Union Government

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1 Scope of this document

The following note is a background document for teachers. It summarises the things we will need to know on the topic of Union Government in India. This note is meant to be a ready reference for the teacher to develop this. This document attempts to cover all the topics identified in the concept map. To plan the actual lessons, the teacher must use this in connection with the theme plan.

2 Syllabus

Class 8

Union Government

1. Meaning - Organs

2. Legislative - Parliament

3. Executive - President

4. Judiciary

a. Supreme Court

b. High Courts

5. Composition, Power system.

and Functions

3 Concept Map

Union Government html 597d8be.jpg

4 Theme Plan




ಮಕ್ಕಳಲ್ಲಿ ಮೂಡಿಸುವ ಪರಿಕಲ್ಪನೆ

ಮಾಹಿತಿ '/ 'ಜ್ಞಾನ




Introduction to the Federal Government

1.Gets an idea about meaning of federal and comprehends the features of fedaral sytem

know the constitutional background for the unitary system of government in india

identification of scope of powers between union and state government

Activity 1 (Lecture on 246th Amendment)


  1. Gets an idea of the meaning of legislature (government) and its roles 2. Student also understands the role of the parliamentary system and how it is created.

The structure of the legislature and its functions

1.compares to other legislatures outside india 2.analyses the execution of legislature

Activity 2 (Mock Parliament)


1. importance of executive when compared to other branches of government. 2.the relevance of different parts of executive like president,PM,and council of ministers.

The structure of the executive and its functions

Listing and comparing the powers of different institutions of the executive

Activity 3 (Collect news articles) Activity 4 (School Cabinet)


1.the independence of indian judiciary. 2. the supremacy of the constitution. 3.the indian judiciary is unitary.

The structure of the judiciary and its functions

gets a practical knowledge of arguements in courts.

Activity 5 (Visiting a district court) Activity 6 (Seminar)

Structure of central administration.

the hierarchy within the administration and the necessity for the complex structure

the structure of bureaucracy

Listing ; understanding division of labour within the government

Activity 7 (Visit to a government office)

Administration of Union Territories

The difference in the adminstration of Union Territories; understand the importance of the central government here

1. roles of governer in administration. 2. the administrative details.

Activity 8 (Study of Union Territories)

Centre- State relations

Tthe need for Centre-State divisions and how it emerged. Understand its complexities.

List the Concurrent items

Comprehend statistical data

Activity 9 (Data Analysis)

5 Curricular Objectives

  1. To understand federalism and how and why Indian government practises it
  2. To understand Parliament formation and its working
  3. To identify the scope of the powers of central and state governments
  4. To understand the different wings of the Union Government: legislation, executive and judiciary; their roles and their inter relations. Supreme Court (should we add separately?)
  5. to explain the administration of union territories
  6. To familiarise students with the concept of bureaucracy and the way that it works at the local level.
  7. To familiarise students with roles and responsibilities when one is in a position of power. (Student council).
  8. To develop democratic values within children by helping them understand our federal government.
  9. To understand the electoral process in the country.

6 Federal Government (Division of power between State and Centre).

Sourced from NCERT textbooks and wikipedia and [[1]]

Federalism is a system of government in which the power is divided between a central authority and various constituent units of the country. Usually, a federation has two levels of government. One is the government for the entire country that is usually responsible for a few subjects of common national interest (Our Central Government). The others are governments at the level of provinces or states that look after much of the day-to-day administering of their state (State Government). Both these levels of governments enjoy their power independent of the other. In a federal system, the central government cannot order the state government to do something. State government has powers of its own for which it is not answerable to the central government.

Both these governments are separately answerable to the people.

Governments at different levels should agree to some rules of power sharing. They should also trust that each would abide by its part of the agreement. An ideal federal system has both aspects : mutual trust and agreement to live together.

In our Constitution, there is a clear division of powers, so that the States and the Centre are required to enact and legislate within their sphere of activity and none violates its limits

and tries to encroach upon the functions of the other. This is called Federalism.

A division of authority exists between the federal government and the States, there are three lists enumerating the powers of Union, State and Concurrent. A federal state derives its existence from the Constitution. Every power- Executive, Legislative, or Judicial whether it belongs to the federation or to the component units is subordinate to and controlled by the Constitution. The Indian Constitution is a written document which defines the structure, organization and powers of the Central as well as State governments, and clearly prescribes the limits within which each wing functions.

