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General Knowledge for Competitive Exams

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Prime Minister of India

Article 74(1) of the Constitution states that there shall be a council of ministers with Prime Minister as its head to aid and advice the President who shall exercise his function in accordance with advice tendered. Thus the real power is vested in council of ministers with Prime Minister as its head.

Power and Functions of Indian Parliament

All the legislative powers of the federal Government are vested in the Parliament. The laws framed by the Indian Parliament are enforced in the whole of the country. The Parliament of India is a bi-cameral legislature. It consists of two houses- Rajyasabha & Lok Sabha and President of India. Rajyasabha is the upper chamber of the Parliament while Lok Sabha is the lower chamber of the Parliament.

PMO and Cabinet Secretary

The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 and the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961, facilitating smooth transaction of business in Ministries/ Departments of the Government by ensuring adherence to these rules. The PMO provides secretarial assistance to the Prime Minister. It is headed by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. The PMO includes the anti-corruption unit and the public wing dealing with grievances.

Parliamentary Forums

The Parliamentary Forums have been constituted with the objective of equipping members with information and knowledge on specific issues of national concern and in assisting them to adopt a result-oriented approach towards related issues. These Forums provide a platform to members to have interaction with the Ministers concerned, experts and key officials from the nodal Ministries.

Parliamentary Committees

The Parliament has to perform complex and varied kind of functions. A committee can be called a Parliamentary committee if it is appointed or elected by the house or nominated by the Speaker or the Chairman; it has a secretariat provided by the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha secretariat.

Parliament of India

The supreme legislative organ of the union of India is called the Parliament. Indian Constitution provides us a Parliamentary Democracy. Parliament of India is made from Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and President.  Articles 79-122 of the Indian Constitution deal with the composition, powers and procedures of the Parliament of India.

Panchayati Raj System in India

The passage of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 (or simply the Panchayati Raj Act) marks a new era in the federal democratic set up of the country. It was based on the recommendation of Balwant Rai Mehta committee. It came into force with effect from April 24, 1993. It has a 3-tier system of Panchayati Raj for all States having population of over 20 lakh.

Official Language in Indian Constitution

Article 346 of the Indian Constitution recognizes Hindi in Devanāgarī script as the official language of central government India. The Constitution also allows for the continuation of use of the English language for official purposes. Article 345 provides constitutional recognition as "Official languages" of the union to any language adopted by a state legislature as the official language of that state.

National Development Council

National Development Council (NDC) is an executive body established by the Government of India in August 1952, which is neither a constitutional nor a statutory body. It is the apex body to take decisions on matters related to approval of five year plans of the country. Prime minister is the ex-officio chairman of the NDC.

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

Article 338 A states that there shall be a Commission for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) known as the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes. It is the duty of the commission to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution. However, there are various functions and powers of the commission mentioned in the Constitution.

National Commission for Scheduled Castes

Article 338 of the Constitution provides for the setting up of a National Commission for Scheduled Castes to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under the Constitution. National Commission for Scheduled Castes is committed to the full implementation of the various Acts like the PCR Act, 1955 and SC and ST (POA) Act, 1989.

Lokpal and Lokayukta in Indian Constitution

As mentioned in the draft bill appended to the interim reports of the commission, the Lokpal is to be appointed by the President, on the advice of the Prime Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha.

List of Important Articles of the Indian Constitution

Indian Constitution when adopted by Constituent Assembly in 1949 had 395 articles and 22 parts. Many other articles and three other parts were added to it by subsequent constitutional amendments. As of now Indian constitution contains more than 444 articles in 25 parts.

Union-State Relations / Centre-State Relations

The Constitution provides a federal system of government in the country even though it describes India as ‘a Union of States’. The term implies that firstly, the Indian federation is not the result of an agreement between independent units and secondly, the units of Indian federation cannot leave the federation.

Judicial Review and Judicial Activism

Judicial Review refers to the power of judiciary to review and determine the validity of a law or an order. On the other hand, Judicial Activism refers to the use of judicial power to articulate and enforce what is beneficial for the society in general and people at large or judicial activism means the power of the Supreme Court and the high court but not the sub-ordinate courts to declare the laws as unconstitutional and void.

