Classification of Government based on the principle of the distribution of power

 Based on the principle of the distribution of power, governments can be classified into two types: unitary government and federal government.


Unitary Government.

The system of governance in which all powers are vested in the hands of central government and governance is run from the centre is called a unitary government. In this system, power is not distributed between centre and province.

In this type of govemment, regional government has no separate entity. The state consists of provincial or administrative regions. But they act as agents or facilitators of the centre. Bangladesh, Japan, UK are the examples of unitary government.


Work: Prepare a concept map/chart based on characteristics of unitary state.

Merits of Unitary Government

Unitary government has the following merits:


1. Easy Organization System: The organization of a unitary government is simple. In it, all powers are vested in the hands of the centre. There is no complexity of sharing power between centre and province. If any decision is made at the centre, it can be easily implemented all over the country. Besides, unified laws, policies and plans are put into effect in this form of governance. Organizational consistency is maintained.


2. Symbol of National Unity: In this form of government there is no autonomous regions or province. As a result the same administrative principles and laws are made for the whole country, which helps to keep national and territorial integrity.


3. Economical: In unitary government, administrative cost is low. Because, government only remains at the centre in this form of government. Here, central government takes all the decisions and implements them gradually. High officials are not necessary at every level, so the cost decreases.


4. Quick decision-making: Unitary government can take quick decision as it does not have to take regional interest into consideration or it does not have to consult with the regional government. No complexity arises in decision making.


5. Suitable for Small States: Unitary state is suitable for a state which is geographically relatively small and has a homogenous culture. For example, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.


Demerits of Unitary Government:

Just as unitary government has its merits, it has demerits too. They are:


1. Work load: As all the powers are vested in the hands of the central government, the central government has too much load of work. As administrators of the central government, they have to perform all functions and so they cannot pay attention to the welfare functions for the people due to heavy work load.


2. Unfavorable for the development of local leadership: In this system, power is exercised and decisions are taken at the centre. No scope is left for political participation at the provincial or regional level. As a result, local leadership cannot develop.


3. Negligence of local development and problems: Unitary government adopts unified plans or decisions for the whole country. But different localities may have different problems, and central government cannot take notice of all these problems. Moreover, as the regions are far away from the centre, central government can not understand and solve the local problems.


4. Unsuitable for large states: Unitary government is unsuitable for large states. In large states, language, culture and tradition differ from one region to another. These differences altogether cannot be tackled alone by the central government. In running the state, government has to face multifaceted problems. People become suspicious of the government. For this reason, separation may develop in the regions.


5. Center's arbitrariness: As all powers tend to be centered in the central government, it might lead to the rise of arbitrary behaviour of the central government.


Federal Government:

Federal government consists of more than one region or province. This type of government is based on the principle of the distribution of power. In this form of government, a part of state power and authority, according to the constitution is vested in the hands of the provincial government and the national matters are vested in the hands of the central government. Provincial and central government thus possess fundamental powers. Both run the governments separately and independently. In other words, there exists a dual form of government. India, the USA, Canada are examples of federal forms of government.


Work: Prepare a list of the characteristics of federal government.

Merits of the federal government

There are several merits of the federal government. For example:


1. It coordinates national unity and regional individuality: This kind of government creates national unity by maintaining regional individuality and differences. By recognizing regional characteristics and differences, these are fostered in this form of government. Thus unity in diversity develops.


2. It decreases the work load of the central government: In this form of government, power is distributed through constitution between the centre and provinces, relieving the burden of central government. The centre can perform its functions with ease.


3. It is conducive to solving regional problems: In federal system, regional government can easily comprehend and identify the problems of regions and solve these problems.


4. It increases political consciousness and helps the growth of local leadership: In the federal system, people are loyal to two governments and abide by two kinds of laws. Thereby, people become politically more conscious. This system helps to grow local leadership.


5. It helps to reduce arbitrary behaviour of the centre: Due to distribution of power between the centre and provinces, the centre cannot assume absolute power. As a result the centre has no chance to have any arbitrary attitude.


Demerits of federal government

Demerits mentioned below may be seen in federal government:


1. Complicated nature of rule: The organization of federal government is of complicated nature. It is like a government within a government. Consequently, complexities arise regarding the determination of relationship between the centre and province, distribution of power, law making and application.


2. Conflicts of power: In this system, conflicts may be created between centre and province or between provinces over the jurisdiction of power.


3. Weak government: Due to sharing of power, both national and regional governments remain weak. Quick and strong decisions cannot be taken during emergency. Decisions are delayed if opinions of the regional governments are required.


4. Fear of secession: Provinces are separate and autonomous in federal governments. Taking the advantage of this opportunity, any region or province may attempt to be separate.


5. Costly: As dual structures of government exist, the cost of administration increases.

Work: Compare the merits and demerits of unitary and federal governments.

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