Presidential vs parliamentary form of government for india
“Parliamentary system best suited for India, presidential system will be counter-productive”: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that in his press conference held on 3 January 2014. Taking a cue from the PM’s statement, let’s explore the possibility of presidential form of government in India and compare and contrast it with the parliamentary form of government to find out which one will suit India better.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Presidential vs parliamentary form of government for india
Presidential System Vs Parliamentary System of Government
“Parliamentary system best suited for India, presidential system will be counter-productive”:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that in his press conference held on 3 January 2014.
Taking a cue from the PM’s statement, let’s explore the possibility of presidential form of
government in India and compare and contrast it with the parliamentary form of government to
find out which one will suit India better.
Difference between Parliamentary systemand Presidential system
The major difference between these two systems is that in a Presidential system, the President is
directly voted upon by the people. He is answerable to the voters rather than the legislature.
While in a parliamentary system, the legislature holds supreme power. The prime minister is
chosen by members of the legislature and in practice is the leader of the majority party in the
legislature. The prime minister along with his cabinet members must also belong to the
legislature, where they are subject to the questioning by the legislature.
If the prime minister loses the support of the majority in the legislature, he is forced to resign
immediately and elections are called.
Countries such as India, UK, Germany, Iraq, Ireland, Israel and Italy have parliamentary form of
government while Afghanistan, USA, Venezuela, Ghana, Iran and Indonesia have presidential
form of government.
Advantages of Presidential form of government
Presidential form of government ensures stability of the government. The executive can
carry on with its policy till the end of its full term. It helps in bringing stability to
In this system decisions can be taken speedily and implemented effectively. The
executive in a parliamentary system is ridden with indecision due to political pressures.
Therefore, it is difficult to take decisions promptly. However, the presidential executive
is free from such inhibitions. He makes his own decisions and gets them implemented
through his own ministers.
In the presidential system, the executive is free from the evils of party influence in his
daily administration as compared with parliamentary form of government. His ministers
are not political in nature nor he is leading a political party in the legislature. This allows
him required freedom to carry on his administration without any obstacles. But under a
Parliamentary system everything needs to be done under political consideration due to
never ending party pressure on the prime minister.
Disadvantages of presidential form of government
In a presidential system, the executive is often chosen independently from the legislature.
If the executive and legislature in such a system include members from different political
parties, then stalemate or deadlock is very much likely to occur where passing of key
legislative decisions are concerned.
The president in presidential form of government being not responsible or answerable to
anybody except the voters can be a precarious proposition in a democratic form of
government. When the president becomes autocratic due to lack of any immediate check
the administration becomes irresponsible which in turn affects the freedom of the people.
The separation of powers between executive and legislature in presidential form of
government sometimes creates conflicts and deadlocks. The executive making policies
not in consultation with the legislature or the legislature bringing legislation without the
initiative of the executive, more often than not crates conflicts between them.
Political Structure of India
Constitution of India provides for a Parliamentary form of government. While doing so it follows
the British model of government. In fact, the type of government that functioned in India before
1947 was very much similar to the British model of parliamentary government.
Therefore, the members of the Constituent Assembly decided to adopt this form of government
for independent India. The Constitution of India provides for the constitution of parliamentary
government both at the centre and the states.
India as a nation is deeply divided into several groups with conflicting interests. In this situation
switching to presidential form of government can be counter-productive. True, parliamentary
form of government makes decision making process a lengthy one in India but it manages to
keep the political integrity intact. At least, it doesn’t curtail the freedom of people. In presidential
form of government, the president can start behaving like an autocrat by imposing his decisions
on masses. Moreover, the nation is in no mood for any new experiment which could pose any
danger to its unity.
India is very much used to the parliamentary form of government since British Raj. Switching to
presidential form of government will add only confusion. At least all the varied groups are
getting representation in parliamentary form of government. Therefore, India should continue
with the parliamentary form of government.