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  • Category: Central Government

    Is Presidential democracy preferable for India?

    Some people think presidential democratic system would suit the Indian environment. Give your views in this forum thread.

    Since my childhood, I have been hearing that Presidential form of democracy is preferable for India. I have also heard that the late Prime Minister, Ms. Indira Gandhi was a supporter of Presidential form of democracy.

    I would like to know how Presidential form of democracy would be better for our country? Will it actually stop appeasement of particular group/groups? Will Presidential form of democracy enable the Government to check the temptation of short-sighted populist measures for the sake of votes?

    Knowledgeable Members may kindly answer this question in a logical and coherent manner.
  • #611624
    In my opinion, any form of democracy is not suitable to India in the present scenario. Once the question of democracy comes, the involvement of elections and voters, parties and all sorts of unwanted systems will come into force. If the voting eligibility criteria are changed, then the presidential democracy format will be useful, in my opinion. Minimum educational qualification is prescribed for voting power then we will have a better system.
    always confident

  • #611625
    Be it a parliamentary or presidential rule, both has its own significance and should be run honestly considering the citizens of the country. India as a country of Unity in Diversity, parliamentary form of governance is better as people can elect their representatives and opinion of people will be taken into consideration to some extent.However, Conducting elections intermittently doesn't mean that we are republic and we have an effective democracy The democracy is made effective considering how the elections are held, the ability of elected people and how they perform. The inefficiency in our political system can be measured from the rates of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Still there are lot of people in India who struggle to get basic amenities in life. Electoral reform is clearly important to reform our society. But it is not an easy task. Citizens should also co-operate with the government to Recognize the true leaders by voting for talents and vision. Demanding transparency will be a solution for all the discrepancies.

  • #611622
    By changing the form or type of Government we may not achieve our intended purpose. We are a developing country and we have big problems of poverty and unemployment. Today in towns or cities or metros people are available for manual or low grade work for a sum of 3000 to 6000 rupees per month. This is really a very small amount for ones livelihood.

    On the other hand the pay and allowances of Govt servants are being raised every 7 to 10 yrs. Parity is a big issue now. In such a situation what the change or form in type of Govt will do is a big question.

    In my opinion what is required and is definitely a very difficult task is good governance in the country. Today we are not ready to pay a single rupee as income tax or GST or house tax or any other thing like that. For example the poor class is not complaining for rise in recent metro fares in Delhi but middle and upper class are angry on this move. It is very strange and indigestable that even the well to do people do not want to share the joy of paying tax and feeling pride in adding to national kitty.

    Why we are so indifferent to contribute to nation - in any form. The reason cited by experts is - rampant corruption in Govt offices.

    People are having hopes in the present Govt as the new PM is apparently an honest and prudent person. But the challenge is whether one person can change or correct so many timid and corrupt officials who are presently keeping a low pace.

    So it is not only India, many countries are facing same problem. Even communist countries are having problems and people are fighting there for fundamental rights.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #611623
    Knowledge is power.

  • #611626
    As I know presidential democracy voters choose a president to lead the government. The profit of presidential democracy is to lead the government. The profit or benefit of presidential democracy is that the legislative and executive branches are separate but they have watched on each other. President is having more power and stable than a prime minister. The loss of presidential democracy is that it is hard to come with an agreement when president and legislature are from different parties and it is even impossible to remove unpopular president also.

  • #611627
    I feel this thread will be more suitable as an Active GD or a forum thread,because there cannot be a specific answer for the question. There can be many alternative suggestions and views. It will fetch many reasons and explanations.

  • #611628
    We have shifted this from the Ask Expert section. Since many responses have already come in, we are not converting it now to an active GD, but will give cc for relevant, quality responses.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #611671
    In this topic first we need to discuss why we went to Parliamentary form of Government. This can be found in Constitutional assembly debates. While supporting this system the reasons explained were as follows.
    1. In India we had a British legacy and hence working in the system is familiar.
    2. The kind of federal polity India has favors Parliamentary System than Presidential.
    3. Minority opinions may be suppressed.

    There were dissenting opinions too.
    1. The Presidential system is favorable as executive will be stable and help in undertaking the day to day affairs of the Government efficiently.
    2. It is possible to deal with the situation warranted due to separatist tendencies and symbolize authority of Union.

