The central government is defined as the political authority that governs an entire country or nation.
In India, the government of the country is officially known as the Union Government. It is also known as the Central Government. It was established by the Constitution of India in 1950. The Central Government is the governing authority of the country’s 29 states and 7 union territories, which is collectively referred to as the Republic of India. The Central Government of India is located in New Delhi, the capital of the country.
Our Constitution provides a federal structure, wherein the central government and the state governments are independent in their functioning. But, in order to meet certain emergency situations or exigencies, certain unanimous decisions are made, which are controlled or directed by the Central Government for the national interest of the country.
Basic Structure of the Central Government of India
The Central Government of India is divided into three main sections, as outlined in the Constitution. The power of the each department of the government is separated. Various roles and responsibilities are assigned to each department for the proper functioning of the country.
- Executive: President, the Vice President and the Cabinet Ministers
- Legislature: Parliament, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha
- Judiciary: Supreme Court of India, High Courts of India at the state level, and District Courts and Sessions Courts at the district level
Roles and Responsibilities
The executive branch: This section of the Central Government comprises the President, the Vice President and the Cabinet Ministers and the Independent Executive Agencies. The President of the country is the head of the state. The department executes its powers through the President. Its responsibility is to carry out and enforce laws. In other words, the executive department does not pass laws or interpret them. However, it enforces the laws framed by the legislature and interpreted by the judiciary. The executive department of the Central Government can be the source of certain types of laws in the country. This branch of government has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration and functioning of the state bureaucracy.
The legislature branch: Also referred to as the Parliament. The Indian Parliament, which is the main component of the legislature branch, consists of the two houses called the Lok Sabha (House of People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the President of India is the head of the Parliament or the Legislature.
This branch makes laws and policies, which apply to the entire nation. The legislative branch enjoys parliamentary supremacy but not complete sovereignty. However, it does exercise some control over the executive branch. Its responsibilities are:
- Drafting of all principal legislation for the Central Government
- To decide on bills to be introduced in the Parliament
- Ordinances to be announced by the President
- Regulations to be made by the President for Union Territories
- Measures to be taken for States under the President`s rule and
- Framing of election laws
- Also deals with certain matters like personal law, contracts, evidence etc.
The legislature does not enjoy complete sovereignty. The reason being its laws are subject to judicial review by the judiciary or the Supreme Court of India.
The judiciary: It is the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court of India is the final judicial authority in India. The judiciary maintains and propagates law and order of the country. Its responsibilities are:
- It interprets the laws and carries out judicial reviews, sentences verdict in complying with laws as per the Constitution, and ensures equality of everyone in front of law.
- It also solves conflicts between Executive and Legislature and other public related matters or conflicts.
- It solves disputes between the Government of India and one or more states.
- It solves disputes between two or more states
Powers of the Central Government of India
- States must exercise their executive power in compliance with the laws made by the Central government (Article 356).
- No state government can impede on the executive power of the Central government within the states (Article 357).
- The central government has the power to take over the state in matters related to national security (Articles 352 to 360).
- The Central Government regulates trade and trade affairs between states and foreign trade;
- It has the power to declare war, raise and maintain the armed forces.
- It can also conducts diplomacy and authorize treaties with foreign countries.
- The Central Government of India possesses special powers to reduce oppression and mismanagement in a company (under Sec. 408 of the Companies Act, 1956).
- The Central Government has the power to take all measures as it seems necessary for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing and controlling pollution (1986 Environment Protection Act) etc.