The constitution of India provides a bicameral legislature (consisting of two houses: the directly-elected 552-member Lok Sabha ("House of the People"), the lower house, and the 250-member indirectly-elected and appointed Rajya Sabha ("Council of States"), the upper house. )at the Centre (The Parliament). The parliament enjoys parliamentary supremacy. All the members of the Council of Ministers as well as the Prime Minister are members of Parliament. If they are not, they must be elected within a period of six months from the time they assume their respective office. The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are responsible to the Lok Sabha, individually as well as collectively. The Rajya Sabha gives representation to the States. Parts of the Indian Constitution which concern the federal structure can be amended by the Centre only with the consent of the majority of the Sate legislatures. Independent Judiciary in a federal system the courts are vested with a final power to interpret the Constitution and see to it that no action on the part of the federal and state governments violates the provisions of the Constitution. In India Supreme Court is given this power to guard the distribution of powers and the constitutional provisions. Despite the essential features of a federation that characterize the Indian Constitution there are some features that make it different from the typical federal systems of the world. There is a single Constitution for the Union and the Sates in India unlike the case of other federations . No State except Jammu and Kashmir has its own separate Constitution.

The Constitution clearly provides a three- fold distribution of legislative powers between the Union Government and the State Governments. Thus, it contains three lists: Union List includes subjects of national importance such as defence of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communications and currency. They are included in this list because we need a uniform policy on these matters throughout the country. The Union Government alone can make laws relating to the subjects mentioned in 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. 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.


Sourced from NCERT textbooks and wikipedia.

Legislature is not merely a law making body. Lawmaking is but one of the functions of the legislature. It is the centre of all democratic political process. It is packed with action; walkouts, protests, demonstration, unanimity, concern and co-operation. All these serve very vital purposes. Indeed, a genuine democracy is inconceivable without a representative, efficient and effective legislature. The legislature also helps people in holding the representatives accountable. This is indeed, the very basis of representative democracy. Yet, in most democracies, legislatures are losing central place to the executive. In India too, the Cabinet initiates policies, sets the agenda for governance and carries them through. This has led some critics to remark that the Parliament has declined. But even very strong cabinets must retain majority in the legislature. A strong leader has to face the Parliament and answer to the satisfaction of the Parliament. Herein lies the democratic potential of the Parliament. It is recognised as one of the most democratic and open forum of debate. On account of its composition, it is the most representative of all organs of government. It is above all, vested with the power to choose and dismiss the government.

Legislature of the Union, which is called Parliament, consists of the President and two Houses, known as Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and House of the People (Lok Sabha). Each House has to meet within six months of its previous sitting. A joint sitting of two Houses can be held in certain cases. Countries with large size and much diversity usually prefer to have two houses of the national legislature to give representation to all sections in the society and to give representation to all geographical regions or parts of the country. Such a legislature has one more advantage. It makes it possible to have every decision reconsidered. Every decision taken by one house goes to the other house for its decision. This means that every bill and policy would be discussed twice. This ensures a double check on every matter. Even if one house takes a decision in haste, that decision will come for discussion in the other house and reconsideration will be possible.

6.1 Rajya Sabha

Each of the two Houses of the Parliament has different bases of representation. The Rajya Sabha represents the States of India. It is an indirectly elected body. Residents of the State elect members to State Legislative Assembly. The elected members of State Legislative Assembly in turn elect the members of Rajya Sabha. We can imagine two different principles of representation in the second chamber. One way is to give equal representation to all the parts of the country irrespective of their size or population. We may call this as symmetrical representation. On the other hand, parts of the country may be given representation according to their population. This second method means that regions or parts having larger population would have more representatives in the second chamber than regions having less population. The second method is what our constitution has chosen. States with larger population get more representatives than States with smaller population get. Thus, a more populous State like Uttar Pradesh sends 31 members to Rajya Sabha, while a smaller and less populous State like Sikkim has one seat in the Rajya Sabha.

Members of the Rajya Sabha are elected for a term of six years. They can get re-elected. All members of the Rajya Sabha do not complete their terms at the same time. Every two years, one third members of the Rajya Sabha . complete their term and elections are held for those one third seats only. Thus, the Rajya Sabha is never fully dissolved. Therefore, it is called the permanent House of the Parliament. The advantage of this arrangement is that even when the Lok Sabha is dissolved and elections are yet to take place, the meeting of the Rajya Sabha can be called and urgent business can be conducted.

Union Government html 5867784d.jpgThe Constitution provides that the Rajya Sabha shall consist of 250 members, of which 12 members shall be nominated by the President from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service; and not more than 238 representatives of the States and of the Union Territories.

