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24 Social and Political Life
How
the State
Government
Works
Last year, we discussed the
fact that government works at
three levels – local, state and
national – and looked at the
work of local government in
some detail. In this chapter,
we examine the work of the
government at the state
level. How does this take
place in a democracy?
What is the role of a
Member of the Legislative
Assembly (MLA) and
Ministers? How do people
express their views or
demand action from
government? We look at these
questions through the example
of health.
3
CHAPTER
WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY?
Hey, look at this...it says that
there is a water shortage in
our state, and people are
falling sick!
“...In many villages, people were found to be
drinking unclean water. Streams have dried up, and
so have tanks. In the worst-affected areas, villagers
have been carrying water across great distances.”
“People at the district HQ Patalpuram receive water
supply once in three days. The District Hospital here is
overflowing with patients – a large number of whom
are children with acute diarrhoea...”
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 2


24 Social and Political Life
How
the State
Government
Works
Last year, we discussed the
fact that government works at
three levels – local, state and
national – and looked at the
work of local government in
some detail. In this chapter,
we examine the work of the
government at the state
level. How does this take
place in a democracy?
What is the role of a
Member of the Legislative
Assembly (MLA) and
Ministers? How do people
express their views or
demand action from
government? We look at these
questions through the example
of health.
3
CHAPTER
WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY?
Hey, look at this...it says that
there is a water shortage in
our state, and people are
falling sick!
“...In many villages, people were found to be
drinking unclean water. Streams have dried up, and
so have tanks. In the worst-affected areas, villagers
have been carrying water across great distances.”
“People at the district HQ Patalpuram receive water
supply once in three days. The District Hospital here is
overflowing with patients – a large number of whom
are children with acute diarrhoea...”
Rationalised 2023-24
25
Who is an MLA?
In the above section, you have read about some
events in Patalpuram. You may be familiar with some
official names such as Collector, Medical Officer, etc.
But have you heard of an MLA and the Legislative
Assembly? Do you know the MLA of your area? Can
you identify which party she or he belongs to?
Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are
elected by the people. They then become members
of the legislative assembly and also form the
On the TV news, they said ten people
have died from diarrhoea! Is that
possible? Can one really die from it?
Who knows? Just
hope I don’t get it!
Ha ha!
My mother said not to have any iced
drinks from the market. She gave one of
her lectures this morning, “Y ou have to
be responsible for your health,
Shirin!”
Suddenly...
STOP!
Really! Why? Has
he done something?
Shh...I saw him on TV
too. He is a member of
the Opposition!
What a loud voice he has...he must be
a leader or something...
...and we demand that the
authorities take immediate action to
bring the public health situation
under control! Our MLA must take
the responsibility for this!
This road is blocked due to the rally.
They have gheraoed the MLA’s  residence.
Ha ha – they
seem more angry
about what he
hasn’t done!
What is happening in Patalpuram ?
Why is this problem serious?
What action do you think can be
taken in the above situation and
who do you think should take this
action? Discuss.
That afternoon...
25 Chapter 3: How the State Government Works
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 3


24 Social and Political Life
How
the State
Government
Works
Last year, we discussed the
fact that government works at
three levels – local, state and
national – and looked at the
work of local government in
some detail. In this chapter,
we examine the work of the
government at the state
level. How does this take
place in a democracy?
What is the role of a
Member of the Legislative
Assembly (MLA) and
Ministers? How do people
express their views or
demand action from
government? We look at these
questions through the example
of health.
3
CHAPTER
WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY?
Hey, look at this...it says that
there is a water shortage in
our state, and people are
falling sick!
“...In many villages, people were found to be
drinking unclean water. Streams have dried up, and
so have tanks. In the worst-affected areas, villagers
have been carrying water across great distances.”
“People at the district HQ Patalpuram receive water
supply once in three days. The District Hospital here is
overflowing with patients – a large number of whom
are children with acute diarrhoea...”
Rationalised 2023-24
25
Who is an MLA?
