The executive is the organ of the government responsible for implementing the law and everyday governance. In a modern state, the sovereign powers are separated into executive, Legislature and Judiciary for two primary reasons:
- To avoid concentration of powers into few hands.
- For better management of workload.
This separation of powers can occur in two forms:
- ThePresidential system involves a rigid separation of power, where the office of the executive is independent of the Legislature with respect to the term of office.
- This can be seen in countries like the USA, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Sri Lanka.
- This is based on the Principle of leadership.
- TheParliamentary system involves a fusion of the Executive and Legislature, and the executive is responsible to the Legislature for its acts and policies.
- It is also known as the WestminsterModel (Location of the British Parliament), as it originated in Britain and is prevalent in countries like Britain, Canada, and Japan.
- It is based on the Principle of Collective Leadership.
Executive in India
India follows a Parliamentary system. In India, the President is the nominal head, and the Prime Minister, who is the real head, is responsible to the Legislature.
In the Indian Union, the executive powers are divided into three tiers:
- The Union Executive consists of the President, the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers, the attorney general of India, and all the officers of the Union Government.
- The State Executive consists of the Governor, the Chief Minister, the state Council of Ministers, the advocate general of the State, and all the officers of the Union Government.
- Local Bodies include the Gram Panchayats, Municipalities, and other Panchayati raj Institutions.
This becomes clear from the diagram below, showing the distribution of powers in India:
Political and Permanent Executive
It is essential to understand the term executive includes all the officers employed by the government, either elected or unelected. Thus, the executive in the country can further be divided into the following offices:
- The Political Executive or the elected executive.
- It derives its authority from the people. The Political Executive wields the real power in India because India is a republican country. This executive (the President or the PM) is democratically elected.
- In India, the President is the Nominal head of State, who exercises their power through the council of ministers headed by the PM, who is the real head of the State.
- It can also be known as the temporary executive, as it changes every few years. Both the President and the government are re-elected every five years. Further, the PM/CM and the council of ministers are obliged to resign if they lose confidence in the house.
- The permanent executive is the selected executive and largely remains unchanged regardless of the government. It derives its authority due to its technical expertise and administrative position.
Civil servants can be regarded as permanent executives. In India, it can be broadly classified into three categories:
- Central services: Officers who work solely for the Centre, solely. For example, Foreign services, Revenue services, etc.
- All India Services: Appointed by the Centre, work under state supervision (i.e. State can’t take disciplinary action). For example, the IAS and the IPS.
- State services: The officers who work solely for the State. For example, Sales tax officers, etc.
Relation between the Political and the Permanent executive:
- The political executive wields the real power in India and is, therefore, known as the government. The Prime minister or the Chief minister (in the states) heads this government.
- Flow of Accountability: The Permanent executive is responsible to the Elected Government, and the elected government is accountable to members of the Legislature, who in turn are answerable to the People.
- The permanent executive is a technical expert and is given the actual job of formulating and executing the Policy, whereas the political executive gives the policy direction. It is the political executive on whose direction all the permanent executives work.
- The Political executive has the power to appoint and transfer the Permanent executive, as it is the permanent executive who represents the will of the people. But this power cannot be used arbitrarily. Independent agencies like UPSC, SPSCs, and the Judiciary ensure that the selection and transfer of civil servants happens fairly and objectively.
- The Political executive in India is also a part of the Legislature and can help in the formulation of better law But it is the Permanent executive on whose shoulders the responsibility of its implementation falls.
Thus, the elected government and the unelected officers are together responsible for the formulation of the Policy and its implementation. Together, they ensure good governance in the country and that the government runs according to the wishes of the people.
In summary, the executive is an important organ of the government of India and is responsible for the administration of the government and the implementation of laws and policies. It consists of the President, the Vice President, and the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister. The UPSC CSE tests candidates on their knowledge of the executive and its powers and functions, and it is therefore important for candidates to have a good understanding of these aspects.
Here are some steps you can follow to prepare for the executive topic for the UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE):
- Familiarize yourself with the structure of the executive: You should have a good understanding of the different organs of the executive, such as the President, the Vice President, and the Council of Ministers, and how they are organized.
- Understand the powers and functions of the President: The President of India is the head of state and has certain important powers and functions, such as the power to appoint the Prime Minister and other ministers, and to summon and prorogue the sessions of the Parliament. It is important to understand these powers and how they are exercised.
- Understand the powers and functions of the Vice President: The Vice President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and acts as the President in the event of the President’s death, resignation, or removal. It is important to understand the powers and functions of the Vice President and how they are exercised.
- Learn about the Council of Ministers: The Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister, is responsible for the administration of the government and is accountable to the Parliament. It is important to understand the structure and function of the Council of Ministers and the role of the Prime Minister in leading it.
- Understand the role of the executive in the administration of the government: The executive is responsible for the administration of the government and the implementation of laws and policies. It is important to understand the role of the executive in these areas and how it is accountable to the Parliament.
- Practice answering questions: To prepare for the exam, it is helpful to practice answering questions on the executive. You can find sample questions on the UPSC website or in practice books, and you can also ask your friends or teachers to give you questions to practice with.
- Seek help if needed: If you are having difficulty understanding any aspect of the executive, don’t hesitate to seek help from your teachers or mentors. It is important to have a thorough understanding of the executive to do well in the UPSC CSE.