The government of the Republic of India is based on a constitution adopted in 1950. It has features similar to the government of the United States and to the British parliamentary system. India consists of a union of 28 states, Delhi (the National Capital Territory), and six federally administered territories. It has both a national (or federal) government as well as state governments.

The national legislature, or parliament (Sansad), is made up of two houses. The People's Assembly (Lok Sabha) is elected directly by the people, except for a few members who may be appointed by the president. Its term is normally five years. Members of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) are elected for a term of six years by the state legislatures. A few members are also appointed by the president. The president is elected (together with a vice president) for a term of five years by an electoral college made up of members of the national and state legislatures. The president, for the most part, serves as a ceremonial head of state.

Real executive power rests with the Council of Ministers, headed by the prime minister. The prime minister is usually the leader of the political party that has the greatest number of seats in parliament.

Each state has its own elected legislature and a governor appointed by the president.