- 1 Important Terms
- 2 Important Notes
- 3 Main features which make India a Federal Country
- 4 Features of Holding together Federations
- 5 The factors that make Federal Government in India so attractive
- 6 Three-tier System
- 7 Difference between Unitary and Federal Government
- 8 Structure of Rural Local Government
- 9 Functions of Gram Sabha
- 10 Features of Panchayati Raj system in India
- 11 Impact of local self government on Indian Democracy
- 12 Need for local Government
- 13 Main Features of Federalism
Autonomy: A region or territory to govern itself independently.
Concurrent List: The Concurrent List is a list of 52 items (though the last item is numbered 47) given in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. It includes those subjects which are of common interest to both the Central and State Governments such as education, forest, marriage, adoption and succession and trade unions. Both the Central and State governments can make decisions on these matters.
‘Coming Together’ Federation: It is a federation in which several independent states come together on their own to form a bigger unit so that by pooling sovereignty and retaining identity, they can increase their security. It includes the USA, Switzerland and Australia.
Federalism: Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or ‘federal’ government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub unit governments) in a single political system.
Gram Sabha: The body for the supervision of Gram Panchayats.
‘Holding Together’ Federation : It is a federation in which a large country decides to divide its power between the constituent states and the national government. It includes India, Spain and Belgium.
Indian Federation: It has 29 states and 7 union territories. Its capital is New Delhi.
Jurisdiction : A jurisdiction is a state or other area in which a particular court and system of laws have authority.
Language Policy: It is to safeguard the other languages. Under this policy, besides Hindi, 21 other languages are recognised as Scheduled Languages by the Constitution.
Linguistic States: India is a multilingual country where people speak different languages. After independence, some states were created on the basis of the languages people used to speak. These are known as linguistic states.
Mayor: The Chairperson of a Municipal Corporation is known as the Mayor.
Residuary Subjects: Matters which are not included in any of the three lists are known as residuary subjects and the right to make laws on these subjects is called residuary power. The central government (the Parliament) has been given rights to legislate on these subjects. New subjects such as computer software that came up after the Constitution was made come under residuary subjects.
Regionalism: A political ideology that focuses on the national or normative interest of a particular region, group of regions or other subnational entity.
Panchayati Raj: A system of government in which Gram Panchayats are the basic units of administration. It has three levels — Gram (village), Tehsil (block) and Zila (District).
Panchayat Samiti: It is a local government body at the tehsil or taluka level in India, which is a link between Gram Panchayat and Zila Parishad.
State List : The State List or List-II is a list of 61 items (Initially there were 66 items in the list) in Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. It includes matters of state level importance. The State Government alone can make decisions on these areas. They include matters such as police, trade, agriculture, commerce and irrigation.
State Election Commission: It is a body created in each state to conduct panchayat and municipal elections.
Scheduled Languages: 22 Languages which are listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution are known as the Scheduled Languages.
Tier System: It is the system which signifies levels of government. It may be two levels (two tiers) and three levels(three tiers).
Union List : It includes 97 subjects of national importance. The Central Government alone can make decisions on these matters such as defence of the nation, foreign affairs, finance and communication.
Union Territories: These territories do not have the powers of state and come under the direct rule of central or union government. For example, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, etc.
Unitary System: It is a system of government in which either there is only one level of government or the subunits are subordinate to the Central Government.
Main features which make India a Federal Country
(i) There are two or more levels (or tiers) of government.
(ii)Different tiers of government govern the same citizens, but each tier has its own jurisdiction in specific matters of legislation, taxation and administration.
(iii) The jurisdictions of the respective levels or tiers of government are specified in the Constitution.
(iv) The fundamental provisions of the Constitution cannot be unilaterally changed by one level of government. Such changes require the consent of both the levels of government.
(v) Courts have the power to interpret the Constitution and the powers of different levels of government. The highest court acts as an umpire if disputes arise between different levels of government in the exercise of their respective powers.
Features of Holding together Federations
(i)It decides to divide its power between the constituent states and the national government.
(ii)In this federation, the Central Government tends to be more powerful than the states.
(iii)In this system, different constituent units of the federation have unequal powers.
The factors that make Federal Government in India so attractive
(i) Federalism has succeeded in India because of the nature of the democratic politics of the country. This ensures the spirit of federalism, respect for diversity and desire for living together.