Rajya Sabha Chamber

Rajya Sabha, at present, has 245 seats. Of these, 233 members represent the States and the Union Territories, and 12 members are nominated by the President.

6.2 Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage. For the purpose of election, the entire country (State, in case of State Legislative Assembly) is divided into territorial constituencies of roughly equal population.

The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is now 552 (530 members to represent States, 20 to represent Union Territories, and not more than two members of the Anglo-Indian community to be nominated by the President, if, in his opinion, that community is not adequately represented in the House). The total elective membership of the Lok Sabha is distributed among States in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each State and population of the State is, as far as practicable, the same for all States. The Lok Sabha at present consists of 545 members. Of these, 530 members are directly elected from the States and 13 from Union Territories, while two are nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community. Following the Constitution 84th Amendment Act, the total number of existing seats as allocated to various States in the Lok Sabha on the basis of the 1971 census, shall remain unaltered till the first census to be taken after the year 2026.

Union Government html 762791da.jpg

Lok Sabha Chamber

The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved earlier, is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time, and not extending in any case, beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate. Fourteen Lok Sabhas have been constituted so far.

6.3 Qualification for Membership of Parliament

In order to be chosen a member of Parliament, a person must be a citizen of India and not less than 30 years of age in the case of Rajya Sabha and not less than 25 years of age in the case of Lok Sabha. Additional qualifications may be prescribed by Parliament by law.

6.4 Functions and Powers of Parliament

Apart from law making, the Parliament is engaged in many other functions. Let us list the functions of the Parliament.:

Legislative Function: The Parliament enacts legislations for the country. Despite being the chief law making body, the Parliament often merely approves legislations. The actual task of drafting the bill is performed by the bureaucracy under the supervision of the minister concerned. The substance and even the timing of the bill are decided by the Cabinet. No major bill is introduced in the Parliament without the approval of the Cabinet. Members other than ministers can also introduce bills but these have no chance of being passed without the support of the government.

Control of Executive and ensuring its accountability: Perhaps the most vital function of the Parliament is to ensure that the executive does not overstep its authority and remains responsible to the people who have elected them. We shall discuss this function in greater detail later in this chapter.

Financial Function: Government is about spending a lot of money on various matters. Where does this money come from? Every government raises resources through taxation. However, in a democracy, legislature controls taxation and the way in which money is used by the government. If the Government of India proposes to introduce any new tax, it has to get the approval of the Lok Sabha. The Financial powers of the Parliament, involve grant of resources to the government to implement its programmes. The government has to give an account to the Legislature about the money it has spent and resources that it wishes to raise. The legislature also ensures that the government does not misspend or overspend. This is done through the budget and annual financial statements.

Union Government html m24074abb.jpg

Representation: Parliament represents the divergent views of members from different regional, social, economic, religious groups of different parts of the country.

Debating Function: The Parliament is the highest forum of debate in the country. There is no limitation on its power of discussion. Members are free to speak on any matter without fear. This makes it possible for the Parliament to analyse any or every issue that faces the nation. These discussions constitute the heart of democratic decision making.

Constituent Function: The Parliament has the power of discussing and enacting changes to the Constitution. The constituent powers of both the houses are similar. All constitutional amendments have to be approved by a special majority of both Houses.

Electoral functions: The Parliament also performs some electoral functions. It elects the President and Vice President of India.

Judicial functions: The judicial functions of the Parliament include considering the proposals for removal of President, Vice-President and Judges of High Courts and Supreme Court.

The basic function of any legislature is to make laws for its people. A definite procedure is followed in the process of making law. A rough diagram from NCERT textbook is reporduced below.

Union Government html m7c8aa324.png

A bill is a draft of the proposed law. There can be different types of bills. When a non-minister proposes a bill, it is called private member’s Bill. A bill proposed by a minister is described as Government Bill. Even before a bill is introduced in the Parliament there may be a lot of debate on the need for introducing such a bill. A political party may pressurise the government to initiate a bill in order to fulfil its election promises or to improve its chances of winning forthcoming elections. Interest groups, media and citizens’ forums may also persuade the government for a particular legislation. Law making is thus not merely a legal procedure but also a political course of action. The preparation of a bill itself involves many considerations such as resources required to implement the law, the support or opposition that the bill is likely to produce, the impact that the law may have on the electoral prospect of the ruling party etc. In the era of coalition politics especially, a bill proposed by the government has to be acceptable to all the partners of the coalition. Such practical considerations can hardly be ignored. The Cabinet considers all these before arriving at a decision to enact a law.

