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Polity NCERT

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Lesson 2, Topic 3
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Chapter – 3 What is Government

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Government: Government is “the organisation, that is the governing
authority of a political unit”, “the ruling power in political society” and the
apparatus through which a governing body functions and exercises authority”.

Levels of Government: India is a representative democracy where people
are eligible ‘to vote, elect representatives and participate in the decisions
making the process. The government works at different levels: national,
state and local level.

State Level: Each of the State Governments has its own police force,
education system and road laws.

Local Level: The local governments are known as Panchayats in rural
areas and Municipal Corporations, Municipalities and Nagar Panchayats in
urban areas.

Laws and the Government: A rule of conduct established and enforced
by the authority, legislation or custom of a given community, state or
nation is called law. It is both the responsibility of the government and
citizens to uphold the integrity of laws.

Types of Government: Governments can be classified into several types.
Some of the most common types of governments are a democracy,
monarchy, etc.

Democracy: It is a form of government run by elected representatives who
hold the decision making power. The word ‘democracy’ originates from
the Greek words ‘demos’ and ‘krotos’, meaning “rule of the people.” It
can be classified into direct and indirect democracy.

Monarchy: A monarchy refers to the rule by a king or queen. Sometimes,
a king is called an “emperor”. It is a government with a hereditary head of
the state. It can be classified into two types, i.e., absolute and constitutional monarchy.

Representative Democracy: The type of democracy in which the citizens
delegate authority to their elected representatives.

Women’s Suffrage: A Movement started in the early 20th century
vigorously for many years, demanding equality with men and the right to

Franchise: A privilege or right officially granted to a person or a group by
a government, especially the constitutional or statutory right to vote.

Each country needs a government to make important decisions and
function well. The decisions may be economic, educational or social.

The government also takes care of international boundaries and relations
with other countries. It is responsible for the transport facilities and health
facilities for citizens.

The government works at different levels—like, local level, state level,
national level.

The government makes laws and every citizen is supposed to follow them.
Laws need to be enforced for proper function of the government. Citizens can also take the help of law if they are dissatisfied with something.

There are some types of government, like the democratic, monarch, etc. In
a democracy (like India), the people elect the government themselves by
voting in the election. In a monarchy, the king/queen has the power to
make decisions and no one from the citizens can* object to them.

The basic idea of democracy is that people rule themselves by taking part
in the law-making.

Nowadays, democratic governments are better known as ‘representative
democracies’. People do not participate directly. They choose their
representatives during elections and these representatives come together
for the decision-making process. All adults in the country are eligible to
vote according to the universal adult franchise.

There are instances in history when governments did not allow women, the
poor people and the uneducated to vote. But when India got independence,
the universal adult franchise was enforced.

Government: The system or machinery present in each country in order to
make decisions for the proper running of the country is called government.

Laws: The rules laid down by the government for the proper functioning
of the country are called laws.

Democracy: A system of government in which the people (citizens) of the
country choose their leaders to rule is called democracy. The elected
government is answerable to its people for its decisions.

Monarchy: A system of government which is run by a king/queen on a
hereditary basis and where people do not get their say in decision-making
is called a monarchy. The king/queen is said to be the monarch.

Elections: The process in which citizens of a democratic country cast their
votes for the leaders of their choice is called the election. The elected
leaders form a government later.

Representative Democracy: A form of democracy in which people do
not elect the government directly but only choose their representative, who
collectively form a government is called representative democracy. Most
democracies are representative in nature.

Universal Adult Franchise: The rule that allows all adults in the country,
irrespective of caste, creed, gender, literacy, occupation, etc., to vote and
take part in the elections, is the universal adult franchise.