The PresidentThe President is elected by members of an Electoral College consisting of elected members of both Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of the states, with suitable weight given to each vote. His term of office is five years.
The Vice-PresidentThe Vice-President is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. He holds office for five years. The Vice-President is Ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
The Council of MinistersThe Council of Ministers comprises Cabinet Ministers, Minister of States (independent charge or otherwise) and Deputy Ministers. Prime Minister communicates all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to administration of affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation to the President. Generally, each department has an officer designated as secretary to the Government of India to advise Ministers on policy matters and general administration. The Cabinet Secretariat has an important coordinating role in decision making at highest level and operates under direction of Prime Minister.
The Rajya SabhaRajya Sabha is the Upper House of the Parliament and consists of 245 members. Of these, 233 represent states and union territories and 12 members are nominated by the President. Elections to the Rajya Sabha are indirect; members are elected by the elected members of Legislative Assemblies of the concerned states. The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution, one third of its members retire every second year.
The Lok SabhaThe Lok Sabha is the Lower House of the Parliament and is the main law making body. It is composed of representatives of the people chosen by direct election on the basis of universal adult suffrage. As of today, the Lok Sabha consists of 545 members with two members nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian Community. Unless dissolved under unusual circumstances, the term of the Lok Sabha is five years.
The State GovernmentsThe system of government in states closely resembles that of the Union. There are 25 states and seven Union territories in the country.
Union Territories are administered by the President through an Administrator appointed by him. Till 1 February 1992, the Union Territory of Delhi was governed by the Central government through an Administrator appointed by the President of India. Through a Constitutional amendment in Parliament, the Union Territory of Delhi is now called the National Capital Territory of Delhi from 1 February 1992. General elections to the Legislative assembly of the National Capital Territory were held in November 1993.
The political systemA recognised political party has been classified as a National Party or a State Party. If a political party is recognised in four or more states, it is considered as a National Party.
The Legislative Relations Between the Union and States
Under the Constitution, Parliament has the power to make laws for the whole of or any part of the territory of India. The State Legislatures have the power to make laws for the States. The subjects on which legislation can be enacted are specified in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
Parliament has the exclusive right to legislate in respect of items appearing in List I, called the "Union List''. This list includes area such as defense, foreign affairs, currency, income tax, excise duty, railways, shipping, posts and telegraphs, etc.
State Legislatures have the exclusive power to make laws in relation to items appearing in List II called the "State List''. This includes items like public order, police, public health, communications, agriculture, lotteries, taxes on entertainment and wealth and sales taxes etc.
Both Parliament and the State Legislatures have the power to legislate in items appearing in List III of the Constitution which is known as "Concurrent List''. This list includes items like electricity, newspapers, criminal law, marriage and divorce, stamp duties, trade unions, price controls, etc.