Polity & Governance (Executive, Judiciary, Legislature (Mains))

UPSC Syllabus

  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States
  • Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
  • Devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive
  • Ministries and Departments of the Government
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary
  • Dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions

Issues And Challenges Pertaining to The Federal Structure

  • Union and its territory
    • Formation of state and Altercation of boundaries
  • Nature of Federal System
  • Peculiar features of Indian federalism
  • A Critique of the Federal System
    • Challenges of Nation building
    • Challenges Of Special Status State And Problems
  • Demand for New states: Gorkhaland, Nagalim, Vidharbha, Purvanchal etc.
  • Era of One-Party dominance
  • Regional aspirations
  • Emergency Provisions
    • Imposition of President Rule
    • Fundamental Rights during Emergency
  • Conversion of state to UT unilateraly by centre-A constitutional question

Structure, organization and functioning of the Union executive

  • President
    • President of India – Discretionary Powers- Imposition of President’s rule
    • Is President a mere Rubber Stamp
  • Vice President
  • Prime Minister
  • Central Council of Ministers
  • Cabinet Committees

Structure, organization and functioning of the State executive

  • Governor
    • Provisions related to removal of Governor (Article 156)
    • Discretionary Powers
    • Politicization of the Post of Governor
  • Chief Minister
  • State Council of Ministers


  • Parliament
    • Sessions of Parliament: Adjournment, Prorogation, Dissolution etc.
    • Lacunas in Parliamentary Functioning in India
    • When Does a Bill Lapse in Indian Parliament?
    • Types of Majorities Used in the Indian
    • Election to Rajya Sabha: The Procedure.
    • Relevance of Rajya Sabha
    • Government Budgeting: Indian Budget for
    • Budget Documents Made Simple: Key to Budget Documents.
    • Cut Motions: Policy Cut, Economy Cut, and Token Cut.
    • Misuse of Ordinance promulgation power
    • Office of the Speaker: Powers and Issues
    • Issue related to office of profit
    • Breach Of Privilege: Special privileges   to MP’s and its implications
  • Parliamentary Committees
    • Parliamentary Committees in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
    • Diminishing importance of parliamentary committees

State Legislature

  • State Legislature
    • Full statehood to Delhi: Should it be granted or not?
    • Relevance of Council of State    

Functions and responsibilities of the Union and States

7th Schedule

Separation of Power

  • Power Sharing
  • Centre-State Relations
    • Inter-State Council vs National Development Council.
    • Separate State Flag in Karnataka
    • NITI Aayog: The new ‘think-tank’ to replace Planning Commission.
  • Foreign Policy
  • States demand a say in Foreign Policy?

Dispute Redressal Mechanisms And Institutions

  • Inter-State Relations
    • Inter-state River Water Dispute
    • Inter-state Councils
  • Parliamentary Forums
  • Parliamentary Groups
  • Administrative Tribunals
  • National Integration

Devolution Of Powers And Finances Up to Local Levels And Challenges Therein

  • Local Governments
    • Nagaland Reservation in Urban Bodies
    • Education Qualification made mandatory for contesting Local Government Elections
  • Panchayati Raj and PESA 1996
  • Municipalities
    • in Municipalities in Sync with Urban Development Missions

Structure, organization and functioning of the JUDICIARY

  • Higher Judiciary Appointments
    • Collegium system and issues.
    • Collegium Vs. NJAC
    • CJI removal
  • Judicial Review
  • Judicial Activism
    • Judicial activism and judicial Overreach
    • Judicial Accountability & RTI Act
  • Public Interest Litigation
    • Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2017 Controversy
    • National Litigation Policy
  • Other Judicial Issues
    • All India Judicial Services
    • Proposal for National Court of Appeal
    • Judicial Pendency
    • Judicial Reforms
    • Problems with Tribunals, Problems arising out of sidestepping the HC
    • Alternate Dispute Redressal (ADR)
  • Major Judgements of Supreme Court
    • RIGHT TO CONVERT-the Supreme Court’s judgement regarding a person’s right to choose a religion, Issue of Religious  Conversion in India,
    • Reservation in promotion, Argument in favour of reservation in promotion, Argument against the reservation in  promotions
    • Supreme Court judgement on Caste, Religion in Polls
    • Validity of Aadhaar but with certain caveats
    • Cauvery River Verdict
    • Concept of Defamation in India
    • Should the SC proceedings be live streamed?

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