Once the Cabinet approves the policy behind the legislation, the task of drafting the legislation begins. The draft of any bill is prepared by the concerned ministry. For instance a bill raising the marriageable age of girls from 18 to 21 will be prepared by the law ministry. The ministry of women and child welfare may also be involved in it. Within the Parliament, a bill may be introduced in the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha by a member of the House (but often a minister responsible for the subject introduces the bill). A money bill can be introduced only in Lok Sabha. Once passed there, it is sent to the Rajya Sabha.

A large part of the discussion on the bills takes place in the committees. The recommendation of the committee is then sent to the House. That is why committees are referred to as miniature legislatures. This is the second stage in the law making process. In the third and final stage, the bill is voted upon. If a non-money bill is passed by one House, it is sent to the other House where it goes through exactly the same procedure. A bill has to be passed by both Houses for enactment. If there is disagreement between the two Houses on the proposed bill, attempt is made to resolve it through Joint Session of Parliament. In the few instances when joint sessions of the parliament were called to resolve a deadlock, the decision has always gone in favour of the Lok Sabha. If it is a money bill, the Rajya Sabha can either approve the bill or suggest changes but cannot reject it. If it takes no action within 14 days the bill is deemed to have been passed. Amendments to the bill, suggested by Rajya Sabha, may or may not be accepted by the Lok Sabha.

For information on parliament committees please refer to [[2]]

For more information on law making procedures please refer to [[3]]

7 Executive

The word executive means a body of persons that looks after the implementation of rules and regulations in actual practice. In the case of government also, one body may take policy decisions and decide about rules and regulations, while the other one would be in charge of implementing those rules. The organ of government that primarily looks after the function of implementation and administration is called the executive. What are the principal functions of the executive? Executive is the branch of government responsible for the implementation of laws and policies adopted by the legislature. The executive is often involved in framing of policy. The official designations of the executive vary from country to country. Some countries have presidents, while others have chancellors. The executive branch is not just about presidents, prime ministers and ministers. It also extends to the administrative machinery (civil servants). While the heads of government and their ministers, saddled with the overall responsibility of government policy, are together known as the political executive, those responsible for day to day administration are called the permanent executive.

When the Constitution of India was written, India already had some experience of running the parliamentary system under the Acts of 1919 and 1935. This experience had shown that in the parliamentary system, the executive can be effectively controlled by the representatives of the people. The makers of the Indian Constitution wanted to ensure that the government would be sensitive to public expectations and would be responsible and accountable. The other alternative to the parliamentary executive was the presidential form of government. But the presidential executive puts much emphasis on the president as the chief executive and as source of all executive power. There is always the danger of personality cult in presidential executive. The makers of the Indian Constitution wanted a government that would have a strong executive branch, but at the same time, enough safeguards should be there to check against the personality cult. In the parliamentary form there are many mechanisms that ensure that the executive will be answerable to and controlled by the legislature or people’s representatives. So the Constitution adopted the parliamentary system of executive for the governments both at the national and State levels.

According to this system, there is a President who is the formal Head of the state of India and the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, which run the government at the national level. At the State level, the executive comprises the Governor and the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers. The Constitution of India vests the executive power of the Union formally in the President. In reality, the President exercises these powers through the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The President is elected for a period of five years. But there is no direct election by the people for the office of President. The President is elected indirectly. This means that the president is elected not by the ordinary citizens but by the elected MLAs and MPs. This election takes place in accordance with the principle of proportional representation with single transferable vote. The President can be removed from office only by Parliament by following the procedure for impeachment. The only ground for impeachment is violation of the Constitution.

For more information on the President and Vice-President of India, please refer [[4]] and [[5]]

For information on the Council of Minister, please refer [[6]]

7.1 Prime minister

No discussion of government or politics in India, would normally take place without mentioning one office: the Prime Minister of India. We have already seen earlier that the President exercises his powers only on the advice of the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers is headed by the Prime Minister. Therefore, as head of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister becomes the most important functionary of the government in our country.

In the parliamentary form of executive, it is essential that the Prime Minister has the support of the majority in the Lok Sabha. This support by the majority also makes the Prime Minister very powerful. The moment this support of the majority is lost, the Prime Minister loses the office. For many years after independence, the Congress party had the majority in the Lok Sabha and its leader

would become the Prime Minister. Since 1989, there have been many occasions when no party had majority in the Lok Sabha. Various political parties have come together and formed a coalition that has majority in the House. In such situations, a leader who is acceptable to most partners of the coalition becomes the Prime Minister. Formally, a leader who has the support of the majority is appointed by the President as Prime Minister. The Prime Minister then decides who will be the ministers in the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister allocates ranks and portfolios to the ministers. Depending upon the seniority and political importance, the ministers are given the ranks of cabinet minister, minister of State or deputy minister. In the same manner, Chief Ministers of the States choose ministers from their own party or coalition. The Prime Minister and all the ministers have to be members of the Parliament. If someone becomes a minister or Prime Minister without being an MP, such a person has to get elected to the Parliament within six months.

