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What is Federalism --- ?

The term "federalism" is used to describe a system of


government in which sovereignty (power / authority) is
constitutionally divided between a central governing
authority and constituent political units (such as states or
provinces).

Federalism is a system based upon democratic rules and


institutions in which the power to govern is shared
between national and provincial/state governments,
creating what is often called a federation.
What is Federalism --- ?
The Central Government of India is also known as the
Union Government, being the pivotal authority of a
Federal Union of 29 States and seven Union Territories.

The current arrangement has two constitutional levels of


governance, as shown in the chart below, and their areas
of governance, legislation and jurisdiction are clearly
determined by the three lists outlined in the VIIth
Schedule of the Constitution of India.
Union List:
Includes subjects of national importance such as defence
of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communications and
currency.

The Union Government alone can make laws relating to the


subjects mentioned in the Union List. There are currently
99 items mentioned on the Union List.
State List:
Contains subjects of State and local importance such as police,
trade, commerce, agriculture and irrigation.

The State Governments alone can make laws relating to the subjects
mentioned in the State List.

However, in certain circumstances, Union Parliament can also make


laws on subjects mentioned in the State List.

For this, Union Parliament has to pass a resolution with 2/3rd majority
stating that it is appropriate to legislate on the State List in national
interest. There are currently 61 items mentioned on the State List.
Concurrent List:

Includes subjects of common interest to both the Union


Government as well as the State Governments, such as
education, forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption and
succession.

Both the Union as well as the State Governments can


make laws on the subjects mentioned in this list. If their
laws conflict with each other, the law made by the Union
Government will prevail. There are currently 52 items on
the Concurrent List.
Decentralization

Decentralization will be understood as the devolution by


central (i.e. national) government of specific functions,
with all of the administrative, political and economic
attributes that these entail, to local (i.e. municipal)
governments which are independent of the CENTRE and
sovereign within a legally delimited geographic and
functional domain.
The Ministry of Panchayati Raj is a branch of the
Government of India looking after the on going process of
decentralization and local governance in the States.

In a federation the powers and functions of the


government are divided among two governments. In India
it is the Union Government and the various State
Governments.
73rd and 74th amendment act of
However, with the passage of
the Constitution of India in 1993, the division of powers and
functions have been further trickled down to Local Self
Governments (Panchayat at Village levels and Municipalities and
Municipal Corporations in towns & large cities).

As such India now has not two but three tier of Governments in its
federal setup.

Ministry of Panchayati Raj looks into all matters relating of


Panchayati Raj and Panchayati Raj Institutions.

It was created in May 2004. The ministry is headed by a minister of


cabinet rank.
73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act

73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments were passed by


Parliament in 1992.

Through these amendments local self governance was


introduced in rural and urban India.

The Acts came into force as the Constitution (73rd Amendment)


Act, 1992 on April 24, 1993

and the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 on June 1,


1993.
These amendments added two new parts to the
Constitution, namely,

73rd Amendment added Part IX titled The Panchayats

74th Amendment added Part IXA titled The


Municipalities
Salient Features of 73rd Amendment Act

The important features of this amendment are:

It provided for the State legislatures making their own laws for
establishing Panchayats, Municipalities etc and conferring on
them such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable
them to function as institutions of self-government

A three-tier system was introduced in every State, excluding


States having less than two million population

Panchayats are to be established at the village and district levels

It empowers people to elect their representatives in Panchayats


Salient Features Of 73rd Amendment Act
Elections to the Panchayats to be held within six months of the dissolution of a
Panchayat.

Some seats will be reserved for women, Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled
Tribes (ST)

A fixed five year term for all Panchayats has been fixed

Panchayat has been given power to formulate their own development plans and
implement them

Panchayats will have their own budget, power of taxation and list of items in their
jurisdiction.

State Election Commissioner to conduct Panchayat elections

Every five years, a State Finance Commission to be constituted to review the


financial resources of Panchayat
Do You Know?
States of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Jammu
and Kashmir, the Union territory of Delhi, hill area in
Manipur and Darjeeling in West Bengal have not been
covered by the 73rd and 74th Constitutional
Amendments.
Salient Features Of 74th Amendments

It provides for setting up of Nagar Palikas and Nagar


Panchayats

All other provisions including reservation, elections,


financial power and implementation of development
projects are very similar to those in the 73rd Amendment
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