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Today, you will read General awareness topic : Are we heading for Presidential Form of Government in India?
The declining trends in over six decades’ working of Parliamentary system of government in India has thrown open a debate as to whether it has lived up to the expectations of the founding fathers of the Constitution. Drawn from the system prevailing in U.K. for centuries and based upon the working of legislatures prior to Independence, Parliamentary system was considered to be the best suited for the existing geo-political conditions of India.
However, trends like dynastic politics, multiplicity of political parties, voters’ apathy, instability, adoption of dubious means to form government, absence of healthy debates, pandemonium, boycott, absenteeism, lack of quorum, skyrocketing cost of Parliamentary proceedings, bypassing of Parliament, electoral malpractices, poor polling, criminalization of politics, etc. have crept into the working of the Parliamentary system. In the light of aforesaid factors, Presidential form of government is often cited by critics as more suitable for the Indian political system.
In the Presidential form of Government, the President is the real head. He is the head of state as well as the head of government. The President is elected by people. Neither he nor his ministers are drawn from the legislature. They are not accountable to it. They are independent of the legislature. He has a fixed tenure and cannot be easily ousted from office by the legislature. The only method of his ouster from office is impeachment which is a very difficult process. On the other hand, the President also cannot dissolve the legislature. Further, the judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature. Thus, there is not only separation of powers, but also check and balance in the Presidential system.
Merits of Presidential form of Government
•Because of the twin principles of separation of powers and check and balance, there is no concentration of powers in the same man or in the same body. As a result, system is more democratic.
•As both the President and the legislature enjoy fixed terms of office, there is political stability. There is continuity of policy. Further, the government can think of long-term policies.
•In the USA, the President is directly elected by people. He has thus reason to think that he enjoys more of people's confidence and support than the Prime Minister in the Parliamentary system.
•The President is free to choose his ministers. (Or secretaries as they are called in America.) The Senate, the Upper House of American Congress, may or may not ratify such appointments, but it cannot impose its choice on the President.
•The President has thus the freedom to appoint very competent persons as his Ministers or Secretaries on the basis of their experience and expertise. They are accountable only to the President and not to the Congress. As a result, they have time to concentrate on their work and to do their duty efficiently.
•The President, being all powerful, is in a position to take bold and prompt decisions. His ministers, being subordinate to him, cannot tie hands. They may advise him, but they have to implement his decisions.
•This system is more effective in tackling emergencies as there is unity of control and concentration of executive powers in person (President). He can react quickly to any national crisis by taking prompt decisions. There is hardly any need for him to convince others on the spot that the decision he going to take is good for the nation.
•The multiparty system is prone to political instability. Political parties with different interests pull the political system in diff directions. In order to check this, there is the need of a strong executive and the President government is best suited to establish stability in a multiparty system.
•The Presidential executive is of help in forging unity in the nation consisting of diverse regions, communities and cult As he is directly elected by people, they look upon him as the symbol of their unity.
•The Presidential executive is likely to be authoritarian. As all executive powers are concentrated in the hands of the President and as he is not accountable to legislature, he may be tempted to abuse powers and behave in a dictatorial manner.
•As the President and his ministers are not members of legislature, they find it difficult to persuade the members of the latter to accept' proposals. The legislature is inclined to find fault with the President, and vice versa. Conflict between the executive and the legislature leads to deadlock in the administration.
•The executive is not accountable to the legislature. Nor is it accountable to people. The people of America directly elect their President, they cannot recall him even if they find him incompetent or dishonest or useless. President can be removed from office by the legislature through impeachment and Impeachment is a very difficult process.
•The Presidential system is too rigid to adapt itself to sudden changes in circumstances. To manage a crisis, the ministers including the Prime Minister in Parliamentary system can be replaced. But, however great the need, the President in a Presidential system cannot be replaced during his tenure.
In case Presidential form of government is introduced in India, executive and legislature will be separated and the ministers will not be drawn from legislature as happens. India’s past experience suggest that in such a scenario, decision making will be often hampered due to deadlock between two as legislature of often motivated by populist and short term measures. Moreover, most of the criticism of Indian political system is can be answered if electoral reforms are introduced. Dynastic politics, criminalization of politics, electoral malpractices, voter’s apathy, over expenditure in elections etc can be removed if proper electoral reforms are introduced.
Both Presidential form of government and Parliamentary form of government have their merits and demerits and success of such governments depends on the conscience of the office bearers.
Thus in India, need of hour is to clean the political system of the country by introducing major reforms. Changing the system from Parliamentary form of government to Presidential form of government without cleaning the system will just start the debate whether India should revert back to Parliamentary system or shift with Presidential one.
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