In the above section, you have read about some
events in Patalpuram. You may be familiar with some
official names such as Collector, Medical Officer, etc.
But have you heard of an MLA and the Legislative
Assembly? Do you know the MLA of your area? Can
you identify which party she or he belongs to?
Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are
elected by the people. They then become members
of the legislative assembly and also form the
On the TV news, they said ten people
have died from diarrhoea! Is that
possible? Can one really die from it?
Who knows? Just
hope I don’t get it!
Ha ha!
My mother said not to have any iced
drinks from the market. She gave one of
her lectures this morning, “Y ou have to
be responsible for your health,
Shirin!”
Suddenly...
STOP!
Really! Why? Has
he done something?
Shh...I saw him on TV
too. He is a member of
the Opposition!
What a loud voice he has...he must be
a leader or something...
...and we demand that the
authorities take immediate action to
bring the public health situation
under control! Our MLA must take
the responsibility for this!
This road is blocked due to the rally.
They have gheraoed the MLA’s  residence.
Ha ha – they
seem more angry
about what he
hasn’t done!
What is happening in Patalpuram ?
Why is this problem serious?
What action do you think can be
taken in the above situation and
who do you think should take this
action? Discuss.
That afternoon...
25 Chapter 3: How the State Government Works
Rationalised 2023-24
26 Social and Political Life
Discuss the following terms with
your teacher–public meeting,
States in India, constituency,
majority, ruling party and
opposition.
Can you explain the following
terms–majority, ruling party,
opposition with reference to your
state.
government. In this way we say that the MLAs
represent people. The example below will help us
understand this better.
Every state in India has a Legislative Assembly.
Each state is divided into different areas or
constituencies. For example, look at the map below.
It shows that the state of Himachal Pradesh is divided
into 68 assembly constituencies. From each
constituency, the people elect one representative who
then becomes a Member of the Legislative Assembly
(MLA). You would have noticed that people stand for
elections in the name of different parties. These MLAs,
therefore, belong to different political parties.
How do people who are MLAs become ministers or
chief minister? A political party whose MLAs have
won more than half the number of constituencies in
a state can be said to be in a majority. The political
party that has the majority is called the ruling party
and all other members are called the opposition. For
example, the Legislative Assembly of the state of
Himachal Pradesh has 68 MLA constituencies.
The state of  Himachal Pradesh is
coloured in purple in the above
thumbnail map of India.
Using a pencil outline the following on the
map given on page 97:
  (i) the state that you live in;
(ii) the state of Himachal Pradesh.
Jammu and Kashmir
Punjab
Uttarakhand
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 4


24 Social and Political Life
How
the State
Government
Works
Last year, we discussed the
fact that government works at
three levels – local, state and
national – and looked at the
work of local government in
some detail. In this chapter,
we examine the work of the
government at the state
level. How does this take
place in a democracy?
What is the role of a
Member of the Legislative
Assembly (MLA) and
Ministers? How do people
express their views or
demand action from
government? We look at these
questions through the example
of health.
3
CHAPTER
WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY?
Hey, look at this...it says that
there is a water shortage in
our state, and people are
falling sick!
“...In many villages, people were found to be
drinking unclean water. Streams have dried up, and
so have tanks. In the worst-affected areas, villagers
have been carrying water across great distances.”
“People at the district HQ Patalpuram receive water
supply once in three days. The District Hospital here is
overflowing with patients – a large number of whom
are children with acute diarrhoea...”
Rationalised 2023-24
25
Who is an MLA?
In the above section, you have read about some
events in Patalpuram. You may be familiar with some
official names such as Collector, Medical Officer, etc.
But have you heard of an MLA and the Legislative
Assembly? Do you know the MLA of your area? Can
you identify which party she or he belongs to?
Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are
elected by the people. They then become members
of the legislative assembly and also form the
On the TV news, they said ten people
have died from diarrhoea! Is that
possible? Can one really die from it?
Who knows? Just
hope I don’t get it!
Ha ha!
My mother said not to have any iced
drinks from the market. She gave one of
her lectures this morning, “Y ou have to
be responsible for your health,
Shirin!”
