The working of the federal system in India

 The working of the federal system in India

The federal system in India is a combination of a central government and individual state governments that share power and responsibilities. The Constitution of India, adopted in 1950, outlines the structure and functioning of the federal system.

The central government, also known as the Union government, is responsible for matters listed in the Union List of the Constitution, such as defense, foreign affairs, and telecommunications. The individual state governments, also known as the State governments, are responsible for matters listed in the State List of the Constitution, such as education and law enforcement. Both the Union and the State governments have their own elected officials, including a Prime Minister and Chief Ministers respectively.

The working of the federal system in India There is also a Concurrent List in the Indian Constitution which contains subjects that are under the jurisdiction of both the Union and State Governments.

The federal system in India also includes a system of checks and balances, with the judiciary being an independent body that can interpret the Constitution and settle disputes between the central and state governments. The Union government also holds certain emergency powers, such as the ability to impose President's rule on a state in certain circumstances, which allows the central government to take control of state government.

Overall the Indian federal system allows for the central government to handle national level issues while giving the states significant autonomy to handle local issues.

Federal System In India - As you may have found, whenever there is a discussion on the nature, structure and processes of the political system in India, it is said that India is a federal state. There are generally two types of states in the world. The state that has only one government for the entire country, which is known as a unitary state. The United Kingdom has a unitary system. But there are states like the United States of America and Canada which have governments at two levels: one at the central level and the other at the state level. 

Characteristics of the Indian Federal System

1. Two-tier Government:

You must have heard that there are two sets of government created by the Indian Constitution: one for the entire nation called the union government (central government) and another for each unit of State, called the State government. Sometimes, you may also find the reference of a three-tier government in India, because besides the Union and State governments, local governments-both rural and urban- are also said to constitute another tier. But constitutionally India has a two-tier government. The Constitution does not allocate a separate set of powers to the local governments as these continue to be under their respective State governments.

2. Division of Powers

Like other federations, both the Union and the State governments have constitutional status and clearly identified area of activity. The Constitution clearly divides the powers between the two sets of governments, so that the Centre and the States exercise their powers within their respective spheres of activity. None violates its limits and tries to encroach upon the functions of the other. The division has been specified in the Constitution through three Lists: the Union List, the State List and the Concurrent List. The Union List consists of 97 subjects of national importance such as Defence, Railways, Post and Telegraph, etc. The State List consists of 66 subjects of local interest such as Public Health, Police, Local Self Government, etc. The Concurrent List has 47 subjects such as Education, Electricity, Trade Union, Economic and Social Planning, etc. On this List, both the Union government and State governments have concurrent jurisdiction. However, the Constitution assigns those powers on the subjects that are not enumerated under Union List, State List and Concurrent List to the Union government. Such powers are known as Residuary Powers. If there is any dispute about the division of powers, it can be resolved by the Judiciary on the basis of the constitutional provisions.

The working of the federal system in India

3. Written Constitution:

As we have earlier seen, India has a written Constitution which is supreme. It is also the source of power for both the sets of governments, the Union and the State. These governments are independent in their spheres of governance. Another feature of a federation is the rigid constitution. Although the Indian Constitution is not as rigid as the US Constitution, it is not a flexible constitution. As mentioned earlier, it has a unique blend of rigidity and flexibility

4. Independence of Judiciary:

Another very important feature of a federation is an independent judiciary to interpret the Constitution and to maintain its sanctity. The Supreme Court of India has the original jurisdiction to settle disputes between the Union and the States. It can declare a law as unconstitutional if it contravenes any provision of the Constitution. The judiciary also has the powers to resolve disputes between the Union government and the State governments on the constitutional and legal matters related to the division of powers

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