The efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of the entire country depends upon the vigour and the competency for the state governments. There are some important reasons why states occupy a vital role in the governmental system of the country. They are
(1) The States are the agencies for execution of planned programmes. Most subjects which constitute the ingredients of development administration are within states’ exclusive jurisdiction;
(2) The state governments act in many cases as the agents of the Union in discharging its functions;
(3) People’s participation in the government and administration is very important at the state level;
(4) Article 40 of the constitution provides for Local Self-Government which comes under the purview of the state governments;
(5) Maintenance of law and order is a very important state subject;
(6) The concept of Welfare State and development administration has given the states a new dynamic role and importance.
Article 1 of the Constitution describes India as a Union of States. In a federation, there are two sets of government, the national government and the government of the units. In case of India, we have Union Government at the Central level and at the regional level the State Government which is responsible for administration of the region.
The machinery of government at the state level is similar to that of the central government. On the advice of the Prime Minister, the President appoints a state governor for a five-year term. He occupies a position in his state analogous to that of the president; it is largely honorific but has certain discretionary powers. Constitutionally, executive power is vested in the governor and he enjoys certain real powers.
He is empowered to dismiss the state council of ministers; dissolve the legislative assembly; refuse to give assent to a bill passed by the legislature and send it back for reconsideration; reserve a state bill for the consideration of the president; and, perhaps most important, select a chief minister whose position in the state is very much the same as that of the prime minister in the union. The governor may also advice the president to proclaim an emergency in his state, and thus proclaim President’s Rule.
The governor’s power to select a chief minister can be a decisive factor in situations where no single party emerges with a clear majority in the state assembly. His position as an agent of the Government of India in the state has been a matter of contention in situations where he has disregarded the advice of the chief minister in the interest of contrary desires on the part of the higher level central authorities.
Executive power in the state is exercised by the council of ministers, led by the chief minister. The council is collectively responsible to the state assembly, and is members are appointed by the governor on the advice of the chief minister. Below the political executive falls the administrative machinery, it’s top being the secretariat. Below it are the directorates and district administration.
The most important of the administrative unit in the state is the revenue district, which is the basic unit administration in India. It is further split up into sub-divisions and these again into smaller circles. At the turn of the twentieth century undivided India had nearly 250 districts. Today their number is 527.
A district is placed under the administrative charge of a district collector or deputy commissioner who verily acts as the eyes, ears and arms of the state government.
The lower-most tier of the country’s governmental system in India is local government, which has acquired a distinct importance as a result of the seventy-third and seventy-fourth constitutional amendments operative since 1993. Institutional set-up of local government is based on rural-urban separateness.
The rural local government is known as the Panchayatiraj system comprising hierarchically integrated zila parishad, panchayati samiti and village panchayat. The urban local government is not hierarchical. The country has four forms of urban local government – the municipal corporations, municipal boards and nagar panchayats. The cantonments are administered by the Ministry of Defence in the Government of India.