Suddenly...
STOP!
Really! Why? Has
he done something?
Shh...I saw him on TV
too. He is a member of
the Opposition!
What a loud voice he has...he must be
a leader or something...
...and we demand that the
authorities take immediate action to
bring the public health situation
under control! Our MLA must take
the responsibility for this!
This road is blocked due to the rally.
They have gheraoed the MLA’s  residence.
Ha ha – they
seem more angry
about what he
hasn’t done!
What is happening in Patalpuram ?
Why is this problem serious?
What action do you think can be
taken in the above situation and
who do you think should take this
action? Discuss.
That afternoon...
25 Chapter 3: How the State Government Works
Rationalised 2023-24
26 Social and Political Life
Discuss the following terms with
your teacher–public meeting,
States in India, constituency,
majority, ruling party and
opposition.
Can you explain the following
terms–majority, ruling party,
opposition with reference to your
state.
government. In this way we say that the MLAs
represent people. The example below will help us
understand this better.
Every state in India has a Legislative Assembly.
Each state is divided into different areas or
constituencies. For example, look at the map below.
It shows that the state of Himachal Pradesh is divided
into 68 assembly constituencies. From each
constituency, the people elect one representative who
then becomes a Member of the Legislative Assembly
(MLA). You would have noticed that people stand for
elections in the name of different parties. These MLAs,
therefore, belong to different political parties.
How do people who are MLAs become ministers or
chief minister? A political party whose MLAs have
won more than half the number of constituencies in
a state can be said to be in a majority. The political
party that has the majority is called the ruling party
and all other members are called the opposition. For
example, the Legislative Assembly of the state of
Himachal Pradesh has 68 MLA constituencies.
The state of  Himachal Pradesh is
coloured in purple in the above
thumbnail map of India.
Using a pencil outline the following on the
map given on page 97:
  (i) the state that you live in;
(ii) the state of Himachal Pradesh.
Jammu and Kashmir
Punjab
Uttarakhand
Rationalised 2023-24
27
Construct a table, similar to the
one given for Himachal Pradesh,
for your state.
Results of the Assembly Elections in Himachal Pradesh in 2017
Political party Number of MLAs elected
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ............................................................. 44
Indian National Congress (INC) ...................................................21
Communist Party of India (Marxist)............................................... 1
Independents (who don’t belong to any party).......................... 2
Total ................................................................................ 68
The Head of the State is the Governor.
She/He is appointed by the Central
Government to ensure that the State
Government works within the rules and
regulations of the Constitution. Find out the
name of Governor of your State.
At times, the ruling party may not
be a single party but a group of
parties working together. This is
called a coalition. Discuss with
your teacher.
Candidates from various political parties won the
2017 assembly elections and became MLAs. Since
the total number of MLAs in the Legislative Assembly
is 68, a political party would have needed to have
more than 34 MLAs in order to gain a majority. The
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 44 MLAs had the
majority and it became the ruling party. All other MLAs
became the opposition. In this case, the Indian National
Congress (INC) was the major opposition party, since it
had the largest number of MLAs after the BJP. Among
the opposition were other parties, including those who
had been elected as independent candidates.
After the elections, the MLAs belonging to the
ruling party will elect their leader who will become
the chief minister. In this case, the BJP MLAs chose
Shri Jairam Thakur as their leader and he became
the chief minister. The chief minister then selects
other people as ministers. After the elections, it is
the Governor of the state who appoints the chief
minister and other ministers.
The chief minister and other ministers have the
responsibility of running various government
departments or ministries. They have separate offices.
A Legislative Assembly is a place where all the MLAs,
whether from the ruling party or from the opposition
meet to discuss various things. Hence, some MLAs
have dual responsibilities: one as an MLA and the
other as a minister. We will read about this further.
Chapter 3: How the State Government Works
For more details, visit http://hpvidhansabha.nic.in
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 5


24 Social and Political Life
How
the State
Government
Works
Last year, we discussed the
fact that government works at
three levels – local, state and
national – and looked at the
work of local government in
some detail. In this chapter,
we examine the work of the
government at the state
level. How does this take
place in a democracy?
