India achieved independence on August 15, 1947 and adopted the system of parliamentary democracy. India also remained within the British Commonwealth Nations. India became a Republic on 26th January 1950. The Indian Constitution adopted safeguards to protect its entire people from all forms of discrimination on grounds of caste, creed, race, religion, or sex. It guarantees to all its Citizens freedom of speech and expression, the right to assemble peacefully, freedom of conscience and worship, subject to general consideration of public security and morality. Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden.
The President is the Head of State who is elected for five years by the members of an Electoral College consisting of the elected members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabhs and the Legislative Assemblies.
There is also a Vice-President elected for five years by the members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Indian Parliament consists of two houses, the Houses of people known as the Lok Sabha and the Council of States known as Rajya Sabha.
Lok Sabha has 543 elected members representing the whole country. Members are elected directly by the people through the universal adult franchise. The Lok Sabha elects its own Speaker and Deputy Speaker
The Rajya Sabha has 238 representatives of states who are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of each State. Twelve members are nominated by the President on the ground of having special knowledge in literature, science etc. Vice-President is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
There is a Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advice the President. The President appoints the Prime Minister. Normally the Prime Minister will be the leader of the majority Party in the Lok Sabha. The President appoints other ministers on the advice of the Prime Minster.
The Rajya Sabha is not subjected to dissolution. But one-third of the members will retire on expiration of every second year. The Lok Sabha unless dissolved will continue for five years. Both the Houses should meet at least twice in every year. Every legalisation requires the approval of both Houses.
The President's assent is required before a Bill becomes law. He can withhold his assent and return the bill with his suggestions. But if the Bill is passed again by both Houses the President cannot withhold his accent.
Members to the State Legislative Assembly or Vidhan Sabha are also chose by universal adult franchise. The Governor heads the State Assembly and is appointed by the President. The Chief Minister, the leader of the majority party, is the head of the State Government. The Governor appoints other Ministers on Chief Minister's recommendation.
Elections are conducted under the supervision of the Election Commission, an autonomous body. An independent Judiciary is the guardian and interpreter of the Constitution. Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the country while High Courts are for the States.
The Civil Services execute Government policies fairly and freely. Service executives are selected on merit by annual entrance examinations those are open to all.
Since Independence India made considerable progress in agricultural productions and industrialization. India is now one of the top 10 industrial powers in the world. Under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, the country followed a policy of non-alignment. India made long strides in development of space technology, computer science and many other scientific and industrial fields.