Federalism Class 11 Notes Political Science Chapter 7 - CBSE

Chapter : 7

What Are Federalism ?

What Is Federalism?

  • Federalism is a form of government in which power is shared between a central authority and the country's different constituent units.
  • Federalism has two levels of government: federal and state.
    • One is the national government, which is normally in charge of a new topic of common national interest.
    • The others are provincial or state governments that handle much of the day-to-day administration of
      their state.
  • The federal government cannot compel the state government to do anything in a federal system.

Key Features Of Federalism

  • The government is divided into two or more levels (or tiers).
  • While several levels of government control the same people, each has its own JURISDICTION in terms of legislation, taxation, and administration.
  • The Constitution specifies the jurisdictions of the various levels or tiers of government.
  • One level of government cannot unilaterally amend the Constitution's essential provisions.
  • Courts have the authority to interpret the Constitution and the functions of various government levels.
  • Revenue sources for each level of government are clearly defined to ensure financial independence.

What Makes India A Federal Country ?

  • India was declared a Union of States by the Constitution.
  • The Constitution established a two-tier government system, with the Union Government (also known as the Central Government) representing the Union of India and the State Government representing the states.
  • Panchayats and municipalities were later incorporated as the third layer of federalism.
  • There are three lists in the Constitution: i.e. Union list, State list and Concurrent list.

Factors Help In Smooth Functioning Of Federalism

The politics, culture, ideology, and history of a federation determine its functionality. When federations have a culture of trust, cooperation, mutual respect, and constraint, they run more smoothly.

Federalism In The Indian Constitution

  • Even before Independence, most leaders of our national movement were aware that to govern a large country like ours, it would be necessary to divide the powers between provinces and the central government.
  • The most important feature of the federal system adopted by the Indian Constitution is the principle that relations between the States and the Centre would be based on cooperation.

Federalism With A Strong Central Government

  • India is a country of continental dimensions with immense diversities and social problems. The framers of the
    Constitution believed that we will require a federal constitution that would be able to accommodate diversities.
  • It was necessary to make Centre strong because during Independence India was not only divided into provinces but also had more than 500 princely states, which had to be integrated into existing States or new States had to be created.
  • Constitution has provisions that create a strong central government so that the Parliament is empowered to form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States; emergency provisions; the Central government has many revenue sources and the States are mostly dependent on the grants and financial assistance from the Centre; all- India services which are common to both the Centre and the State; the governor, who is the head of the State, appointed by the President and acts as an agent of the Centre.

Conflicts In India’s Federal System

From time to time, States have demanded that they should be given more powers and more autonomy. This leads to tensions and conflicts in the relations between the Centre and the States.

Centre-state Relations

  • Federalism in India to a large extent has been influenced by the changing nature of the political process. In the 1950s and early 1960s the relations between the Centre and the States remained quite normal during this period.
  • In the middle of the 1960s large number of State opposition parties came to power and were protesting against what they felt as an unnecessary interference in their governments by the Centre. This peculiar political context gave birth to a discussion about the concept of autonomy under a federal system.
  • 1990s was the period for greater say to the States, a respect for diversity and the beginning of a more mature federalism.

The Centre-State Relation

The relationship between the Centre and the States can be broken down into three categories:

  • Legislative relations
  • Administrative relations
  • Financial relations

Legislative Relations Between The Centre And States

  • Part XI of the Constitution contains articles 245 to 255 that deal with the legislative relationship between the Centre and the States.
  • In addition, the Indian Constitution divides legislative authority between the Centre and the States in terms of both territory and legislative topics.
  • In five exceptional conditions, the Constitution allows for parliamentary legislation in the state sector, as well as the center's jurisdiction over state law in certain circumstances.
  • The legislative relations between the Centre and the States are divided into four categories: (a) Territorial
    scope of Central and State legislation; (b) Distribution of Legislative subjects; (c) State-level parliament legislation; and (d) The federal government’s power over state legislation.

Demands For Autonomy By State

  • First, the power balance should be shifted in favour of the states, and the states should be given more and more vital powers.
  • Second, states should have more control over their revenue sources and be able to generate revenue on their own. This is often referred as financial independence.
  • The third set of demands concerns the states' administrative authority. The central government's authority over the administrative machinery is resented by the states.
  • Fourth, desires for autonomy may be linked to cultural and linguistic difficulties. Opposition to Hindi
    dominance (in Tamil Nadu) or calls for the advancement of Punjabi language and culture are examples of this.

Role Of Governors And President’s Rule

  • Between the states and the federal government, the function of governors has always been a contentious topic.
    • The Governor is not an elected office-holder.
    • Because the Governor is appointed by the federal government, his acts are frequently interpreted as
      interference by the federal government in the operation of the state government
  • When two opposing parties are in power at the federal and state levels, the Governor's role becomes even more contentious. Article 356, which establishes presidential rule in any state, is one of the most contentious parts of the Constitution. When a scenario arises in which the State's government is unable to carry out the requirements of Constitution, this clause will be invoked.
  • It leads to the Union government assuming control of the state government. Parliament must approve the President's proclamation. The presidency can be extended for up to three years.
  • The Governor has the authority to suggest the State government's dismissal, as well as the suspension or dissolution of the State legislature. Many people have been affected as a result of this.

Interstate Conflicts

  • There have been many instances of disputes between two States or among more than two States. Broadly, two types of disputes keep recurring.
  • First one, is the border dispute. States have certain claims over territories belonging to neighbouring States. Though language is the basis of defining boundaries of the States, often border areas would have populations speaking more than one language.
  • Second one, the disputes over the sharing of river waters because they are related to problems of drinking water and agriculture in the concerned States; example-Cauvery water dispute.
  • Best way to resolve the issues is through negotiations and mutual understanding.