Class 10 Political Science Federalism

Vertical division of power-sharing among different levels of government. A system of government in which the power is divided between a central authority and various constituent units of the country.

Belgium shifted from a unitary to a federal (mutual trust and agreement to live together) form of government.

Sri Lanka continues to be, for all practical purposes, a unitary system where the national government has all the powers. Tamil leaders want Sri Lanka to become a federal system.

‘coming together’ federations include the USA, Switzerland and Australia. India, Spain and Belgium are examples of ‘holding together’ federations.

What makes India a federal country?

The Constitution declared India as a Union of States.

Union List – subjects of national importance such as defence of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communications and currency.

State List – contains subjects of State and local importance such as police, trade, commerce, agriculture and irrigation.

Concurrent List – Forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption and succession etc. Both Union government and State government can make laws and if there is any conflict then the union government made law will prevail.

Residuary subjects – Do not fall in any of the above three list such as cyber law. Union government can alone make laws.

Special status states such as Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram enjoy special powers under certain provisions of the Constitution of India (Article 371) due to their peculiar social and historical circumstances.

How is federalism practised?

Formation of states on the basis of language.

Language policy – Our Constitution did not give the status of national language to any one language. Hindi is the mother tongue of only about 40 per cent of Indians. According to the Constitution, the use of English for official purposes was to stop in 1965.

Centre-State Relationship :-

The year 1990 marked the era of coalition government. Earlier there was single party majority at the centre that exercised excess power over states. The Central Government would often misuse the Constitution to dismiss the State governments that were controlled by rival parties.

The coalition government led to greater autonomy and recognition to the state governments as to hold the coalition, the union government has to recognise the state government concern and demand. Supreme court also supported the power-sharing and hold the right for the constitutional validity of the presidential rule over a state.

Decentralisation in India

A need for power sharing within States. A third-tier of government, called local government. When power is taken away from Central and State governments and given to local government, it is called decentralisation.

Directly under the control of state governments. The constitution was amended in 1992 (73rd & 74thAmendment) to make the third-tier of democracy more powerful and effective.

constitutionally mandatory to hold regular elections

Seats are reserved in the elected bodies and the executive heads for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

At least one-third of all positions are reserved for women.

State Election Commission has been created in each State to conduct panchayat and municipal elections.

State Finance commission has been created for the distribution of grants and funds and also to prevent political intervention.

panchayati raj :-

Rural local government. Each village or group of village has a Gram Panchayat. Decision making body for entire village.

The panchayat works under the overall supervision of the gram sabha. It has to meet at least twice or thrice in a year to approve the annual budget of the gram panchayat and to review the performance of the gram panchayat.

Three – tier structure,

Similarly, local government bodies exist for urban areas as well.

Municipalities are set up in towns. Big cities are constituted into municipal corporations. Municipal chairperson is the political head of the municipality. In a municipal corporation such an officer is called the mayor.

These local bodies do not have the power like central or state government. They do not cover the jurisdiction of administration and revenue and are only limited to the vision of local development for which they are hugely dependent on the state government for grants and funds.

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