The Prime Minister occupies a unique position of power and prestige. His powers and functions are:

  1. He prepares the list of the council of ministers. The president cannot drop any name from this list;
  2. The Prime Minister distributes the work to the different ministers;
  3. He can dismiss an erring minister;
  4. He presides over the meetings of the Cabinet;
  5. He supervises and co-ordinates the working of various departments;
  6. He is the main spokesman of the ministry;
  7. He is a link between the council of ministers and the President.
  8. He advises the President on the issue of making appointments;
  9. He advises the President to dissolve the Lok Sabha; and
  10. He plays a leading role in making all policy statements as also the preparation of the annual budget.

8 Judiciary

For a basic introduction to the judiciary, please refer [[7]]. For information on different kind of courts (subordinate courts, consumer courts and revenue courts), please refer [[8]], [[9]],


The work that the judiciary does can be divided into the following:

Dispute Resolution: The judicial system provides a mechanism for resolving disputes between citizens, between citizens and the government, between two state governments and between the centre and state governments.

Judicial Review: As the final interpreter of the Constitution, the judiciary also has the power to strike down particular laws passed by the Parliament if it believes that these are a violation of the basic structure of the Constitution. This is called judicial review.

Upholding the Law and Enforcing Fundamental Rights: Every citizen of India can approach the Supreme Court or the High Court if they believe that their Fundamental Rights have been violated.

Structure of the Judiciary reproduced from NCERT textbook

Union Government html m654b329e.png

The Judiciary needs to be independent from the Legislation and the Executive. These other organs of the government must not restrain the functioning of the judiciary in such a way that it is unable to do justice. Judges must be able to perform their functions without fear or favour. Independence of the judiciary does not imply arbitrariness or absence of accountability. Judiciary is a part of the democratic political structure of the country. It is therefore accountable to the Constitution, to the democratic traditions and to the people of the country.

In principle, all citizens of India can access the courts in this country. This implies that every citizen has a right to justice through the courts. As you read earlier, the courts play a very significant role in protecting our Fundamental Rights. If any citizen believes that their rights are being violated, then they can approach the court for justice to be done. While the courts are available for all, in reality access to courts has always been difficult for a vast majority of the poor in India. Legal procedures involve a lot of money and paperwork as well as take up a lot of time. For a poor person who cannot read and whose family depends on a daily wage, the idea of going to court to get justice often seems remote.

In response to this, the Supreme Court in the early 1980s devised a mechanism of Public Interest Litigation or PIL to increase access to justice. It allowed any individual or organisation to file a PIL in the High Court or the Supreme Court on behalf of those whose rights were being violated. The legal process was greatly simplified and even a letter or telegram addressed to the Supreme Court or the High Court could be treated as a PIL. In the early years, PIL was used to secure justice on a large number of issues such as rescuing bonded labourers from inhuman work conditions; and securing the release of prisoners in Bihar who had been kept in jail even after their punishment term was complete.

Union Government html m13e3b70a.jpg

For the common person, access to courts is access to justice. The courts exercise a crucial role in interpreting the Fundamental Rights of citizens and as you saw in the above case, the courts interpreted Article 21 of the Constitution on the Right to Life to include the Right to Food. They, therefore, ordered the State to take certain steps to provide food for all including the mid-day meal scheme. However, there are also court judgments that people believe work against the best interests of the common person. For example, activists who work on issues concerning the right to shelter and housing for the poor believe that the recent judgments on evictions are a far cry from earlier judgments. While recent judgments tend to view the slum dweller as an encroacher in the city, earlier judgments (like the 1985 Olga Tellis vs Bombay Municipal Corporation) had tried to protect the livelihoods of slum dwellers. Another issue that affects the common person’s access to justice is the inordinately long number of years that courts take to hear a case. The phrase ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ is often used to characterise this extended time period that courts take.

8.1 Lokpal

The Lokpal will be a three-member body with a chairperson who is or was a chief justice or Supreme Court judge, and two members who are or have been high courts judges or chief justices.

