Forms of Government

Government is the main agency of state. It comprises of several members belonging to political and administrative wings. It serves as the instrument for delegation and execution of the state policies for the welfare of the people. It formulates, expresses and realises the will of the state. It exercises certain legislative, executive and judicial powers, based on the constitution and the laws. There are three organs in government,namely – legislature, Executive and Judiciary. These organs carry out the activities of the state. Governments are classified into unitary, federal, parliamentary and presidential forms.

Types of Constitution

Unitary Form of Government

A unitary system of government or unitary state, is a sovereign state governed as a single entity. The central government is supreme and the administrative divisions exercise only powers that the central government has delegated to them.
             England, France, Japan and Sri Lanka are examples of Unitary Form of governments.
             The term Government is derived from old French ‘governor’, derived from Latin ‘gubernare’ to direct, rule, guide, govern”.

In a Unitary Form of government, all the authority and power is vested in a single centre, whereas in a federal form of government authority and power is distributed between centre and the constituent units. Even in a Unitary Form of Government,there might be a lot of decentralisation of authority,but we cannot claim it as a federal system.

Merits of Unitary form of government

• Suitable for small countries.
• There is no conflict of authority and responsibility.
• A unitary government will make prompt decisions and take speedy action.
• A unitary government is less expensive.
• Amendments to the Constitution are easy.
• There is unity, uniformity of law, policy and administration.

De-merits of Unitary form of government

• It is not suitable for big countries.
• The central government will have to tackle so many complex problems that lead to administrative delay
• The central government will not concentrate on local problems, local interest and initiative.
• The concentration of powers may pave way for the despotism of the central government.

Unitary features of the Indian constitution

• Strong Centre
• Central Government’s control over state territory
• Single Constitution
• Flexibility of the Constitution
• Unequal representation of states
• Emergency Provisions
• Single Citizenship
• Single Integrated Judiciary
• All India Services
• Appointment of Governor by the Central government

Federal form of government

The classification of governments into Unitary and federal is based on the nature of relations between the national and the regional governments.
       A federal government is one in which powers are divided between the national government and the regional governments by the Constitution itself and both operate in their respective jurisdictions independently. U.S.A, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Argentina have federal form of governments.
             In a federal model, the national government is known as the Federal government or the central government or the Union government and the regional government is known as the state government or the provincial government.

Merits of federal form of government

• Reconciliation of local autonomy with national unity
• Division of power between centre and states leads of administrative efficiency
• It gives rise to big states
• Distribution of powers check the despotism of central government
• More suitable for bigger countries
• It is good for economic and cultural progress

De – merits of federal form of government

• Federal government is weaker when compared to the unitary government
• Federal government is more expensive
• Provincial tendencies are very common
• Lack of uniformity in Administration
• Threat to national unity
• Distribution of powers between centre and states lead to conflicts
• Double Citizenship
• Rigid constitution cannot be a mended easily for changing needs
• The state governments sometimes place hindrances in the foreign policy

Federal features of Indian constitution

• Dual Government
• Written Constitution
• Division of powers
• Supremacy of the Constitution

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The laws enacted by the Centre and the states must confirm to its provisions.

• Rigid Constitution
• Independent Judiciary
• Bicameralism

Diffence between Unitary form and federal form of government

Parliamentary form of government

Modern democratic governments are classified into parliamentary and presidential on the basis of the nature of relations between the executive and the legislative organs of the government. The parliamentary system of government is the one which the executive is responsible to the legislature for its policies and acts. The parliamentary goverment is also known as cabinet government or responsible government and is prevalent in Britian, Japan, Canada and India among others.

Features of parliamentary form of government

• Norminal and Real Executives
• Majority party Rule
• Collective Responsibility
• Dual Membership
• Leadership of the Prime Minister

Merits of the parliamentary form of government

• Harmony between Legislature and Executive
• Responsible Government
• Prevents Dictatorship
• Wide Representation

Demerits of the parliamentary form of government

• Unstable Government
• No Continuity of policies
• Dictatorship of the Cabinet
• Against Seperation of powers

The presidential form of government

The presidential form of government is also known as Non-parliamentary or fixed executive system of government, basically built on the principal of seperation of power and is prevalent in the USA, Brazil, Russia and Sri Lanka among others.

Features of presidential form of government

The president as the head of state,he occupies a ceremonial position. The president is elected by an electoral college for a fixed tenure of four years. The president governs with the help of a cabinet or a smaller body called ‘Kitchen Cabinet’. The legislative, executive and judicial powers of the government are separated and vested in three independent organs of the government.

Merits of the presidential system of government

• Democratic
• Effective Control by the President
• Facilitate decision-making
• State government

Demerits of the presidential system of government

• Can degenerate into Dictatorship
• Strain relationship between executive and legislative
• Lack of Harmony between the legislature and Executive.

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