The way of governing a country varies all over the world. Some countries have democratic regimes, while others use despotic means of ruling their citizens. Even countries based on democratic values use different systems of government since each state has its specifics and features. Parliamentary and presidential government systems are the most prevalent types of democratic regimes in developed countries. India is a classic example of a parliamentary government, while the United States is one of the most successful representatives of a presidential government.
Parliamentary Government in India
India is parliamentary country. Legislative power is divided between the President and the Parliament that consists of two houses: Lock Sabha (Council of the People) and the Council of the States. The upper house is under Prime Minister and Cabinet’s control, while the President has no significant influence. Lock Sabha is believed to promote the state’s interest in general, while the lower house promotes the federal objects’ interests. Elections are held every six years (upper house) and five years (lower house). Council of the State cannot be dissolved ahead the schedule. It does not have such a significant influence as Council of the People has.
There are eight principal functions of the Parliament of India. The first and the main Parliament function is the legislative one. It creates new and amends the existing laws. The second function is financial control. The Parliament has rights to impose taxes and regulate expenditures whether their purpose is legal or not. The third one is providing supervision under the Cabinet. The Parliament is responsible for forming the Cabinet, and it controls its activity. The next function is the role of opposition. It saves from power usurpation, and citizens are informed of alternative points of view. The fifth function is an organ of information. Since the Parliament is the most powerful body, it is bound to provide authoritative information. The highly important function is the right to amend the Constitution. The next one is the impeachment of the President. The last but not least duty is the right to create new states or to change the boundaries of existing states. Therefore, the Cabinet has the biggest power in the country.
The Parliament of India has both weak and strong sides. The first important feature is the ceremonial role of the President. He can make decisions only with the Prime Minister’s approval. It is hard to say whether it is good or not. The right to emend the Constitution is rather a weakness than a strength. Democracy and human rights in general are not defended since members of parliament can change the system of election or even the form of government by emending the Constitution. As a result, the Parliament has achieved supremacy over the Court. While the Court has no power over the Parliament, the Cabinet rules the Lock Sabha. It has been decided that the Cabinet is allowed to pass the laws without the Parliament’s assistance since some decisions are urgent. Therefore, the Cabinet abuses its power in pursuit of making decisions that are unpopular with members of parliament. In addition, the Parliament passes laws that are offered by the Cabinet while it ignores individual’s offers. Therefore, the most powerful body in India is the Cabinet and the weakest one is the Court. The parliamentary government involves the separation of powers, but India’s government does not follow those requirements.
Presidential Government in the USA
The main feature of a presidential republic is a rigid separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial so that each branch of power is independent of each other. The President is responsible for domestic and foreign policies; in addition, he is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The Parliament cannot make the government a vote of no confidence. The President has no right to dissolve the Parliament. The relations between the Parliament and the President are based on a system of checks, counterweight, and interdependence. The Parliament can limit the President's actions, while the President tends to have the right to veto parliamentary decisions.
Although the USA is a presidential republic, the President is limited by the Constitution almost in all his political activities. As Thompson writes, “The President of the United States is both more and less than a king; he is, also, both more and less than a prime minister.” As a result, the President is forced to use extra-constitutional mechanisms in pursuit of efficient governing the country. However, the opposition blames the President of not following the Constitution. The role of the President is not important if he does not have enough support within the Parliament. Therefore, the key characteristic of the US government is the strict separation of powers.
There is no perfect political system in the world; therefore, the US system is not an exception. It has both advantages and disadvantages. Among its strong sides, the separation of power is the main one. Each branch of power is independent but at the same time, it strongly depends on other branches. The US government system is based on the principle of checks and balances. Branches are equal but they cannot struggle for supremacy. The next advantage is that the head of the state is elected through direct mandate, so that he has a higher authority and legitimacy. There is no impeachment of the President. It can be held only in the case of crimes against humanity. The similar situation is with the Parliament. It can get the veto of no confidence only after being warned. Therefore, there is no danger in unexpected elections or chaos in the country. The main advantage is that the President does not have enough influence on the Parliament or Congress. There are two parties in the USA. Each of them controls an approximately equal amount of seats in the Parliament and Congress. On the one hand, it prevents from power usurpation, but on the other hand, the US power cannot reach consensus. In general, the US system is well organized.
The Comparison of Two Political Systems (India and the USA)
Although, both India and the United States of America have the republican form of government, they vary in the systems of government. India is a parliamentary country, while the USA has the presidential system of government. There is one main similarity between those two systems: the separation of powers within three branches to prevent power usurpation. This separation of powers is more developed in the USA, where all system is based on the principle of checks and balances. There is no such a strict following of the Constitution in India, where the Parliament has more rights that the Court, and at the same time, it is forced to listen to the Cabinet. Therefore, each branch of power is not independent in India as it is in the USA. There is hierarchy of power in India. The next difference is the right to emend the Constitution. The Parliament of India has the right to emend the Constitution in pursuit of receiving more power. If they can change the Constitution, they can change the whole system of government, while the politicians in the USA do not have such authorization. The US system of government is much better than the India’s one since the US citizens can be sure that their leaders follow the Constitution and they are controlled by other branches of power. Conclusion In conclusion, India is the parliamentary republic while the USA is the presidential republic. The Prime Minister is the head of the state in India, but the President is the main person in the USA. Both systems have their weaknesses and strengths. The main difference between those systems is the separation of powers. It is strict and efficient in the USA, while the power in India manages to ignore all the rules not violating the law. Thus, the US system is the better one since Congress, the Parliament, and the President control each other.