What is the role of a
Member of the Legislative
Assembly (MLA) and
Ministers? How do people
express their views or
demand action from
government? We look at these
questions through the example
of health.
3
CHAPTER
WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY?
Hey, look at this...it says that
there is a water shortage in
our state, and people are
falling sick!
“...In many villages, people were found to be
drinking unclean water. Streams have dried up, and
so have tanks. In the worst-affected areas, villagers
have been carrying water across great distances.”
“People at the district HQ Patalpuram receive water
supply once in three days. The District Hospital here is
overflowing with patients – a large number of whom
are children with acute diarrhoea...”
Rationalised 2023-24
25
Who is an MLA?
In the above section, you have read about some
events in Patalpuram. You may be familiar with some
official names such as Collector, Medical Officer, etc.
But have you heard of an MLA and the Legislative
Assembly? Do you know the MLA of your area? Can
you identify which party she or he belongs to?
Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are
elected by the people. They then become members
of the legislative assembly and also form the
On the TV news, they said ten people
have died from diarrhoea! Is that
possible? Can one really die from it?
Who knows? Just
hope I don’t get it!
Ha ha!
My mother said not to have any iced
drinks from the market. She gave one of
her lectures this morning, “Y ou have to
be responsible for your health,
Shirin!”
Suddenly...
STOP!
Really! Why? Has
he done something?
Shh...I saw him on TV
too. He is a member of
the Opposition!
What a loud voice he has...he must be
a leader or something...
...and we demand that the
authorities take immediate action to
bring the public health situation
under control! Our MLA must take
the responsibility for this!
This road is blocked due to the rally.
They have gheraoed the MLA’s  residence.
Ha ha – they
seem more angry
about what he
hasn’t done!
What is happening in Patalpuram ?
Why is this problem serious?
What action do you think can be
taken in the above situation and
who do you think should take this
action? Discuss.
That afternoon...
25 Chapter 3: How the State Government Works
Rationalised 2023-24
26 Social and Political Life
Discuss the following terms with
your teacher–public meeting,
States in India, constituency,
majority, ruling party and
opposition.
Can you explain the following
terms–majority, ruling party,
opposition with reference to your
state.
government. In this way we say that the MLAs
represent people. The example below will help us
understand this better.
Every state in India has a Legislative Assembly.
Each state is divided into different areas or
constituencies. For example, look at the map below.
It shows that the state of Himachal Pradesh is divided
into 68 assembly constituencies. From each
constituency, the people elect one representative who
then becomes a Member of the Legislative Assembly
(MLA). You would have noticed that people stand for
elections in the name of different parties. These MLAs,
therefore, belong to different political parties.
How do people who are MLAs become ministers or
chief minister? A political party whose MLAs have
won more than half the number of constituencies in
a state can be said to be in a majority. The political
party that has the majority is called the ruling party
and all other members are called the opposition. For
example, the Legislative Assembly of the state of
Himachal Pradesh has 68 MLA constituencies.
The state of  Himachal Pradesh is
coloured in purple in the above
thumbnail map of India.
Using a pencil outline the following on the
map given on page 97:
  (i) the state that you live in;
(ii) the state of Himachal Pradesh.
Jammu and Kashmir
Punjab
Uttarakhand
Rationalised 2023-24
27
Construct a table, similar to the
one given for Himachal Pradesh,
for your state.
Results of the Assembly Elections in Himachal Pradesh in 2017
Political party Number of MLAs elected
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ............................................................. 44
Indian National Congress (INC) ...................................................21
Communist Party of India (Marxist)............................................... 1
Independents (who don’t belong to any party).......................... 2
Total ................................................................................ 68
The Head of the State is the Governor.
She/He is appointed by the Central
Government to ensure that the State
Government works within the rules and
regulations of the Constitution. Find out the
name of Governor of your State.