Implementation of the Lokpal bill will hopefully reduce corruption in India. The basic idea of the Lokpal is borrowed from the office of the ombudsman in other countries. It provides for filing complaints of corruption against the prime minister , other ministers and members of parliament with the ombudsman. Anyone, except for a public servant , can file a complaint and the Lokpal has to complete the inquiry within six months.

Union Government html m6e664df3.jpg


For 42 years, governments have tried to put in place the law.

The bill was for the first time presented during the fourth Lok Sabha in 1968, and was passed there in 1969. However, the Lok Sabha was dissolved , resulting in the first death of the bill.

It was revived in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008.

9 Structure of Central Administration

To get more information on the structure of central administration, please refer to the following links

9.1 Prime Minister's Office (India)

The Prime Minister's Office known as PMO consists of the immediate staff of the Prime Minister of India, as well as multiple levels of support staff reporting to the Prime Minister. The PMO is headed by the Principal Secretary, currently TKA Nair. The office is part of the Government of India located in the South Block of the Secretariat Building


  • The PMO provides secretarial assistance to the Prime Minister. The PMO includes the anti-corruption unit and the public wing dealing with grievances.
  • The office houses the Prime Minister and few selected officers of Indian Civil Service who work with him to manage and coordinate government and his office. The Prime Minister through his office coordinates with all ministers in the central union cabinet, minister of independent charges and governors and ministers of state government. Location
  • The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in South Block, overlooking the grandeur of Rashtrapati Bhawan.[[[1]]] It is sandwiched between the cabinet secretariat on one side and the ministries of external affairs and defence on the other. The 20-room PMO is equipped to provide both infrastructural and manpower support to the nation's chief executive. Hi-tech accessories and sophisticated communication devices were installed to monitor domestic and international developments.

For more information on the different Commissions, please refer to the following links

Centre State Relations

Restructuring the Centre-State relations is a in which federalism has been strengthened in practice. How the constitutional arrangements for sharing power work in reality depends to a large extent on how the ruling parties and leaders

follow these arrangements. For a long time, the same party ruled both at the Centre and in most of the States. This meant that the State governments did not exercise their rights as autonomous federal units. 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. In those days, the Central Government would often misuse 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. This was also the beginning of the era of Coalition Governments at the Centre. 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. 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. Thus, federal power sharing is more effective today than it was in the early years after the Constitution came into force.

The Concurrent List consists of 47 subjects of common interest to both the Union and the States. Both the Parliament and the State Legislatures can make laws on the subjects included in this list. But in case of a conflict between the Union and the State law relating to the same subject, the Union law prevails over the State law. Power to legislate on all subjects not included in any of the three lists vests with the Parliament. Under certain circumstances, the Parliament can legislate on the subjects mentioned in the State List.

The Union Government can issue directions to the States to ensure compliance with the laws of the Parliament for construction and maintenance of means of communications, declared to be of national and military importance, and also on the measures for the protection of Railways. In addition to all this, the Parliament can alone adjudicate on inter-state river disputes. Also, a provision has been made for constituting an Inter- State Council to advise the president on inter-state disputes. Even the State governments may delegate some of its administrative functions relating to the State subjects, to Union Government for a specified period.

Union Government html a520a1c.pngThe Constitution of India has certain special provisions to ensure uniformity of the administrative system. These include the creation of All India Services such as IAS and IPS and placing members of these services in key administrative positions in the states. The presence of All India Service Officers further paves way for the Central Government to exercise its authority and control over the states. The members of these services are recruited by the Centre but are appointed in the States. No disciplinary action can be taken against them by the State Governments without the permission of the Centre. The Constitution also makes provision for the creation of new All India Service by the Parliament on the recommendation of the Rajya Sabha. The President also puts the entire control of

the state administrative machinery under the control of the Union.

You would also recall that the Union executive is empowered to give such directions to a state as it may appear necessary for the purpose to the Union Government. The Union Government has wide powers to issue directions based on the subjective view of the Union and may, therefore, interfere with the state autonomy in the field of administration. Ordinarily, the central police force and Army are posted to the states at the request of the State Government. However, there have been occasions when the CRPF of BSF have been deployed in states much against the state wishes of the State Government. Thus, the center plays a very important role in the administrative sphere of activity concerning the States.

Financial Relations

The distribution of financial resources is especially critical in determining the nature of the State’s relationship with the Centre. Both the Union and the State have been provided with independent sources of revenue by the Constitution. The Parliament can levy taxes on the subjects included in the Union List. The States can levy taxes on the subjects in the State List. By and large taxes that have an inter-state base are levied by the Centre and those with a local base by the State.

