Politics of India
India
Republic of India
• A federal republic with a parliamentary
system of government
• capital: New Delhi
2nd most populous nation
• Population: over one billion
• Growing at 1.5% a year
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A nation of diversity: languages
• Constitution lists 14 official “principal
languages”
• English
• Hindi (30%)
A nation of diversity: religions
• Religions:
– Hindu (~81%)
– Muslim (~12%)
– others (e.g. Buddhist 0.7%)
• all major religions in the world are present
• one of the major causes of conflict
• religion can become a political vehicle for
social movement
Brief history
• One of the world’s
oldest civilizations
– 5,000 years
• foreign incursions
– Aryans, Arabs, Turks,
Portugal, France, and
Britain
– from 1,500 B.C. to 19th
Century A.D.
190 years of British colonial rule
• Informal colonial rule through the British
East India Company (1750s-1850s)
• formal colonial rule after the Mutiny
rebellion of 1857
Struggle for independence
• Indian National Congress was formed in
1885
• non-violent resistance to colonial rule
• Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)
– transformed INC
– unity within diversity
– non-cooperation movement
• Nehru (1889-1964)
Independence & partition
• Division of the subcontinent (1947)
– India
– Pakistan
Republic of India
• Prime Minister Nehru (1947-1964)
• His daughter (Indira Gandhi) as Prime
Minister (1966-1977, 1980-1984)
Nehru’s legacies
• His grandson
– Rajiv Gandhi
– Prime Minister (1984-1989)
• His granddaughter-in-law
– Sonja Gandhi
– Congress party president
(1999 - )
World’s largest democracy
• Resilient democratic institutions,
processes, and legitimacy
– except 1975-1977
– Indira Gandhi declared national emergency
• politics in India is characterized by
– governments of precarious coalitions
– weakened political institutions
– political activism along ethnic lines
Turnout % in General Elections
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
1952
1957
1962
M ale
1967
1971
1977
1980
1984
F e m ale
1989
1991
1996
1998
T o tal
1999
A federal system
• 28 states and 6 centrally administered
Union Territories
– 2 states are partially claimed by Pakistan and
China
Federal system
• Relatively centralized
• federal government controls the most
essential government functions
– defense
– foreign policy
– taxation
– public expenditures
– economic (industrial) planning
The legislature
• Parliamentary system of government
– the executive authority is responsible to the
Parliament
The legislature
• bicameral Parliament
– Rajya Sabha (Council of States)
– Lok Sabha (House of the People)
Elections to Lok Sabha
• Vote share of 3 major political parties
Prime Minister
• Leader of the majority party leader in Lok
Sabha becomes the prime minister
• prime minister nominates a cabinet
– members of Parliament in the ruling coalition
– Council of Ministers
• effective power is concentrated in the
office of the prime minister
– where most of the important policies originate
Prime Ministers of India
• 38 years in the Nehru-Gandhi family
• more and more rapid turnover
Economic development
• Under Prime Minister Nehru’s rule
– private property and government guidance
– powerful planning commission
– government rules and regulations
• opportunities and incentives for corruption
– self-sufficiency
• domestic sector was protected from foreign
competition
• protected industries became inefficient
Economic development
• The “green revolution” in agriculture
– new agricultural strategy in late 1960s
– seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation
– India became self-sufficient in food
Economic development
• state-led economic development
– government-planned private economy
– substantial industrial base
Economic liberalization
• Dissatisfaction with the relatively slow
economic growth
– dismantle controls over private sector
– further integrate into global economy
• Financial crisis in early 1990s
– emergency funds from IMF & World Bank
– conditional on economic liberalization
• reduce government budget deficit
• selling government shares in public enterprises
Foreign direct investment
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Bangladesh
India
Pakistan
Economic liberalization
• Economic performance
– average growth rate of 6% since 1990
– reducing poverty by about 10 percentage
points
– purchasing power parity GDP: $3 trillion
Annual Growth Rate of GDP 1961 - 1999
12
9
6
3
-3
-6
India
Pakistan
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Economic liberalization
• India has large numbers of well-educated
people skilled in the English language
– India is a major exporter of software services
and software workers
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Politics of India - University of Mississippi