(ii) There is a clear distribution of powers and revenue between the different levels of government.
(iii) The Indian Constitution clearly allocates power to different levels of government —the three lists of power.
(iv) The Supreme Court has been given the power to solve federal disputes.
(v) There is a mutual trust and agreement between the government at different levels.
Steps taken by India towards making it a federation :
(i) Reorganisation of states on linguistic basis.
(ii) Centre state relations.
Distinctions between the federations of ‘coming together’ type and ‘holding together’ type.
Holding Together Federation :
(i) Large country decides to divide its power between states and the centre.
(ii) Central government tends to be more powerful.
(iii) Constituent units of the federation have unequal power.
Countries practising ‘ Holding Together Federation’ are India, Spain and Belgium.
Coming Together Federation :
(i) Independent states coming together on their own to form a bigger unit.
(ii) All the states have equal power and are strong.
(iii) By pooling sovereignty and retaining identity, they increase their security.
Countries practising ‘ Coming Together Federation’ are USA, Switzerland and Australia.
The three-fold distribution of legislative power between the Union Government and State Governments of India :
(i) Union List: Union list consists of 97 subjects. It includes subjects of national importance such as defence of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communication and currency.
(ii) State List: State list consists of 66 subjects. It contains subjects of state and local importance such as police, trade, commerce, agriculture and irrigation.
(iii) Concurrent List: Concurrent list consists of 47 subjects. It includes subjects of common interest to both the Central and State Governments includes matters such as education, forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption and succession.
Three-tier system means three levels of government. The Indian Constitution was originally provided for a two-tier system of government :
(i) The Union Government or the Central Government.
(ii) The State Governments.
(iii) But, later a third-tier of federalism was added in the form of Panchayats at the rural level and municipalities at the urban level. Every level enjoys separate jurisdiction.
Amendment in Indian Constitution in 1992
(i) It is constitutionally mandatory to hold regular elections to local government bodies.
(ii) Seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.
(iii) At least one-third of all positions are reserved for women.
(iv) Creation of State Election Commission.
(v) The state governments are required to share some powers and revenue with local government bodies.
Difference between Unitary and Federal Government
|Unitary Government||Federal Government|
|It has only one level of government.||It has two or more levels of government.|
|In this the sub-units are subordinate to the centre.||The sub-units are subordinate to the centre,|
|The centre can order the sub-units.||The centre can not order the sub units.|
A federation is preferred because :
(i) It helps in making administration effective and efficient.
(ii) It helps to accommodate all diverse groups.
The three-fold distribution of legislative powers between the Union Government and State Governments of India
(a) Union List: Union list consists of 97 subjects. It includes subjects of national importance such as defence of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communication and currency.
(b) State List: State list consists of 66 subjects. It contains subjects of state and local importance such as police, trade, commerce, agriculture and irrigation.
(c) Concurrent List: Concurrent list consists of 47 subjects It includes subjects of common interest to both the Central and State Government such as education, forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption and succession.
Challenges which India face before the 1990 are :
(i) Political scene was dominated by one party both at the Centre and in the States.
(ii) As and when the ruling party at the state level was different from the parties that ruled at the Centre tried to undermine the power of the States.
(iii) The Central Government would often misuse the Constitution to dismiss the State Governments those were controlled by rival parties.
After 1990s :
(i) Now the Centre and the majority of State Governments belong to different political parties in the coalition.
(ii) A number of regional parties have become powerful and play a crucial role at the Centre and States.
(iii) The era of “coalition” government at the Centre has inculcated respect for federal autonomy.
Significance of decentralisation or decentralisation as means to minimise the conflicts
(i)It provides a platform for the direct participation of people in decision making.
(ii)In another way, decentralisation in the form of ‘local self government’ is the best way to realise principles of democracy.
Major steps were taken by Indian Government towards decentralization in 1992:
(i) It is constitutionally mandatory to hold regular elections to local government bodies.
(ii) Reservation of seats in the elected bodies and the executive heads of these institutions for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes.
(iii) Reservation of at least one-third of all positions for women.
(iv) Creation of an independent institution called the State Election Commission in each state to conduct panchayat and municipal elections.
(v) The state governments are required to share some powers and revenue with local government bodies. The nature of sharing varies from state to state.Any
Decentralisation : When power is taken from the central and state governments and is given to local government, it is called decentralisation.