    Now let us discuss the features of these systems as such as both were available during Independence.
    1. President is directly elected from people and hence commands as a popular leader.
    2. Executive is immune from legislative sanctions regarding stability.
    3. President will be commander in chief of forces and is not bound by any advice on matters of Armed actions.
    4.Clear separation of powers between Judiciary, Legislative and Executive.
    5. The head of the Government is also Head of the state and hence symbolize the Supreme Sovereignty of the State.
    6.President enjoins absolute veto over Legislative Bills.
    7. Constitution is Sovereign and Supreme.

    Parliamentary form of Government.
    1. Legislative and Executive members are dependent on one another.
    2. Executive stability depends on the confidence of the Legislature.
    3. Head of Government (Prime Minister ) is different from Head of the State ( President ).
    4. Parliament is Sovereign and Supreme.
    6. Executive is accountable to both Parliament and Supreme court. Hence there is no clear Separation of Powers.
    7.Head of State need not be elected directly by People. Head of Government (Prime Minister) is chosen among the Legislative members.
    8.Head of Government merely advises President who is duty bound to act on the advise. Here all acts are done in the name of President.

    Now Let us see the merits and Demerits.

    1. Stability of tenure of Executive.
    2. Policy stability. No need to be under Coalition Pressure.

    1. President may necessarily not enjoy confidence of all section of Society. Hence making him Supreme commander undermining Legislature which has both support and confidence of most of the people. ( Eg. Trump Vs Clinton )
    2.Executive legislative deadlock. (Obama care bill, Iran Nuclear deal etc.)
    3. Autocratic executive.

    1.Executive is accountable to Legislative.
    2. Legislature which has opinion of most of the people is Sovereign.

    1. Coalition pressures.
    2. Instability of Executive.
    In world there is no true Presidential or Parliamentary but here we study two systems as case study

    Now Let us see the practical applicability of these systems.
    presidential. (United States)
    Legislative control is established by vetting of Secretaries appointed by President. The Obama care dead lock is a clear example of dead lock between Legislative and Executive.
    Parliament ( United Kingdom).
    Parliament is Sovereign in UK with no questioning of laws.
    Coming to Indian Situation.
    We have several subjects under concurrent list unlike US. Further in India parliament is Sovereign but not Supreme unlike United Kingdom. In India Parliament is Sovereign but Supremacy is given to Constitution. This blend is best suited to a Parliamentary system as it allows to have dual power structures. Further the nature of polity in India is such we are blend of everything. This gives a unique to Indian conditions. Let us Cherish our Parliamentary democracy .
    I congratulate the author for bringing another informative topic for discussion. A sincere thanks to Vandana Mam for shifting the thread to discussion forum as rightly pointed by venkiteswaran Sir.

  • #611693
    Considering India's diversity in respect of religion, language, weather, people, circumstances, level of development and education, it was decided that India would follow Parliamentary form of democracy. It was also decided that there would be a post of President whose function would be mainly ceremonial and titular (except in a few notable circumstances). This system was initiated before independence and continued smoothly till Congress ruled the Centre and majority of States.

    In 1977, Janta Government came to power but the experiment failed in less than 3 years. I980s saw Congress's return to power at Centre but it also saw emergence of many regional political parties which started capturing power in States. During 1990s, Congress became weak and the regional parties tried to capture power in Centre also by forming rag-tag coalition.

    In my opinion, almost all political parties started appeasement politics since mid-eighties. Appeasing particular group/groups and surrendering before the unjust demands of such groups which seemed to be important in terms of voting, started playing ugly game. Dark consequences followed. Now, the position has worsened so much that many people are demanding Presidential form of Government in India. These scholars think that the Presidential form of democracy can stop appeasement of various smaller groups by various political parties. This would ultimately benefit the country and strengthen the democratic process further by controlling appeasement policy and populist, short-term measures.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611703
    I was of the opinion that Presidential form of democracy is good. Now I have changed my mind looking at the way our country is governed now. The present system is good. In a Presidential democracy, authoritarianism will be more and the person elected as President may prove to be a hindrance to the country. For example, take the case of POTUS. He is an unpredictable person.
    " Be Good and Do Good "