High Courts in India

As per the Constitution of India, Articles 214-231 deals with the provisions of the High Courts in India. At present, we have 24 high courts in the country, which includes 3 common high courts. Article 217 deals with the appointment of judges. However, there is also a procedure for removal of Judges of the High Court.

Governor in Indian Constitution

Article 157 in The Constitution of India 1949 says that no person shall be eligible for appointment as Governor unless he is a citizen of India and has completed the age of thirty five years. Governor is also the chief executive head of the state, who exercises his function in accordance with the advice of council of ministers of the state concerned.  In addition to this, the governor holds dual role as he functions as an agent of central government also.

Grants and Funds in Indian Budget

The financial management of any organization must have a prudent financial system backed by sound and effective accounting procedures and internal controls. A well-designed and well managed accounting system helps ensure proper control over funds.

Central Bureau of Investigation

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) works under the jurisdiction of the Government of India. It is the foremost investigating police agency in India and is involved in major criminal probes ensuring the health of the national economy.

Central Administrative Tribunal

The Central Administrative Tribunal has been established for adjudication of disputes with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or other local authorities within the territory of India or under the control of Government of India and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. This was done in pursuance of the amendment of Constitution of India by Articles 323A.

Budget in Parliament

Under Article 112, the constitution provides for an Annual Financial Statement to be laid down in the parliament. It includes the estimated receipts and expenditure of the government of India. This statement is popularly known as budget. This statement is caused to be laid down by the president for a financial year. The General Budget gives an overall picture of the financial position of the Government of India, excluding the Railways.

Authoritative Text of the Constitution in Hindi Language

Article 394 A deals with the Authoritative Text of the Constitution in Hindi Language. The Constitution did not provide for any authoritative text of the Constitution in the Hindi language. The 58th Constitution Amendment Act, 1987 inserted Article 394-A in Part XXII of the Constitution.

Attorney General of India

Article 76 and 78 deals with the Attorney General of India. The Attorney General of India is the highest law officer of the country. He is responsible to assist the government in all its legal matters. The President appoints the Attorney General (AG). The person who is appointed should be qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court. That means, he should be a judge of some high court for five years or an advocate of some high court for ten years.

Advocate General of the State

Article 165 deals with the Advocate General for the State and Article 177 deals with the rights of Ministers and Advocate General as respects the Houses.

The Advocate General is the highest law officer in the state. He is responsible to assist the state government in all its legal matters. He defends and protects the interest of the state government. The office of the Advocate General in state corresponds to the office of Attorney General of India.

Central Vigilance Commission

Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is an apex Indian governmental body created in 1964 to address governmental corruption, monitoring all vigilance under the central government, and advising various authorities in central government organization in planning, executing, reviewing their vigilance work.  It has the status of an autonomous body.

Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution

The Indian Constitution gives President the authority to declare three types of emergencies:  national emergency, state emergency, and financial emergency. Emergency provisions in India are borrowed from Weimar Constitution of Germany. Constitution of India envisages emergency of following three types:

  • Article 352- National emergency
  • Article 356-Emergency in state(president’s rule)
  • Article 360- Financial emergency

District Collector/Magistrate in India

The position of District Collector was created by Warren Hastings in 1772. The main functions of the district collector were to supervise general administration, to collect land revenue and to maintain law and order in the district. He was the head of the revenue organization. He was responsible for registration, alteration, and partition of holdings; the settlement of disputes; the management of indebted estates; loans to agriculturists, and famine relief.

The Constituent Assembly of India

The Constituent Assembly of India was a sovereign body, which was formed on the recommendation of the Cabinet Mission, which visited India in 1946 to draft a Constitution for the country. A Drafting Committee was set up under the chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to prepare a draft Constitution for India.

Chief Minister in India

Chief Minister is the real executive, de facto head of the Government, one among the subordinate officers to Governor. His position is analogous to the position of PM at union level. According to the Constitution of India, the Governor is a state's de jure head, but de facto executive authority rests with the Chief Minister. Following elections to the state legislative assembly, the Governor usually invites the party (or coalition) with a majority of seats to form the government.

Writs and their Scope

A Writ means an order i.e. anything that is issued under an authority is known as a writ. The Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and the High Courts to issue Writs for the enforcement of the fundamental rights conferred by the Part-III of the Indian Constitution under Article 32 and Article 226. There are five types of Writs- Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition and Quo- Warranto.

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