India flag India: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of India

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Droupadi Murmu (since 25 July 2022) - BJP
Prime Minister: Narendra Modi (since 26 May 2014) – BJP
Next Election Dates
Presidential: July 2027
Legislative: April-May 2024
Current Political Context
In March 2022, the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged victorious in four out of five state elections. In December 2022, they secured a landslide victory in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This positions the BJP significantly ahead of its competitors for the upcoming general election, mandated to be held by May 2024. The BJP's dominance has been facilitated by the division within the opposition, notably the Congress Party, both at the national and local levels.
In 2023, the Winter Session of Parliament faced disruptions following an incident on December 13 when intruders entered the Lok Sabha chamber and released coloured gas, coinciding with the anniversary of the 2001 Parliament attack. Opposition parties demanded a statement from Union Minister Amit Shah regarding the security breach, leading to the suspension of 146 MPs across both Houses, marking the highest number of suspensions in Parliament's history. On July 18, multiple political parties united under the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) to challenge the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the forthcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Furthermore, assembly elections took place in nine states across India, namely Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Karnataka, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Telangana. The BJP emerged victorious in four states, the Congress secured victory in two, and regional parties clinched the remaining three.
Main Political Parties
The main parties in India include:

- Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): right-wing, pro-Hindu, nationalist ideology; heads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition and has been the ruling political party of India for the past eight years
- Indian National Congress (INC): centre to centre-left, big tent party, social democratic, secular; a major party involved in the independence movement; heads the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) opposition coalition
- Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK): centre-left, social democratic, regionalist
- All India Trinamool Congress (AITC): centre to centre-right, Bengali nationalist, populist
- Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP):
centre-left, regional, based in the state of Andhra Pradesh
- Janata Dal (United - JDU): socialism, left-wing
- Shiv Sena (SHS): right-wing, conservatism
- Biju Janata Dal (BJD): centre to centre-left, social democratic, liberal, populist
- Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP): centre-left, social equality. India's third major political party, whose electorate is mainly composed of Dalits and low castes
- Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS): centre, populism
- Telugu Desam Party (TDP): centre-right, neoliberal, populist, regionalist
- Communist Party of India (CPI): far-left, Communist, Marxist-Leninist
- Nationalist Congress Party (NCP): centre to centre-left, nationalist
- National People's Party (NPP): centre to centre-left, regionalist, ethnocentrist.
Executive Power
The President is the Chief of State and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He/she is indirectly elected for a five-year term by an electoral college, which consists of elected members of both houses of Parliament as well as the legislative assemblies of each of India's states and territories.
The Prime Minister is the Head of Government and is chosen by Lok Sabha members (House of the People, lower chamber) of the majority party, following legislative elections, to serve a term of five years. The President, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, appoints the Cabinet.
Legislative Power
The Indian legislature is bicameral. The Parliament consists of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha). The Council of States has 245 members serving a six-year term, while the House of the People has 543 members serving a five-year term.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
142/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
2/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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Latest Update: February 2024