what is government
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  • Every country needs a government to make decisions and get things done.
  • The government has the powers to make and enforce its decisions.
  • The decisions can vary from:
  1. Building roads and schools.
  2. Reducing the prices of consumer goods when they become expensive.
  3. Ways to increase the supply of basic services like electricity, food, and healthcare.
  4. Running several social programs to help the poor.
  5. Running postal and railway services.
  6. Protecting the boundaries of the country and maintaining peaceful relations with other countries.
  7. Providing aid and assistance to the victims of natural calamities. And much more.

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  •  A Government takes these decisions on behalf of its citizens by exercising leadership.
  • The government makes laws and everyone living in the country has to follow them.
  • Besides, there are also steps that people can take if they feel that a particular law is not being followed.
  • For example, if a person feels that he was not hired for a job because of his caste or religion, he may approach the court against the government. The court can then order necessary action.
  • The government works at different levels:
  1. At the local level.
  2. At the level of the state.
  3. At the national level.

Who gives the government the power to make decisions and enforce laws?

  • It depends on the type of government a country has.
  • In a democracy, people elect the government through elections. The government so formed has to explain its actions and defend its decisions to the people.
  • In the case of a monarchy, the monarch or the king has the power to make decisions and run the government. He has the final decision-making power.
  • The King or Queen do not have to explain or defend their actions and decisions.

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Democratic governments

  • India is a democracy.
  • In a democracy, the people have the power to elect their leaders. The basic idea is that people rule themselves by participating in the making of these rules.
  • Democratic governments are usually referred to as representative democracies. In this case, people do not directly participate but choose their representatives through an election process.
  • In India, before independence, only a small minority (only wealthy and educated men) was allowed to vote which determined the fate of the majority.
  • Several people, including Gandhiji, were shocked at the unfairness of this practice and demanded that all adults have the right to vote.
  • A democratic government has to follow universal adult franchise. This means that all adults in the country are allowed to vote in the election process.

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The Suffrage Movement

  • Nowhere in the world have governments willingly shared power.
  • All over Europe and USA, women and the poor have had to fight for participation in the government.
  • Women’s struggle to vote got strengthened during the First World War. This movement is called the women’s suffrage movement as the term suffrage usually means the right to vote.
  • During the war, many men were aware fighting, and because of this women were called upon to do work that was earlier considered men’s work.
  • Many women began organizing and managing different kinds of work.
  • When people saw this they began to wonder why they had created so many unfair stereotypes about women and what they were capable of doing.
  • So women began to be seen as being equally capable of making decisions.
  • The suffragettes demanded the right to vote for all women and to get their demands heard they chained themselves to railings in public places.
  • Many suffragettes were imprisoned and went on hunger strikes, and they had to be fed by force.
  • American women got the right to vote in 1920 while women in the UK got this right in 1928.

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