Indian Polity: Introduction to Some Important Terms

Indian Polity is the most critical subject for scoring well in the UPSC Prelims GS-1. Polity is a collective term that refers to an organized group, such as a nation, state, city, or even a social group, in conjunction with its government and administration. Before delving into the issue in detail, we’d want to familiarise you with a few crucial terminologies in Indian politics.

Several critical phrases pertaining to Indian Polity

Act – A bill that has been enacted by both Houses of Parliament and has received the President’s assent.

Law—In general, the term ‘law’ refers to a set of laws or norms that must be observed. A law may take the form of an act, an ordinance, an order, by-laws, a rule, or a regulation, among others. Acts are a subdivision of the law.

Coalition – A grouping of individuals, organizations, political parties, or nations. This alliance may be ad hoc or for mutual benefit.

Martial Law – A set of rules that governs the period during which a military authority assumes control of the normal administration of justice.

Referendum – A direct vote in which the voters as a whole are asked to adopt or reject a specific proposal. This could include the approval of a new constitution, statute, or government policy.

Veto – The term originates in Latin and means ‘I Forbid.’ A veto confers unrestricted authority to halt decisions. A person, party, or nation has the right to veto a particular decision or law, but not to adopt one.

Rule of Law – The rule of law is a philosophy that argues that no individual is above the law and that everyone is equal before the law regardless of their social rank.

Republic – A state in which the people and their elected representatives hold power and in which the head of state is an elected president rather than a monarch.

Bicameral – Government with two legislative houses. As is the case in India, we have the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

Unicameral – Government with a single legislative chamber. As is the case in Punjab, there is no legislative assembly. As a result, it is unicameral.

Adjournment of Debate – Adjournment of debate on a motion accepted by the House, until a future day or sine die specified in the motion.

Ballot – A method for determining the relative priority of multiple notices using a random drawing of lots.

Bill – A properly formatted draught of a legislative proposal that, when enacted by both Houses of Parliament and signed by the President, becomes an Act.

Budget – An annual financial statement detailing the Government of India’s expected receipts and expenditures for a fiscal year. Rajya Sabha presents the Budget in two parts: the Railway Budget and the General Budget.

Bulletin – Bulletin refers to Rajya Sabha’s journal. It is divided into two sections. Part I comprises a concise record of the House’s actions at each of its sittings, while Part II contains information on any subject relevant to or associated with the business of the House or Committees, as well as any other subject that the Chairman believes should be included.

Finance Bill – A Finance Bill is normally submitted each year to give effect to the Government of India’s financial proposals for the following fiscal year, and may also contain a Bill to give effect to additional budgetary proposals for any period.

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The Gazette of India | Image source: WIkipedia 

Leader of Council – The Prime Minister, if he is a member of the Council or a Minister who is a member of the Council and has been nominated by the Prime Minister to serve as the Council’s Leader.

Leader of the Opposition – A Member of the House who is, for the time being, the Chairman of the Party in Opposition to the Government with the highest numerical strength in that House.

Maiden Speech – A member’s first speech in the Rajya Sabha following his election/nomination to the House.

Ordinance – A statute enacted by the President pursuant to his authority under Article 123 of the Constitution.

Prorogation-The act of the President terminating a Rajya Sabha session pursuant to article 85(2)(a) of the Constitution.

Quorum—The bare minimum number of members required to conduct lawful business during a House or Committee meeting, which is one-tenth of the House’s total membership, as established in Article 100(3) of the Constitution.

Session – A session of Rajya Sabha begins on the date and time specified in the President’s order summoning Rajya Sabha and ends on the day on which the President prorogues Rajya Sabha.

Summon – An official notification sent by the General Secretary of Rajya Sabha to the Members of Rajya Sabha on the President’s direction advising them of the location, date, and time of the opening of a Rajya Sabha session.

Valedictory remarks – At the conclusion of each session, the Chair makes Valedictory remarks, thanking Members and leaders of parties and groupings for their cooperation in doing the House’s business.

Whips – A written notice to all members of the ruling party and opposition parties/groups to perform defined responsibilities such as voting on multiple bills and motions and forming important linkages in a party’s internal organization within Parliament.

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