Cast Your Vote, Because That Is The Best Thing You Can Do (Part II- Functions Of Various Government Bodies)

Posted on February 8, 2009

Well, in our earlier article of the Cast Your Vote series, we had discussed about why your vote counts and the value of the power to vote. You can read it here. Since Independence, the Government has been of the people, for the people, by the people, and it will be the same this year as well, but with a little difference. This year, the people who will vote could possibly be more aware, this year the people who vote could possibly have fire in their eyes to make a change, so this year, get out of your lazy couches and head to the streets to vote.
Today’s article will be about the various functions of the various Government bodies during these elections. As a responsible voter we must be well aware of these and must know the basics of elections. So read on and improve your knowledge to become a responsible voter and a responsible citizen.

Functions of the Union Govt.
– The subjects in this list includes subjects of national importance like defense,
foreign affairs, atomic energy, banking, post, telegraph, custom duties, inter-
state and national highways, railroads and taxation of income.

Functions of the State Government

– The state list contains 66 subjects of state importance on which the state
governments can make laws.
– These subjects include police, local governments, trade, commerce and
agriculture. In times of national and state emergency, the power to make
laws on these subjects is transferred to the Parliament.

– The concurrent list contains 47 subjects on which both the Parliament and
the state legislatures can make laws. It includes criminal and civil procedure,
marriage and divorce, education, economic planning, labor welfare, social
security and trade unions.
– However, in case of a conflict between a law made by the central
government and a law made by the state legislatures, the law made by the
central government will obviously prevail.
– The local governments allow further decentralization or distribution of power
and allow people to participate in the functioning of the Government.

Importance of Local Government
– India is a vast country. It is not efficient to go to the Union or State
government for every decision or issue. Therefore in addition to Union and
State we have local governments that are closer to the people.
– The government at the Centre of the State may not understand the local
problems. The local people’s leader best represent the people in the city or in
the village.
– The residents of a city are better acquainted with and have easier access to
their local representatives; this makes the leader more accountable.

– It is more economical to have decisions made locally to suit the local needs
and conditions.
– In a sense, when you decentralize power you also decentralize corruption.

What does Local Government do?
– Local governments are institutions of self government.
– They have political, functional and economic power for good governance.
– They provide basic services and infrastructure that are indispensable to our
well being.

Types of Local Government
– The rural governments are Village Panchayats.
– The Urban local governments are either Municipal councils or Municipal

>Functions of Urban Local Government
– Water supply for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes
– Public health, sanitation and solid waste management
– Fire services

– Public amenities including streetlights, parking lots and bus stops
– Urban amenities and facilities such as parks, gardens and playgrounds

– Roads and bridges
– Slum improvement, urban poverty alleviation

– Maintenance of burial grounds

– Registration of births and deaths
– Regulation of slaughter houses and tanneries
– Urban planning including town planning
– Regulation of land use and construction of buildings

Functions of village Local Government
– Look after street lights, construction and repair work of the roads in the
villages and also the village markets, fairs, festivals and celebrations.
– Keep a record of birth, deaths and marriages in the village.
– Look after public health and hygiene by providing facilities for sanitation and
drinking water.

– Provide for education.
– Implement development schemes for agriculture and animal husbandry.

As urban voters we often fail to recognise the importance of Government and its role in the process. Compared to the Union or State elections, the Local elections have the least voter turnout. This is what we have to change because it is time we realised our own importance in the process of electing our representatives.

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