NCERT Class 10 Political Science Chapter 2: Federalism YouTube Lecture Handouts

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NCERT Class 10 Political Science / Polity / Civics Chapter 2: Federalism

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Case of Belgium

  • After 1993, regional government were given constitutional powers that were no longer dependent on central government.

  • Belgium shifted from unitary to federal government


  • Division of powers between central authorities and constituents

  • Government at central level – fewer subjects

  • Government at state level – more issues and day to day administering

  • Both enjoy powers independent of each other

Image of Division of powers between central authorities and constituents

Division of Powers between Central Authorities and Constituents

Image of Division of powers between central authorities and constituents

  • 25 of 192 nations have federal government which makes 40% of total population

  • Unitary Government – either one level of government or sub-units are subordinate to central government; central govt. can pass orders to state government

Features of Federalism

  • There are two or more levels of government

  • Each tier has its own jurisdiction – these are specified in constitution

  • For change in fundamental provisions of constitution consent it required form both levels of government

  • Court can interpret constitution and powers of different levels of government

  • Sources of revenue for each government are specified to ensure financial autonomy

  • Safeguard and promote unity

  • Accommodate regional diversity

  • Mutual trust and agreement to live together

Independent States coming together on their own to form a bigger unit – pool sovereignty and retain identity and increase security – coming together federation (Australia, Switzerland and USA) – all states have equal power and are strong vis-à-vis federal government

Holding together federation (India, Spain and Belgium) – larger country divides power between state and nation & central government is more powerful, some are granted special powers

India as Federal Country

Princely states became part of India

Constitution declared India as Union of States

  • Central government

  • State government

  • Panchayats or Municipalities

3 Lists

  • Union List – defence, foreign affairs, banking, communications and currency

  • State List - police, trade, commerce, agriculture and irrigation

  • Concurrent List - education, forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption and succession

Residuary Subjects – power lies with union government – for example, computer software that came up after constitution was made

Holding together federation – each state has different powers (e.g. J&K has its own constitution – only permanent residents of state can buy land or house there)

UTs don’t have powers of state and central government has special powers to run these areas

For any change in this arrangement – both houses must have 2/3rd majority & then ratified by legislatures of atleast half of states

Can levy taxes to carry on government and responsibilities


Disputes on division of powers – High Court or Supreme Court make the decision

Practicing Federalism

  • Ideas laid down in constitutional provisions

  • Nature of democratic politics in India

  • Spirit of federalism, respect for diversity and desire for living together became shared ideals

Linguistic States – 1st major test for democratic politics – initially divided based on language (created fear of disintegration of union but made easy to administer)

  • Some create based on culture, geography or ethnicity like Nagaland, Jharkhand or Uttarakhand

  • Telangana became 29th state on 2nd June 2014

Language Policy – Hindi is official language but only 40% speak Hindi. There are 21 other languages recognized as Scheduled Languages & states have their own official language

  • There are around 1500 distinct languages, 114 major languages and 22 languages in 8th Schedule & known as “Scheduled Languages”

  • 40% speak Hindi as first language & 50% as second and third language

  • 0.02% speak English as 1st Language and 11% as second and third language

  • There was suggestion to stop use of English as official language in 1965 but non-Hindi states were against it. Central government worked for both Hindi and English but many thought it favored English speaking elite

Centre-State Relations – start of coalition government (alliance) after 1990 where many regional parties came together – created new culture of power sharing and respect for autonomy

Decentralization in India

  • States in India are of the size of countries in Europe

  • In Population, UP is more than Russia & Maharashtra more than Germany

  • Therefore we have local government as third tier

  • Power is taken from center and given to states and local government – local people have better knowledge and ideas about the region

  • Panchayats in villages and municipalities in urban areas

  • Major step in 1992 for decentralization

  • Mandatory to hold regular elections to local government

  • Seats reserved in elected bodies for ST/SC & OBCs

  • 1/3rd seats for women

  • State Election Commission conducts panchayat and municipal elections

  • States to share power and revenue with local bodies

Panchayati Raj System

  • Village – Gram Panchayat (many ward members with panch and head as sarpanch) – directly elected by people and is decision making body for village. Meet twice or thrice in a year to approve budget and review performance.

  • Panchayat Samiti or Block or Mandal – at district level and is group of gram panchayats. Members are elected by all panchayat members. They form Zilla parishad (have elected members, also sometimes have MLAs & MPs). Zilla parishad chairperson is the political head of the zilla parishad.

  • Municipalities in towns - Municipal chairperson is the political head of the municipality

  • Big cities have municipal corporations - Mayor

  • There are now about 36 lakh elected representatives in the panchayats and municipalities etc., all over the country. This number is bigger than the population of many countries in the world

  • Institution of Zilla Parishad is chaired by a “political head” (and is elected)

  • Whereas institution of District Magistrate (DM) is chaired by “non political head” / Administrative head (and is appointed by the government)

  • Decision making is done by Zilla Parishad & implementation is done by DM.

  • Chairperson of Zilla Parishad comes under Collector and above Additional collector

Brazil’S Experiment

  • Porto Alegre - decentralization with participative democracy

  • 13 lakh people participate to make budget

  • City is divided in sectors or wards & each sector has its own meeting

  • Now buses run in poor colonies and builders cannot evict slum-dwellers without resettling them

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