parliament, are directly elected. Elections in India take place every five years by universal adult suffrage.
State governments in India are the governments ruling States of India and the chief minister heads the state government.Power is divided between central government and state governments. State government’s legislature is bicameral in 6 states and unicameral in the rest. Lower house is elected with 5 years term, while in upper house 1/3 of the total members in the house gets elected every 2 years with 6-year term.
Local government function at the basic level. It is the third level of government apart from central and state governments. It consists of panchayats in rural areas and municipalities in urban areas. They are elected directly or indirectly by the people.
India has a three-tier tax structure, wherein the constitution empowers the union government to levy income tax, tax on capital transactions (wealth tax, inheritance tax), sales tax, service tax, customs and excise duties and the state governments to levy sales tax on intrastate sale of goods, tax on entertainment and professions, excise duties on manufacture of alcohol, stamp duties on transfer of property and collect land revenue (levy on land owned). The local governments are empowered by the state government to levy property tax and charge users for public utilities like water supply, sewage etc. More than half of the revenues of the union and state governments come from taxes, of which 3/4 come from direct taxes.