(IGP) GS Paper 1 – Indian Polity & Governance – “Federal System”

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS
(Pre)

Subject – Indian Polity & Governance
Chapter : Federal System

Governments:

On the basis of distribution of power, Governments can be classified into
three types

  • Unitary
  • Federal and
  • Confederal

Unitary system

  • In a unitary government, the central government possesses preponderant
    authority and decision-making power. Provincial governments are the
    administrative arms of the central government.

Federations

  • Federation is a system of constitutional governance
    brought about by the voluntary agreement among states that, join together
    into a new federal union in which power is divided between the Union
    Government at the centre (federal government) and states (provinces). A
    written Constitution divides powers. Thus, there is a dual government with
    their respective jurisdictions.

Confederations

  • They are nations where the provinces have maximum autonomy so much so
    that they can become members of international organizations, have flag and
    may even secede.

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Federal System:

  • Federal system is adopted so that states can flourish with autonomy and
    their security is assured by the central government.
  • India is essentially a federation though in our case the provinces did
    not join together voluntarily.
  • Federalism is a prescription for our multi-diverse country to pure
    pluralist polity.
  • Federal system is adopted so that states can flourish with autonomy and
    their security is assured by the central government.
  • India is essentially a federation though in our case the provinces did
    not join together voluntarily.
  • Federalism is a prescription for our multi-diverse country to pure
    pluralist polity.
  • Unified and hierarchical judiciary
  • Elections are held for assemble under the authority of the Election
    commission that is appointed by the Union Government
  • The role of Governor is pro-Centre
  • President’s rule is a threat to the existence of democratically elected
    state governments.
  • All the basic features of federalism are found in the Indian
    Constitution Since there are strong unitary features as well, it is called
    quasi-federation.
  • It must be clarified that the fact that in Art. 1 of the Constitution
    India is described as a Union of States’ only stresses the unity among the
    provinces and not have any unitary implications for our polity.

Union-State relations in India:

Legislative Sphere

  • The framework for division of legislative powers in the
    Indian Constitution is contained in Chapter 1 in Part XI. It comprises in
    articles- 245 to 255. It should be read with Seventh Schedule. Three fold
    distribution of the subjects of legislative: power is adopted- Union List
    (List I); State List (List II); and Concurrent List (List III).

Union List

  • Items of national importance are in the Union List- external affairs,
    defence; banking, communications, currency etc altogether numbering 99.

State List

  • Matters of provincial importance are in the State List like agriculture,
    local self government, law and order; public health etc altogether numbering
    61 items.

Concurrent List

  • Subjects of common importance are in the Concurrent List,
    matters that can be legislated upon by both the union and state legislatures
    – socio economic planning, education, forests, protection of wild animals
    and birds; ports other than major ports; marriage and divorce; adoption;
    price control; criminal law; preventive detention, labour, together
    numbering 52 items.

Parliament can make laws as state list

  • Under the following-five circumstances, Parliament can legislate on an
    item in the State List
  • when national emergency is in force. It needs to be
    emphasized that when there is national emergency (Art. 352), State
    Legislative Assembly continues to exist but the Constitution gives power to
    parliament as well to legislate on an item in the State List unlike when the

  • President’s rule is proclaimed when the State Legislative Assembly is
    either suspended (suspended animation) or dissolved and the Parliament can
    make laws for the State concerned
  • Art. 249 says that Rajya Sabha can empower the Parliament to legislate
    on an item in the State List in national interest by passing the relevant
    resolution by two thirds majority of the members present and voting.
  • In other words, Rajya Sabba authorizes Parliament to legislate on a
    subject in the State List.

Administrative Relations

  • Art. 256-263 in Part XI contain administrative relations.
  • Art. 256 talks of the obligation of States and the Union in these words:

    The executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure
    compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which
    apply in that State, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to
    the, giving of such, directions to a State.
  • Art. 257 talks about control of the Union over States in certain cases:
    The executive power of every State shall be so exercised as not to impede or
    prejudice the exercise of the executive power of the Union and the executive
    power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a State
    as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.
  • The executive power of the Union shall also extend to the giving of
    directions to a State as to the construction and maintenance of means of
    communication declared in the direction to be of national or military
    importance.

Financial Relations

  • Art. 268 to 293 in Part XII deal with the financial
    relations. The Constitution contains a fixed and dynamic scheme for
    apportioning fiscal resources to the States and the Union. The static part
    relates to some sources of finance being entirely given to the states taxes
    and duties specified as such in the Constitution.

  • 268. Taxes and duties levied by the Union but collected and appropriated
    by the States. Ex-medicinal preparation with alcohol in them.
  • 269. Taxes levied and collected by the Union but assigned
    to the States. For example, duties in respect of succession to property
    other than agricultural land; estate duty in respect of property other than
    agricultural land central sales tax.

  • 270. Taxes levied and collected by the Union and distributed between the
    Union and the States. Income tax, corporation tax etc.
  • 271. Surcharge on certain duties and taxes for purposes of the Union.
    Surcharges are not shareable.

Finance Commission

Article 280

  • The President sets up every five years, or at such earlier time as the
    President considers necessary, a Finance Commission which shall consist of a
    Chairman and four other members to be appointed by the President.
  • Duties of the FC involve making recommendations to the President as to-
    the distribution between the Union and the States of the net proceeds of
    taxes which are to be, or may be, divided between the States of the
    respective shares of such proceeds
  • the principles which should govern the grants-in-aid of the revenues of
    the States out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
  • the measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to
    supplement the resources of the Panchayats in the State on the basis of the
    recommendations made by the Finance Commission of the State

Thirteenth Finance Commission

The five member team, headed by economist Dr. Vijay L Kelkar
submitted its report of the Thirteenth Finance Commission to the Government and
was tabled in the Parliament during the Budget session 2010. Where it has zeroed
on three key objectives of inclusive and ‘green’ growth, macro economic
stability and fiscal consolidation for both the Centre and the States
particularly in view of the last couple of years when the economy had to
undertake fiscal expansion in response to the worst global recession and
domestic economy slowdown.

Recommendations-

  • On sharing of Union taxes, the core task of the
    Commission, it has recommended that for its award period spanning from April
    1, 2010 till March 31, 2015, the share of States in the net proceeds of
    Union Taxes be fixed at 32 per cent, against the 12th FC prescribed transfer
    of 30.5 per cent, an increase of 1.5 per cent.

  • It has also said that the total transfers to the States be subjected to
    an indicative ceiling of 39.5 per cent of the gross tax revenues of the
    Centre.
  • The Commission has recommended a grant of Rs. 51,800 crore for eight
    States that have a revenue deficit chronically.
  • In a bid to de-carbonize development in line with growing
    interests in promoting green growth, the Commission has favoured a grant of
    Rs. 15,000 crore, for forest grant promotion of renewable energy and for
    water sector.

  • In the Goods and Services Tax (GST), it has recommended a grant of Rs.
    50,000 crore for implementation as per the recommended model.
  • On fiscal consolidation, the Commission has drawn a roadmap for fiscal
    deficit reduction and spelt but a combined debt target of 68 per cent of
    GDP, against 75 per cent in 2009-10.

For Detail Description,
Analysis and More MCQs of the Chapter Buy this Study Notes:


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