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very country needs a government to make decisions and get things done. These can be decisions about where to build roads and schools, or how to reduce the price of onions when they get too expensive or ways to increase the supply of electricity.
The government also takes action on many social issues, for example it has several programmes to help the poor. It does other important things such as running postal and railway services. The government also has the job of protecting the boundaries of the country and maintaining peaceful relations with other countries. It is responsible for ensuring that all its citizens have enough to eat and have good health facilities. When there are natural disasters like the tsunami or an earthquake it is the government that mainly organises aid and assistance for the affected people. Ifthere is a dispute or if someone has committed a crime you find people in a court. Courts are also part of the government.
Perhaps you are wondering how governments manage to do all this. And why it is necessary for them to do so. When human beings live and work together, there needs to be some amount of organisation so that decisions can be made.
Some rules have to be made that apply to everyone. For example, there is a need to control resources and protect the territory of a country, so people can feel secure. Governments do this on behalf of their people by exercising leadership, taking decisions and implementing these among all the people living in their territory.
Levels of Government
Now that you know that the government is responsible for so many different things, can you think of how it manages to do all this? The government works at different levels: at the local level, at the level of the state and at the national level. The local level means in your village, town or locality, the state level would mean that which covers an entire state like
Haryana or Assam and the national level relates to the entire country. Later in this book, you will read about how local level government functions, and when you go into the next few classes you will learn about how governments function at the state and central levels.
1. What do you understand by the word 'government'? List five ways in which you think the government affects your daily life.
2. Why do you think the government needs to make rules for everyone in the form of laws?
3. Name two essential features of a democratic government.
4. What was the suffrage movement? What did it accomplish?
5. Gandhiji strongly believed that every adult in India should be given the right to vote. However, a lot of people don't share his views. Many feel that illiterate people, who are mainly poor, should not be given the right to vote. What do you think? Do you think this would be a form of discrimination? Give five points to support your view and share these with the class.
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