12 February 2019

Indian Polity - Federal System of Government

Government of India has the features of the Federal system of Government.

What is a Federation?

Federation is a word derived from Latin 'foedus' which means treaty or agreement. By this, the meaning is to be derived as, a federation is a new political system that was formed through a treaty or agreement between different units. Different countries call these units by different names. For example, in US they are called States, in Switzerland they are called Cantons. They are called Provinces in Canada, Republics in Russia.

Again, to form a federation, there are two ways. One is integration and the other is disintegration. In the case of integration, independent states are combined together to form a union or nation. Whereas, in disintegration, one big nation is converted to a federation by giving freedom to the states or regions to promote regional interest. US can be taken as an example for integration, while Canada can be taken as an example for disintegration.

The oldest federation in the world is US formed in 1787, after the American Revolution during 1775 - 83.

Types of governments

There are two types of governments, Unitary government and Federal Government.

Unitary Government

It is the government where the whole power lies with one government, that is national government. In this type of government, the state or regional governments do not have individual power. They have to follow as per the instructions of the union or central government.

Some countries that follow unitary system of government are Britain, France, Japan, Norway, Spain, Belgium, China, Italy, Sweden.

Features of Unitary government

The unitary government is a single government, there is no place for any other government. The constitution of a unitary government varies, which means that, it may be a written or an unwritten constitution. Here, there is no need for the division of power, because all the power is enjoyed by the national government. In the unitary form of government, sometimes the Constitution enjoys supremacy and sometimes not. For example, in Japan, Constitution is supreme, whereas in Britain, Constitution is not supreme.

Not every country, following the unitary form of government, follows the same set of features. They vary from country to country. The quality of constitution in unitary form of government varies from rigid to flexible. Example for unitary government with rigid constitution is France, and for unitary government with flexible constitution is Britain. The judiciary also varies from independent to non independent. In the same way, legislature also varies from Bicameral, example Britain, to unicameral, example China.

Federal government

It is the government, where the central and the state governments function independently under their own jurisdiction. Here, the power is divided between the state and the central government by the constitution. They both have individual powers.

Some countries that follow federal form of government are US, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Argentina.

Features of federal government

The federal government is different from unitary government in every aspect. The unique thing about the federal government is that it's qualities are fixed and they won't vary like that of the unitary government.

The government in the federal system is dual, that is, it has both central or union government and the state government. The constitution in the federal system is a written constitution. The federal government divides the power between the nation and the states. The supreme body in the federal government is the Constitution, and this is always a rigid constitution, which means, it is to easy to make changes or amendments to the constitution. Here, the Judiciary is independent, and the federal system follows a bicameral legislature, means, the Parliament has two houses Upper house and the Lower House.

India as a Federal form of Government

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