The Union List consists of items of taxation which fall under the following categories:

  1. Taxes levied by the Union but collected and appropriated by the State such as stamp duties and duties of excise on medicinal and toilet preparations etc.
  2. Taxes levied and collected by the Union but assigned to the States viz. railways, sea or air etc.
  3. Taxes levied and collected by the Central and may be distributed between the Central and the states if the Parliament by law so provides, such as union excise duties, excise on toilet preparations etc.
  4. Taxes levied and collected and retained by the Centre such as customs, surcharge on income tax etc.
  5. Taxes levied and collected by the Centre and distributed between the union and the states such as taxes other than agriculture etc.

It is clear that in the financial sphere too the Centre is better equipped. The Centre can exercise control over the state finances and grants-in-aid both general and special to meet the expenditure on developmental schemes. During financial emergency, the President has the power to suspend the provisions regarding division of taxes between the Centre and the State. He can also impose other restrictions on the expenses of the State. State plans are framed within the priorities of the central plan and they are executed with the approval of the Planning Commission. Further, the States have to carry out the centre- sponsored schemes for which the Centre gives grants and the conditions under which these are to be made. The Planning Commission has created an over-centralized planning system. No initiative is left to the states and the centrally formulated schemes have been inappropriately and unimaginatively imposed upon them.

10 Activities

10.1 Activity 1 Understanding 246th article of indian constitutuon

10.1.1 Objective

Understands that the indian constitution has distributed the powers between union and state governments.


The text of the 246th Amendment which is reproduced below

“246. Subject matter of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of States

  1. Notwithstanding anything in clauses ( 2 ) and ( 3 ), Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List I in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the Union List)
  2. Notwithstanding anything in clause ( 3 ), Parliament, and, subject to clause ( 1 ), the Legislature of any State also, have power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List III in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the Concurrent List)
  3. Parliament has power to make laws with respect to any matter for any part of the territory of India not included (in a State) notwithstanding that such matter is a matter enumerated in the State List”

Sourced from [[32]]

10.1.2 Procedure:

General Instructions

  1. Arrange the classroom in a proper way.
  2. Prepare the mike and sound system well.
  3. Prepare the stage in a good direction and hight that all students be able to watch and listen to the lecturer.

Specific Instructions

  1. Tell the students to keep silence while lecturing .
  2. Tell the students to make notes
  3. Make a list of doubts if any, arised while lecturing.

Steps to do Activity

  1. The guest gives a lecture on the given topic.
  2. Students listen to lecturer and make some list doubts
  3. After lecture is finished, students would be allowed to ask their doubts which arised during lecturing.

What did the child learn

  1. Pupil will come to know that manner in which powers are separated and executed in indian constitution .
  2. Understands how the powers are distributed between union and state government.

10.2 Activity 2 (Mock Parliament)


To get knowledge of law making procedure in india.


Video of loksabha channel http://wwitv.com/tv_channels/b3881.htm

Chairs and tables in sufficient numbers.

10.2.1 Procedure:

General Instructions

Arrange students in different groups as representives of different parties

Name the students to act in different role like speaker, prime minister,opposition leader, members, marshals etc.

Specific Instructions

  1. Tell the students to behave in a good manner during session.
  2. Instruct the students to address only to the speaker during their speach
  3. Lay out the rules for speaking and the etiquette that ought to be followed in a parliament.

Steps to do Activity

  1. Showing the video of loksabha channel
  2. Discuss the roles played by the loksabha membership
  3. Also have a dicussion on the way debates take place
  4. One group of students (the opposition) take up an issue and ask questions on it.
  5. The Ruling party responds to this.

What did the child learn

  1. Students should understand the way in which democracy is practised in the parliament
  2. They should understand the law making procedure.

10.3 Activity 3 Collection of national level news paper cuttings

10.3.1 Objective

Understand the powers of the executive in the indian administration .


Scissors, folders, files, news papers containing interviews of prime minister, president, ministers etc.

10.3.2 Procedure:

General and Specific Instructions

  1. Arrange groups of two students .
  2. Teach the students to behave politely with the librarian and people who have news papers.
  3. Give a knowledge of using scissors and preparation of album.

Steps to be done

  1. Send the students to visit libraries, different homes
  2. Ask the librarians and people to provide them newspapers
  3. Cutting the articles and interviews about PM,President, Ministers,
  4. Preparation of albums of newspaper cuttings.
  5. Presentation by the students in classroom.
  6. Discussion.

