Question: What are the dual objectives of Federalism?
Answer: The dual objectives of Federalism are to safeguard and promote unity of the country and to accommodate regional diversity.
Question: What are the duties of a Central and State governments?
Answer: The duties of the Union or Central Government include subjects of national importance such as defence of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communications and currency. This is because, a uniform policy on these matters will be maintained throughout the country. All the laws pertaining to the above duties must be given only by the Union Government.
The duties of the State Governments include subjects of the State and local importance such as police, trade, commerce, agriculture and irrigation. All the laws pertaining to the above duties must be given only by the State Governments.
Some aspects have to be taken care of, by both, the Union Government as well as the State Governments. They are education, forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption and succession. Both governments can make laws on these subjects. If their laws conflict with each other, the law made by the Union Government will prevail.
Question: “Federations are contrasted with unitary governments”. Explain by giving examples from Sri Lanka and Belgium.
Ans. Under the unitary system, either there is only one level of government or the sub-units are subordinate to the Central government. The Central government can pass on orders to the provincial or the Local government. For example in Sri Lanka is a unitary country and the Union government passed a new law stipulating that the state shall protect and foster Buddhism. Whereas under federal system, the Central government cannot order the State government to do something. State government has powers of its own for which ‘ it i’s not answerable to the Central government. Both these governments are separately answerable to the people.
Question: “Federal power sharing is more effective today than it was in the early years after the Constitution came into force”. Explain.
How is federal power sharing more effective today than in the early years ? Explain.
- Centre-State relations: As and when the ruling party at the State level was different, the parties that ruled at the Centre tried to undermine the power of the states. The Central Government has been misusing the Constitution to dismiss the State governments that were controlled by rival parties. This undermined the spirit of federalism. All this changed significantly after 1990. This period saw the rise of regional political parties in many states of the country.
- Coalition Governments and autonomy of states: The era of coalition has changed the relationship between the centre and state governments since no single party got a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, the major national parties had to enter into an alliance with many parties including several regional parties to form a government at the Centre. This led to a new culture of power sharing and respect for the autonomy of State Governments.
- Judgement of the Supreme Court: The Supreme Court of India has established strict guidelines for imposing President’s rule. With new guidelines it is very difficult for the Central Government to dismiss state governments in an arbitrary manner. Thus, federal power sharing is more effective today than it was in the early years after the Constitution came into force.
Question: ‘The sharing of power between the Union government and the state governments is basic to the structure of the Indian Constitution’. Explain.
- Under a federal government, the fundamental provisions cannot be unilaterally changed by one level of the government and the same is true for India,
- The Parliament cannot on its own change the fundamental structure of the Constitution. Any change in it has to be first passed by both the Houses of the Parliament with at least two-third majority. Then it has to be ratified by the legislatures of at least half of the total states.
Question: Mention any four difficulties of the local government in India.
- Most states have not transferred significant powers to the local governments.
- There is a shortage of resources.
- Elections are not held regularly.
- The Gram Sabhas are not held regularly.
Question: What are the advantages of local governments ?
- Constitutional status for local government has helped to deepen democracy in our country.
- It has also increased women’s representation and voice in our democracy.
- This allows people to directly participate in decision making.
- Local people have better ideas and knowledge about the local problems.
Question: Explain the advantages of decentralization.
Explain any four features of the third tier of government.
Explain how the federal experiment has been successful in the matter of formation of states in India.
Give two arguments in favor of decentralization of powers to local governments. Give two provisions under the amendment of 1992 which empowers local governments in India.
Assess the need for local government.
- Locals have better knowledge: The basic idea behind decentralization 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. They also have better ideas on where to spend money, and how to manage things more efficiently.
- Direct participation of the people: Decentralization makes it possible for the people to directly participate in decision making. This helps to inculcate a habit of democratic participation. The Local government is the best way to realize one important principle of democracy, namely the Local Self-Government.
- Foundation of democracy: Local governments are most important in a democratic system. These are training schools for local citizens and local leadership. These provide political education. The people get familiar about the electoral process, and the proper use of their vote, which is the very foundation of democracy.
- Reduction of burden of the Central Government: It reduces the burden of the Central or State governments. These can concentrate on matters of national or state importance in a better way. In this way, the Local Self-Government ensures efficiency everywhere, at all the three levels of today’s governance. Indian leaders have recognized the need for decentralization.
- Women empowerment: At least one-third of all positions are reserved for women in all the local bodies. This has lead to women empowerment.