Provisions of the Constitutional Amendment of 1992 are :
(a) Now it is mandatory to hold regular elections to local government bodies.
(b) Seats are reserved in the elected bodies and the executive heads of these institutions for SCs, STs and OBCs.
(c) At least one-third of all positions are reserved for women.
(d) An independent institution called State Election Commission has been created in each state to conduct panchayat and municipal elections.
(e) The state governments are required to share some powers and revenue with local government bodies.
Advantages of Decentralisation :
(i) Sharing of power between centre and states and local government reduces conflicts.
(ii) Large number of problems and issues can be best settled at the local level. People have better knowledge of problems in their localities.
(iii) People have better knowledge of their own problems.
(iv) They know better on where to spend money and how to manage things efficiently.
(v) People at the local level will participate directly in decision making.
Structure of Rural Local Government
(i) Zila Parishad: All the mandals in a district together constitute the Zila Parishad. Most of the members are elected and headed by a chairperson.
(ii) Panchayat Samiti or Mandal or Block: The members of this body are elected by the entire panchayat members in that area. A few Gram Panchayats are grouped together to form this government body.
(iii) Gram Panchayat: A council consisting of several ward members often called Panch. The president is called Sarpanch. It is the decision-making body for the entire village.
Gram Sabha: A body comprising of all adult members of a village or a group of villages.
Functions of Gram Sabha
(i) It elects the members of the Gram Panchayat.
(ii) The Gram Sabha supervises the work of the village panchayat.
(iii) It approves the annual budget of the panchayat.
(iv) It reviews the performance of the Gram Panchayat.
Features of Panchayati Raj system in India
(i) Panchayati Raj Institution is rural-based.
(ii) Each village has Gram Panchayat.
(iii) It has Panchs and a Sarpanch.
(iv) He/She is directly elected by the adult population living in the village.
(v) Panchayat works under the Gram Sabha.
(vi) All the voters meet at least twice or thrice in a year.
(vii) Few gram panchayats form Panchayat Samiti or Block or Mandal.
Federalism has succeeded in India due to the nature of democratic policies in our country.
The policies adopted by India to ensure this success:
(i) Linguistic States: After independence, the boundaries of several old states were changed in order to create new states. The creation of linguistic states is the first and a major test for democratic politics in our country.
(ii) Language Policy: The second test for the Indian federation is the language policy. The Indian Constitution did not give the status of national language to any one of the language.
(iii) Centre-State Relations: Restructuring the centre-state relations is one more way in which federalism has been strengthened in practice.
(iv) Decentralisation of Power: Power in India has been decentralised to the local government. The local government includes Panchayats in villages and municipalities in urban areas.
Impact of local self government on Indian Democracy
(i) Constitutional status for local government has helped to deepen democracy.
(ii) It has increased women’s representation and voice in our democracy.
(i) Gram Sabhas are not held regularly.
(ii) Most state governments have not transferred significant powers to local government.
(iii) State governments do not provide adequate resources.
Need for local Government
(i) There are a number of problems and issues that are best settled at the local level because people have a better knowledge of the problems in their localities.
(ii) The local people are aware of their needs and can prioritise.
(iii) It helps to initiate the process of direct decision-making.
(iv) It helps to inculcate the habit of democratic participation.
(v) Local government is the best way to realize one important principle of democracy, namely local self-government.
Main Features of Federalism
(i) There are two or more levels of government. India has three levels.
(ii) Each level of government has its own jurisdiction in matters of legislation, taxation and administration even though they govern the same citizens.
(iii) Power and functions of each tier of government is specified and guaranteed by Constitution.
(iv) The Supreme Court has been given power to settle disputes between different levels of governments.
(v) Fundamental provisions of the Constitution cannot be altered by any one level of government. It applies to India also.
(vi) Sources of revenue sharing between different levels is specified by the Constitution.
(vii) There is mutual trust and agreement between the government at different levels.
India became a Union of States because it consisted of both British- ruled territories as well as many princely states. Some sub-political units of India have a special status because:
(i) French and Portuguese-ruled territories were given the status of Union territory.
(ii) Jammu & Kashmir joined India on a special condition.
(iii) Some units were too small to become independent states. They were made Union Territories.
(iv) States in the north-east have been given a special status as they have a large tribal population with a distinct history and culture.