  • #611707
    In India basically the President is simply the Constitutional head and nothing more than that. At the most he can recall the governors and seek reports on malfunctioning of a government but does not have any right to remove any government unless and until approved by Union cabinet. Yes he or she would be chief of the armed forces and every National security problem is addressed to the President first, but over all executive powers to control the forces would lie with the PM. Moreover right from childhood I found that aged people are being placed in the post of President and that implies that the chair does not demand any serious thinking or action as a President. Just before Republic day and Independence day the President is allowed to address the Nation and that too from the inputs given by the government. So with limited powers, we cannot have Presidential form of government.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #611718
    Mr. Mohan: One of the most important functions of President of India is to call the leader of political party to form Government. This is very important when no party gets clear majority. Another important power of Indian President is the power to return the Bill for re-consideration, or to take no decision on the Bill sent to him/her.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611724
    In a country where the mentality of the people is not good no form of democracy can work. India needs monarchy system. Only a king can correct the people/ corrupt/ criminals here.
    So back to square one before Patel's unification.

    The greatest wealth in this world is mental peace and good health.

  • #611742
    The discussion has come a long way. I am entering in the middle and hence may be coincidentally repeating some of the earlier viewpoints also.
    I find the discussion #611671 by Gokul Aravindh quite comprehensive and having some relevant points.

    In India we got to have a discussion about this matter when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister and was at her peak of power and facing strong criticism also. Post Emergency during the seventies, there was a feeling that India needs a benevolent dictator.
    I am of the opinion that we as large country and also having a large population united by national and patriotic spirit, but having many day to day difference in language,weather,food habits,etc, cannot have one person as the decider and implementer for the country as a whole.
    In India we cannot be adamant to be having uniformity, but we are having Unity. We are the union of states. Our central government is called Union government.

    Unbridled power in the hands of one will lead to the situation of proving 'Power corrupts,absolute power corrupts absolutely. Anywhere in this world, countries who have or had such unitary Heads with unchecked powers have either collapsed or disintegrated or have been experiencing internal chaos and civil war.

    Thankfully, our leaders of the freedom movement had deliberated thoroughly and given us a very comprehensive system of representative democracy, where neither the Prime Minister nor the Titual Head President have any omnipotent powers. However Indian President has sufficient powers to rein inthe cabinet or legislatures when they go against the spirit of national unity or hitting at the fundamental rights and natural justice.

    So, having time tested for the last seven decades, at the same time having seen the defects of Presidential system in many other countries leading to collapse and chaos, I do not see any need to change our present system of Parliament, Cabinet and Prime Minister headed by the titular Head President.

  • #611743
    Mr. Venkiteswaran has beautifully and cogently presented his viewpoints in support of present democratic form of Government. But his reply is silent about the appeasement policy and populist measures which the political parties are forced to adopt in the present system to protect their narrow political interest, i.e., a section of voters. Due to this draw-back of the present system, many experts are demanding Presidential form of Government.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611744
    With reference to the point of appeasement raised in #611743, I have to opine as follows:

    The 'apeasement' policy adopted by certain candidates or certain parties cannot be attributed to the fault of the system. It is the result of lack of awareness on the part of the voters about their duties and rights. However we have seen the changes coming gradually. More and more percentage of voters are now using their voting rights prudently and properly analysing the pros and cons of their actions. That is why we see entirely different results among Panchayat/Municipal polls, Assembly polls and Parliament elections.

    It is because of our good system that we could discuss and debate in a free atmosphere. Our system provides sufficient space and facility to even dissent in a democratic way. We can imagine with only horror how debate and discussion is disallowed, how free expression is throttled and dissent suppressed with iron hand. The outside world also is not getting the correct news because only doctored version is allowed to go out.

    Appeasement of a particular section or geographical population group will automatically stop when development becomes uniform and the problems and grievances also become uniform.

    At least since the last seven to eight years this thinking has set in the minds of the youth of India. That has reflected in the subsequent elections also. So it is for the voters and citizen to think beyond the narrow minded selfishness and take development as a uniform issue.

    If the voters do not change even in Presidental system also the same trend of appeasement will continue, probably in a more vehement and unchallenged manner.

  • #611745
    Sir, I beg to differ. Our democratic system is such that if a political party can secure even 30%-35% of total polled votes, then it is more or less sure to come to power. As a result, every political party try to appease an identified section of the population which is friendly to that party, and takes populist measures to capture that vote bank. This is the inherent flaw of the present system. Due to these short-term populist measures which don't benefit the entire population of the states, the country has not been progressing more rapidly. That is the reason, the demand for Presidential system has been getting stronger.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611817
    Partha the expressive rights which the President possess wont be used as liberal as possible owing to political understanding and the adjustments with the government at the center.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

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