Working of Institutions – Democracy is not just about people electing their rulers. In a democracy, the rulers have to follow some rules and procedures. They have to work with and within institutions. This topic is about the working of such institutions. We try to understand this by looking at the manner in which major decisions are taken and implemented in our country. We also look at how disputes regarding these decisions are resolved. In this process, we come across three institutions that play a key role in major decisions –
the legislature, executive, and judiciary
You have already read something about these institutions. Here we shall quickly summarise those and move on to asking larger questions. In the case of each institution, we ask: What does this institution do? How is this institution connected to other institutions? What makes its functioning more or less democratic? The basic objective here is to understand how all these institutions together carry on the work of government.
Sometimes we compare these with similar institutions in other democracies. In this topic, we take our examples from the working of the national level government called Central Government, Union Government, or just Government of India. While reading these lines, you can think of and discuss examples from the working of the government in your state. Why Do We Need a Constitution?
How is a Major Policy Decision Taken?
A Government Order :
On August 13, 1990, the Government of India issued an Order. It was called an Office Memorandum. Like all government orders, it had a number also. The Joint Secretary, an officer in the Department of Personnel and Training in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, signed the Order. It was quite short, barely one page. It looked like any ordinary circular or notice that you may have seen in school. The government issues hundreds of orders everyday on different matters. But this one was very important and became a source of controversy for several years. Let us see how the decision was taken and what happened later.
This Order announced a major policy decision. It said that 27 per cent of the vacancies in civil posts and services under the Government of India are reserved for the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SICBC). SEBC is another name for all those people who belong to castes that are considered backward by the government. The benefit of job reservation was till then available only to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Now a new third category called SEBC was introduced. Only individuals who belong to backward castes were eligible for this quota of 27 percent jobs. Others could not compete for these jobs.
The Decision Makers:
Decision-makers are people within a company who have the power to make strategic decisions like acquisitions, expansion, or investment. Some of the types of decision-making may include tactical, organisational, policy, operating, personal, programmed, and non-programmed decisions.
Who decided to issue this Memorandum?
Clearly, such a big decision could not have been taken by the person who signed that document. The officer was merely implementing the instructions given by the Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, of which the Department was a part. We can guess that such a major decision would have involved other major functionaries in our country.
You have already read about some of them.
Let us go over some of the main points that you covered then:
– President is the head of the state and is the highest formal authority in the country.
– Prime Minister is the head of the government and actually exercises all governmental powers. He takes most of the decisions in the cabinet meetings.
Parliament consists of two Houses Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The Prime Minister must have the support of a majority of Lok Sabha members.