Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Government and administration

Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore (seat of the Legislative Assembly)
Karnataka, like other Indian states, has a parliamentary system of government with two democratically elected houses, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The Legislative Assembly consists of 224 members who are elected for five-year terms. The Legislative Council is a permanent body of 75 members with one-third (25 members) retiring every two years.
The government of Karnataka is headed by the Chief Minister who is chosen by the ruling party members of the Legislative Assembly. The Chief Minister, along with the council of ministers, drives the legislative agenda and exercises most of the executive powers. However, the constitutional and formal head of the state is the Governor who is appointed for a five-year term by the President of India on the advice of the Union government. The people of Karnataka also elect 28 members to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. The members of the state Legislative Assembly elect 12 members to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.

For administrative purposes, Karnataka has been divided into four revenue divisions, 49 sub-divisions, 29 districts, 175 taluks and 745 hoblies/revenue circles. The administration in each district is headed by a Deputy Commissioner who belongs to the Indian Administrative Service and is assisted by a number of officers belonging to Karnataka state services. The Deputy Commissioner of Police, an officer belonging to the Indian Police Service and assisted by the officers of the Karnataka Police Service, is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining law and order and related issues in each district. The Deputy Conservator of Forests, an officer belonging to the Indian Forest Service, also serves the government. Sectoral development in the districts is looked after by the district head of each development department such as Public Works Department, Health, Education, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, etc. The judiciary in the state consists of the Karnataka High Court (Attara Kacheri) in Bangalore, district and session courts in each district and lower courts and judges at the taluk level.
Politics in Karnataka has been dominated by three political parties, the Indian National Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Politicians from Karnataka have played prominent roles in federal government of India with some of them having held the high positions of Prime Minister and Vice President. Three cabinet levels ministers in the current United Progressive Alliance government are from Karnataka. Notable among these is Former Chief Minister and Honorable Union Minister for Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Veerappa Moily. Border disputes involving Karnataka's claim on the Kasaragod and Sholapur districts and Maharashtra's claim on Belgaum are ongoing since the states reorganisation. The official emblem of Karnataka has a Ganda Berunda in the centre. Surmounting this are four lions facing the four directions, taken from the Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath. The emblem also carries two Sharabhas with the head of an elephant and the body of a lion.

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