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Government Functions - Polity NCERT Notes for UPSC

Jan 20, 2023

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Government is an organization that takes decisions and makes laws for the citizens of a country. In this article, we will talk in detail about what Government is, its types, government functions and levels of government. Read the full article to boost your IAS exam preparation

Need of government

  • To optimally utilize the resources for the welfare of its citizens.
  • To make rules that will be applicable to everyone. 

Functions of Government

  • To make decisions and get things done: These can be decisions such as building roads and schools, or ways to increase the supply of electricity etc. The government also takes action on many social issues such as it has several programmes to help the poor.
  • Protecting country: The government has the job of protecting the boundaries of the country and maintaining peaceful relations with other countries. 
  • Emergency role: When there are natural disasters like the tsunami or an earthquake, it is the government that mainly organises aid and assistance for the affected people. 
  • Settling disputes: People reach courts to settle disputes. Courts are also part of the government. 

Levels of Government

  • Three levels: The government works at three levels: 
  • The national level covers the entire country.
  • The state level covers an entire state like Haryana or Assam.
  • The local level means in village, town or locality.

Useful Links for IAS Preparation:

Macroeconomics- Indian Economy Notes: NCERT Notes UPSCElection and Representation- NCERT Notes UPSCCold War: Origin, Causes and Phases- NCERT Notes UPSCPopulation Composition- NCERT Notes UPSC
National Income Accounting- NCERT Notes UPSCFundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution- NCERT Notes UPSCHuman Geography: Nature and Scope- NCERT Notes UPSCBricks, Beads and Bones The Harappan Civilisation- NCERT Notes UPSC

Laws and the Government

  • Government function: The government makes laws and everyone who lives in the country has to follow these. 
  • Enforcing decisions: The government has the power to enforce its decisions. For example, there is a law that says that all persons driving a motor vehicle must have a licence. Any person caught driving a vehicle without a licence can either be jailed or fined a large sum of money. 
  • Remedy for people: There are steps that people can take if they feel that a particular law is not being followed. For example- If a person feels that they were not hired for a job because of their religion or caste, he or she may approach the court and claim that the law is not being followed. 

Also Read: UPSC : 75 Ramsar Sites in 75th Year of Independence

Types of Government

DemocracyMonarchy 
DefinitionIn a democracy, people give the government the power to take decisions on their behalf through elections in which they vote for particular persons and elect them. In monarchy, the monarch (king or queen) has the power to make decisions and run the government. The monarch has the final decision-making power
AccountabilityThe government has to explain its actions and defend its decisions to the people. The monarch doesn’t have to explain their actions or defend their decisions.

Democratic Governments

  • Rule by people: The people have the power to elect their leaders. 
  • Basic idea: People rule themselves by participating in the making of these rules. 
  • Representative democracies: In representative democracies, people do not participate directly instead choose their representatives through an election process. These representatives meet and make decisions for the entire population. 
  • Universal adult franchise: All adults in the country are allowed to vote. 

(Historical injustice: There was a time when governments did not allow women and the poor to participate in elections. Before independence in India, only a small minority was allowed to vote.)

Interesting Points

  • Gandhiji published the Journal “Young India”.
  • Institutions such as the Supreme Court, the Indian Railways and Bharat Petroleum are part of the government.
  • Women rights: 
  • Women's struggle to vote got strengthened during the First World War. This movement is called the women's suffrage movement as the term suffrage usually means right to vote.
  • American women got the right to vote in 1920.
  • In 1928, women in the UK got to vote on the same terms as men.

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