At times, the ruling party may not
be a single party but a group of
parties working together. This is
called a coalition. Discuss with
your teacher.
Candidates from various political parties won the
2017 assembly elections and became MLAs. Since
the total number of MLAs in the Legislative Assembly
is 68, a political party would have needed to have
more than 34 MLAs in order to gain a majority. The
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 44 MLAs had the
majority and it became the ruling party. All other MLAs
became the opposition. In this case, the Indian National
Congress (INC) was the major opposition party, since it
had the largest number of MLAs after the BJP. Among
the opposition were other parties, including those who
had been elected as independent candidates.
After the elections, the MLAs belonging to the
ruling party will elect their leader who will become
the chief minister. In this case, the BJP MLAs chose
Shri Jairam Thakur as their leader and he became
the chief minister. The chief minister then selects
other people as ministers. After the elections, it is
the Governor of the state who appoints the chief
minister and other ministers.
The chief minister and other ministers have the
responsibility of running various government
departments or ministries. They have separate offices.
A Legislative Assembly is a place where all the MLAs,
whether from the ruling party or from the opposition
meet to discuss various things. Hence, some MLAs
have dual responsibilities: one as an MLA and the
other as a minister. We will read about this further.
Chapter 3: How the State Government Works
For more details, visit http://hpvidhansabha.nic.in
Rationalised 2023-24
28 Social and Political Life
A debate in the Legislative Assembly
Afreen, Sujata and many other students from their
school travelled to the state capital to visit the
Legislative Assembly which was housed in an
impressive building. The children were excited. After
security checks, they were taken upstairs. There was
a gallery from where they could see the large hall
below. There were rows and rows of desks.
 This Assembly was going to have a debate on a
current problem. During this time, MLAs can express
their opinions and ask questions related to the issue
or give suggestions about what should be done by
the government. Those who wish to, can respond to
this. The minister then replies to the questions and
tries to assure the Assembly that adequate steps are
being taken.
 The chief minister and other ministers have to
take decisions and run the government. We usually
hear about them or see them in the news channels
or in the papers. However, whatever decisions are
being taken have to be approved by the members of
the legislative assembly. In a democracy, these
members can ask questions, debate an important
issue, decide where money should be spent, etc. They
have the main authority.
MLA 1: In my constituency of Akhandagaon,
during the last three weeks, there were 15 deaths
because of diarrhoea. I think it is a shame that this
government has not been able to check the situation
of a simple problem like diarrhoea while proclaiming
itself to be a champion of technology. I would call
the attention of the minister in charge of health to
take immediate measures to control the situation.
MLA 2: My question is why are government
hospitals in such a bad situation? Why is the
government not appointing proper doctors and other
medical staff in the district? I would also like to know
how the government plans to deal with this situation
28 Social and Political Life
Rationalised 2023-24
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook: How the State Government works - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What is the role of the State Government?
Ans. The State Government is responsible for making and enforcing laws, collecting taxes, and providing public services such as education, healthcare, and transportation. It also plays a key role in maintaining law and order within the state.
2. How is the State Government structured?
Ans. The State Government is divided into three branches - executive, legislative, and judiciary. The executive branch is responsible for implementing laws and policies, the legislative branch is responsible for making laws, and the judiciary branch is responsible for interpreting laws and resolving disputes.
3. What is the role of the Governor in the State Government?
Ans. The Governor is the head of the State Government and is responsible for appointing key officials, signing bills into law, and executing state policies. The Governor also has the power to veto bills and issue pardons.
4. How are State Government officials elected?
Ans. Most State Government officials are elected through a democratic process, with citizens of the state voting for their preferred candidate. The Governor and members of the state legislature are elected through a popular vote, while other officials such as judges and sheriffs may be appointed or elected through a different process.
5. What is the difference between the State Government and the Federal Government?
Ans. The State Government is responsible for governing a particular state, while the Federal Government is responsible for governing the entire country. The State Government has the power to make and enforce laws within its borders, while the Federal Government has the power to regulate interstate commerce, conduct foreign policy, and provide for national defense.
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