These comprehensive RBSE Class 10 Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 2 Federalism will give a brief overview of all the concepts.
RBSE Class 10 Social Science Civics Chapter 2 Federalism
What is Federalism?
In modem democracies, there is a common form of power sharing – the vertical distribution of power sharing at the different levels of government. This is known as ‘Federalism’.
A federalism has two levels of government. One is the government for the entire country that is usually responsible for a few subjects of common national interests. The others are governments at the level of provinces or states that look after much of the day-to-day administering of their state. Both these levels of governments enjoy their power independently.
Features of Federalism –
(1) Two or more levels of governments.
(2) Different tiers of government govern the same citizens.
(3) The Jurisdictions of the respective levels or tiers of government are specified in the constitution.
(4) The fundamental provisions of the constitution cannot be unilaterally changed by one level of government.
(5) Courts have the power to interpret the constitution and the powers of different levels of government.
(6) Sources of revenue for each level of government are clearly specified to ensure its financial autonomy.
(7) The federal system thus has dual objectives –
- to safeguard and promote unity of the country
- to accommodate regional diversity.
(8) An ideal federal system has both aspects : mutual trust and agreement to live together.
Formatation of a Federation – There are two kinds of routes through which federations have been formed. These are-
(1) Coming Together Federations – This route involves independent state coming together on their own to form a bigger unit, so that by pooling sovereignly and retaining identity they can increase their security. This type of ‘coming together’ federations include the U.S.A., Switzerland and Australia.
(2) ‘Holding Together’ Federations – Where a large country decides to divide its power between the constituent states and the national government. India, Spain and Belgium are examples of this kind of ‘holding together’ federations. In this second category, the central government tends to be more powerful vis-a-vis the state.
Federal System in India – The constitution originally provided for a two-tier system of government, the central government and the state government. Later a third tier of federalism was added in the form of Panchayats and Municipalities.
(1) The constitution clearly provided a three fold distribution of legislative powers between the Union government and the State governments. Thus, it contains three lists :
- Union list
- State list and
- Concurrent list. The subjects that do not fall in any of the three list are known as ‘residuary subjects’. Union government has the power to legislate on these subjects.
(2) Most federations that are formed by ‘holding together’ do not give equal power to its constituent units. Thus, all states in the Indian union do not have identical powers. Some states enjoy a special status.
(3) There are some units of the Indian Union which enjoy very little power. These regions, like Chandigarh or Lakshadweep or the capital city of Delhi, are called union territories.
(4) These territories do not have the powers of a state. The central government has special powers to run these territories.
(5) This sharing of power between the union government and the state government is basic to the structure of the constitution. It is not easy to make changes to this power sharing arrangement.
(6) The judiciary plays an important role in overseeing the implementation of constitutional provisions and procedures. In case of any dispute about the division of powers the High Courts and the Supreme Court make a decision.
(7) The union and state governments have the power to raise resources by levying taxes in order to carry on the government and the responsibilities assigned to each of them.
Practice of Federalism – The real success of federalism in India can be attributed to the nature of democratic politics in our country. This ensures that the spirit of federalism respect for diversity and desire for living together became a shared ideal in our country.
Linguistic States – The creation of linguistic states was the first and a major test for democratic politics in our country.
Some states were created not on the basis of language but to recognise differences based on culture, ethenicity or geography. These include states like Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand.
Formation of linguistic states has actually made the country, more united. It has also made administration easier.
Language Policy – Our constitution did not give the status of national language to any one language. Hindi was identified as the official language. Besides Hindi, there are 21 other languages recognised as scheduled languages by the constitution. Promotion of Hindi continues to be the official policy of the government of India. Promotion does not mean that the central government can impose Hindi on states where people speak a different language.
Centre-state Relations – Restructuring the central-state relations is one more way in which federalism has been strengthened in practice. After 1990, there has been the rise of regional political parties in many states of the country. This was also the beginning of the era of coalition governments at the centre.
This led to a new culture of power sharing and respect for the autonomy of state governments.
This trend was supported by a major judgement of the supreme court that made it difficult for the central government to dismiss state governments in an arbitrary manner.
Linguistic Diversity of India – There are more than 1300 languages in India. These languages were grouped together under some major languages. After this grouping the census found 121 major languages. Of these 22 languages are now included in the eighth schedule of the Indian constitution.
The largest language, Hindi, is the mother tongue of only 44 percent Indians. If we add to that all those who knew Hindi as their second or third language, the total number was still less than 50 percent in 2011.
Decentralisation in India – Federal governments have two or more tiers of governments. When power is taken away from central and state government and given to local governments, it is called decentralisation. The basic idea behind decentralisation is that there are a large number of problems and issues which are best settled at the local level. People have better knowledge of problems in their localities.
A major step towards decentralisation was taken in 1992. The constitution was amended to make the third-tier of democracy more powerful and effective.
- Now it is constitutionally mandatory to hold regular elections to local government bodies.
- Seats are reserved in the elected bodies and the executive heads of these institutions for the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes. One third of all positions are reserved for women.
- The state election commission has been created in each state to conduct Panchayat and municipal elections.
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