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Need for Political Institutions

We have seen one example of how the government works. Governing a country involves various such activities.

For Example

1) The government is responsible for ensuring security to the citizens and providing facilities for education and health to all.

2) It collects taxes and spends the money thus raised on administration, defence and development programmes.

3) It formulates and implements several welfare schemes.


Some persons have to take decisions on how to go about these activities. Others have to implement these decisions. If disputes arise on these decisions or in their implementation, there should be some one to determine what is right and what is wrong. It is important that everyone should know who is responsible for doing what. It is also important that these activities keep taking place even if the persons in key positions change. So, to attend to all these tasks, several arrangements are made in all modern democracies. Such arrangements are called institutions.

A democracy works well when these institutions perform functions assigned to them. The Constitution of any country lays down basic rules on the powers and functions of each institution.

a. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are institutions that take all important policy decisions.

b. The Civil Servants, working together, are responsible for taking steps to implement the ministers’ decisions.

c. Supreme Court is an institution where disputes between citizens and the government are finally settled.

Working with institutions is not easy. Institutions involve rules and regulations. This can bind the hands of leaders. Institutions involve meetings, committees and routines. This often leads to delays and complications. Therefore dealing with institutions can be frustrating. One might feel that it is much better to have one person take all decisions without any rules, procedures and meetings. But that is not the spirit of democracy. Some of the delays and complications introduced by institutions are very useful. They provide an opportunity for a wider set of people to be consulted in any decision. Institutions make it difficult to have a good decision taken very quickly. But they also make it equally difficult to rush class and try to imagine what the Parliament could have done if it did not approve of the Cabinet’s decision.


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