What did the child learn

  1. Pupils will get knowledge about functions and powers of executive.
  2. Understands the importance of the executive in the administration of the government.

10.4 Activity 4 School cabinet.

10.4.1 Objective

Create political awareness among the students .


Papers, pen, drawing sheets, colour pens, meeting hall,

10.4.2 Procedure:

General and Specific Instructions

  1. Prepare a parliament of the students earlier by election .
  2. Give instructions to students to act as members of parliament.
  3. Arrange meeting hall.
  4. Give a dialogue slip to the students.
  5. Let the students to know the port-folio of the ministers.

Steps of the Activity

  1. Elect a student member of school parliament as prime minister.
  2. Allow the prime minister to choose different ministers for his cabinet.
  3. Distribute the portfolio among the ministers.
  4. Arrange a cabinet meeting .discussion.
  5. Register discussion in a book.
  6. Make a chart of school cabinet showing the names of different ministers and hang it in the school.

What did the child learn

  1. Students will come to know the process of cabinet meeting .
  2. Students understands the functions of executive(cabinet)
  3. Students understands the paliamentary system.

10.5 Activity 5 Visiting a district court and watching the process of court.


Knowing the process of courts.


Paper and pen

10.5.1 Procedure

General Instructions

  1. Divide the students in groups
  2. Get the permission and appointment from court authority.

Specific Instructions

  1. Tell the students to keep silence in court hall.
  2. Ask the students to make notes while they watching argument

Steps to do Activity

  1. Visit the selected court in time .
  2. Make notes while the proceedings are taking place
  3. Discuss this later in the classroom and talk about the children's experience.

What did the child learn

Understand the procedures of the court. Experience of court process.

10.6 Activity 6 Seminar by an experienced advocate.


Creating awareness about laws.


paper, pen, mike,stage etc.

10.6.1 Procedure:

General and Specific Instructions

  1. Arrange the seminar hall in a proper manner.
  2. Tell the students to make points during seminar.
  3. Keep good sound system in seminar hall.

Steps to do Activity

  1. Seminar by the advocate.
  2. Discussion after seminar.
  3. Students to clarify their doubts

What did the child learn

  1. Pupil will come to know about indian laws .
  2. Get knowledge of the independence of judiciary.

10.7 Activity 7 A visit to a government office.


Get knowledge about bureaucracy


paper, pen, recoder, video camera


General and Specific Instructions

  1. Take the permission of the concerned officer
  2. Arrange groups of students.
  3. Instruct the students to be disciplined during the visit

Steps to do Activity

  1. Visit the office in time.
  2. Meet the officers and workers in the office
  3. Ask some questions about their work and hierarchy sytem of administration.
  4. Meet the people who visit the office and get details how their work is going on in that office .
  5. Get details about worker and people relationship
  6. Have a discussion in the classroom about the visit.

What did the child learn

  1. Children learn about the hierarchy in the administration.
  2. Children should understand the relationship between administration and people.

10.8 Activity 8 A study on Pondicherry and Lakshadweep


Identification of difference in administration between two union territories


India map with union territories. Also use [[33]] and [[34]]

10.8.1 Procedure:

General and Specific Instructions

Tell the students to note the points while explanation.

Steps to do Activity

  1. Mark the union territories in indian map.
  2. Mark pondicherry and lakshadweep in special colour.
  3. Explain the common features of administration in territories.
  4. Describe the features of administration in pondicherry and lakshadweep.
  5. Allow the students to discuss about difference between these two union territories.
  6. Ask the evaluation questions.

What did the child learn

Understand the administration of union territories in India.

10.9 Activity 9 Data analysis


Study of the grant given to Karnataka Government by Central Government during 2005 to 2010.


Data released by the government.

10.9.1 Procedure:

General and Specific Instructions

  1. Tell the students to take notes .
  2. Ask the students to list their doubts.

Steps to do Activity

  1. Explain the importance of difference taxes collected by central and state governments.
  2. Exibit the data
  3. Discussion on data
  4. Clear the students doubts.

What did the child learn

Pupil will come to know that union government has major sources of taxes


  1. How many subjects are under the union government?
  2. List the subjects which are under the union government.
  3. How is parliament constituted?
  4. Explain the functions of the parliament.
  5. What are the functions of executive
  6. What features do you find to show the relations between legislature and executive?
  7. Have a discussion around, ' judges in india can give judgement without any commitments of the political system. How?'
  8. Write about how you feel advocates try and give justice for their clients
  9. Why is the bureaucracy necessary in administration?