Governance and Policy Making, Political Economy, Representation of India

South Asia includes India. With nearly 1.2 billion inhabitants, it is the most populous and seventh-largest country in terms of area. With New Delhi serving as the nation's capital, it consists of 29 states. One-third of India's coastline, known as its frontier, is bordered by Burma to the east, Nepal to the north, and Pakistan to the northwest. India borders Bangladesh on all three sides—north, east, and west. It continues to be one of the nations with the widest ethnic diversity. Apart from its many religions and sects, India is home to many tribes and casts. It prides itself with more than a dozen major linguistics groups and hundreds of minor ones from several language families unrelated to one another.

At independence, India was lucky to be bestowed upon several leaders of world stature, most notably Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, who were able to galvanize the masses at home, preach peaceful co-existence and bring prestige to India.

Political Economy and development.

Since independence, India has developed a substantial industrial base, a booming service sector and a vibrant middle class. In a bid to modernize the sluggish economy in India, Nehru introduced a model of development based on creation of public enterprises and offering guidance on private investments. During this time, government investments were given priorities. With a goal to protect local industries, the government imposed heavy tariffs on imports to enable local trade to thrive. After 1960, the government introduced the green revolution strategy. The strategy was to help people produce more food and earn a living through commercial agriculture. The government offered people quality seeds, subsidized farm inputs and helped introduce irrigation. This made India self-sufficient in food and she started exporting food over the years. The green revolution didn’t come without its flaws, it left parts of India that were not richly productive in agriculture behind the excess use of fertilizers caused damage to the soil and would affect agricultural production in later years. The expensive farm equipment forced most farmers to take huge loans, most of which they were unable to service (Kasselman et al. 154).

In 1990s under Manmohan Singh, the government did away with state monopolies, price controls, government interference in private investments and easing import policies to experience economic liberation. The private sector begun to boom and foreign investment started streaming in. Economic liberalization saw an increase in the rift between the rich and the poor in India. Poor housing and environmental degradation increased. Slums and brothels made a large percentage of India’s settlements in urban and rural areas for example in the red-light district. Children born in these areas were forced to do chores and hard labor to earn a living (Briski, “Born into Brothels”).

For the longest time India’s media has overlooked the menace of pollution and housing degradation which has been prevalent in the society. Artists, media houses and reporters painted images that gave false impressions about the state of India’s towns.  India’s environmental problems are among the worst in the world. They include raw sewage, waste and open defecation. Rivers and waterways are chocked with plastic bags and chemical liquids, which exacerbate childhood malnourishment, and cause diseases like hepatitis, cholera and typhoid fever. The air in the cities has been so filthy from factories and cars that middle-class parents now check the levels of airborne particulate matter, on their smartphones, before letting their children outside to play because the air is always thick and unbreathable due to air pollution (Taseer).

During his visit in 2005, President Barack Obama commended India, her youth and government for the strides they have made to realize economic growth and setting pace for the sustainable development in third world countries. He urged the government to take up collective inclusion to help people in the rural India gain access to better education. India then signed a nuclear energy agreement with US to produce and use nuclear energy to provide lighting and drive industries in both countries in order to eliminate the hazardous environmental and climate effects that the factories have been causing. (LiveNews, “Namaste Obama”).

Governance and Policy Making.

India is a democratic country with a president as the head of state. Since independence India has been a stable democratic state with universal suffrage. Among the key sources of democratic stability in India are the largely free, fair and regular, local, state and national elections. India’s federal system controls most government functions including defense, foreign policy, taxation, public expenditure and government planning. The state government controls education, agriculture and law and order. The constitution has set goals which the government must strive to attain in order to promote social and economic equality and justice. The constitution also defines India as a secular state and provides for freedom of religion to accommodate the many religious sects in the country. It also allows for the temporary suspension of many rights under emergency conditions this was introduced during the wars with Pakistan and China (Kasselman et al. 262).

The executive arm of India’s government is comprised of the prime minister and the cabinet. The prime minister is the head of the council of ministers and therefore is in charge of all government ministries. He heads the majority party coalition in parliament. The prime minister has powers to appoint individuals to government offices, establish policies on issues such as defense and foreign affairs and administer civil service on behalf of government. The cabinet in India is tasked with shaping the general policy of government, lead their respective parties in upholding cohesion and support for the ruling government and lead different ministries in the deployment and implementation of agreed policies. India’s prime minister and cabinet secretaries observe bureaucracy in close collaboration with senior civil servants. The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was for a long time the biggest institution that was mandated in observing bureaucracy. It was comprised of Indian Elites and technocrats who found their way in trough merit. Over the years entry to the IAS has become politicized, this has resulted to the national and state level Indian bureaucracy becoming infamous for corruption and inefficiency.

India’s military and police department does not interfere with national politics. The army is a professional and powerful body which is controlled by the national government. The main component of the Judiciary is the supreme court which is composed of seventeen judges and the chief justice. The president appoints the judges of the supreme court on the advice of the prime minister. The supreme court is followed by high courts at the state level, district courts at the district level and Lok Adalats at the village and panchayat level. Each state has a high court which works at the close supervision of the supreme court. It is the last court of regular appeals. The district courts are the original courts of civil jurisdiction; they derive their jurisdiction in civil matters from the code of civil procedures (Kasselman et al. 264).

Representation and Participation.

India has a bicameral parliament which comprises of two houses Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha is the lower house while Rajya Sabha is the upper house. Elections to Lok Sabha are held after every 5 years with their main objectives being to elect prime minister, pass legislation and debate government action. India is divided into 544 electro districts of equal population each of which elects one representative to the national government by a first-past-the-post basis. Any member of parliament can introduce a bill to government, and on special instances, the government can sponsor a bill into law. Once a bill has been introduced to Lok Sabha, it is passed on to a parliamentary committee for analysis. The committee then presents back the bill to Lok Sabha for debate, amendment and voting. After voting, the bills are passed on to Rajya Sabha for approval. After Rajya Sabha votes and possibly amends the bills, they are sent back to Lok Sabha for a third reading. The bills are later voted by both houses after which they proceed to the president for signing into law (Kasselman et al. 265).

According to Kasselman et al., nearly half of members of parliament come from rural areas today; they are comprised of people from the minor casts to ensure equality. The participation of women has increased over the years from 4.4% in the first parliament after independence to 10.8% in 2009. India’s major political parties are ideologically diverse in their manifestos. As a centrist party, congress stands for secularism, economic liberalization and mild redistribution of wealth. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) champions for religious nationalism and antiminority positions. Social movements, Labor movements and Non-governmental organizations have been vibrant instruments of change and social justice in India (267).

Most parts of rural India have remained antifeminist. Through the film “Parched”, Leena Yadav portrays the extreme cases of misogyny in rural India where girls are not allowed to participate in any authoritative or leadership tasks and are not allowed to take up in duties that are branded muscular. Most of Indian girls are still exposed to early marriages both in rural and urban India and are prohibited from holding sexual talks among themselves or with men as that is considered corrupt. Girls in rural India are exposed to domestic violence and beating from their men a situation which they are forced to live with as the society approves of violence against women in rural India (Heyman).


India is a sovereign nation which is located in South Asia. Its capital city is New Delhi. India is home to 1.2 billion people who reside in its 29 states. India was lucky to have leaders of world stature, most notably Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, who were able to unite and bring cohesion among the many religious casts and ethnic groups that live in India. The country has made huge strides in economic development but still suffers from immense poverty, poor housing and environmental pollution in most spaces of its urban and rural areas. The prime minister is the head of cabinet and appoints cabinet ministers.

Works Cited.

Bradsher, Keith. “As Rivals Falter, India’s Economy Is Surging Ahead.” The New York Times 17 Feb. 2015. International Business. Web. 12 June 2017.

Heyman, Stephen. “Leena Yadav’s Serious Look at Women and Marriage in India.” The New York Times 16 Sept. 2015. International Arts. Web. 12 June 2017.

Kesselman, Mark. Introduction to Comparative Politics. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning, 2012. Google Scholar. Web. 12 June. 2016.

LiveNews. “U S President Barack Obama's Speech from Siri Fort New Delhi, India 27 January 2015.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 27 January 2015. Web. 12 June 2017.

Taseer, Aatish. “India Finally Faces Up to an Ugly Reality.” The New York Times 16 Aug. 2015. The Opinion pages. Web. 12 June 2017.

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