Chapter 7 Federalism

Question 1.
From the list of following events which ones would you identify with the functioning of federalism? Why?
1. The Centre on Tuesday announced Sixth Schedule status to GNLF-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, which would ensure greater autonomy to the governing body in the Hill district of West Bengal. A tripartite Memorandum of Settlement was signed in New Delhi between, the Centre, West Bengal government and the Subhas Ghising-led Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) after two days of hectic deliberations.
2. Government for action plan for rain-hit states: Centre has asked the rain-ravaged States to submit detailed plans for reconstruction to enable it to respond to their demands for extra relief expeditiously.
3. New Commissioner for Delhi: The Capital is getting a new municipal commissioner. Confirming this, present MCD Commissioner Rakesh Mehta said he has received his transfer orders and that he is likely to be replaced by IAS officer Ashok Kumar, who is serving as the Chief Secretary in Arunachal Pradesh: Mehta, a 1975 batch IAS officer, has been heading the MCD for about three-and-a-half years.
4. CU Status for Manipur University: Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill to convert the Manipur University into a Central University with the Human Resource Development Minister promising such institutions in the North Eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Sikkim as well.
5. Funds released: The Centre has released ? 553 lakh to Arunachal Pradesh under its rural water supply scheme. The first instalment was of? 466.81 lakh.
6. We’ll teach the Biharis how to live in Mumbai: Around 100 Shiv Sainiks stormed J. J. Hospital, disrupted daily operations, raised slogans and threatened to take matters into their own hands if no action was taken against non-Maharashtrian students.
7. Demand for dismissal of Government: The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in a representation submitted to State Governor recently, has demanded dismissal of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government for its alleged financial mismanagement and embezzlement of public money.
8. NDA government asks Naxalites to surrender arms: Amid a walkout by opposition RJD and its allies Congress and CPI (M), the Bihar government today appealed to the Naxalites to shun the path of violence and reaffirmed its pledge to root out unemployment to usher in a new era of development in Bihar.
1. The very much fact that the State concerned, i.e. West Bengal was appointed as a party to the settlement marks the event as a manifestation of working of federalism.
2. It throws light on the sensitivity of the centre which wants to provide help to the rain- ravaged states to sort out their problems. Hence, it can be identified as federalism.
3. It shows the transfer of an officer from one place to another, showing federalism.
4. In the constitution of India, education-subject comes under the concurrent list to strengthen federation by establishing central institutes to be identified as a functioning of federalism.
5. This is also federalism because centre releases funds for States under its rural water supply scheme. (Arunachal Pradesh).
6. This cannot be identified as federalism because the act of Shiv Sainiks does not promote fraternity, cooperation or mutual trust and respect.
7. This identifies the federalism.
8. This is a function of state government.

Question 2.
Think which of the following statements would be correct. State why.
1. Federalism enhances the possibility of people from different regions to interact without the fear of one’s culture being imposed upon them by others.
2. Federal system will hinder easier economic transaction between two different regions that have distinct types of resources.
3. A federal system will ensure that the powers of those at the centre will remain limited.
1. This is correct because the federal government distributes the power between the
central government and the state government and local self-government.
2. This statement is not correct because the resources are of distinct type and federalism gives impetus to the economic transaction among different regions.
3. This is correct because federalism refers more powers to the constituent units of federation.

Question 3.
Based on the first few articles of Belgian constitution given below, explain how federalism is visualized in that country. Try and write a similar Article for the Constitution of India.
Title I: On Federal Belgium, its components and its territory.
1. Article 1 : Belgium is a Federal State made up of communities and regions.
2. Article 2 : Belgium is made up of three communities: The French Community, the Flemish Community and the German Community.
3. Article 3 : Belgium is made up of three regions: The Walloon region, the Flemish region and the Brussels region.
4. Article 4 : Belgium has four linguistic regions: The French-speaking region, the Dutch-speaking region, the bilingual region of Brussels Capital and the German-speaking region. Each commune (county borough) of the Kingdom is a part of one of these linguistic regions
5. Article 5: The Walloon region is made up of the following provinces: The Walloon Brabant, Hainault, Liege, Luxemburg and Namur. The Flemish region is made up of the following provinces: Antwerp, the Flemish Brabant, West Flanders, East Flanders and Limburg.
1. Article (1): It says that India shall be a union of States.
2. Article (2): India aspires to be a society free from caste discrimination but seats in each province have been distributed among the communities of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and General.
3. Article (3): India is a union of 29 states and seven union territories. As per Article (1) of constitution of India:

  • India, shall be a union of states.
  • The states and union territories shall be specified in the first schedule.

4. Article (4): The eighth schedule of the constitution of India describes 18 different languages:

  • Hindi
  •  Kashmiri
  • Gujarati
  • Bengali
  • Assamese
  • Konkani
  • Malyalam
  • Manipuri
  • Punjabi
  • Urdu
  • Sanskrit
  • Sindhi
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Marathi
  • Nepali
  • Kannada
  • Oriya to be spoken in different regions of India.

5. Article (5): As per Article (1) (2) states that states and the union territories shall be specified in the first schedule.

Question 4.
Imagine that you were to rewrite the provisions regarding federalism. Write an essay of not more than 300 words making your suggestions about:
(a) division of powers among the center and the States,
(b) distribution of financial resources,
(c) methods of resolving inter-State disputes and
(d) appointment of Governors
Federalism is an institutional mechanism to accommodate two sets of politics one-at the national level and the other at the regional level:
(a) Division of powers:

  • The powers are distributed between the central government and the state governments.
  • The constitution demarcates the subjects clearly in the lists.
  • The disputes are settled by the judiciary.
  • The economic and the financial powers have been centralised to the central government.

(b) Distribution of financial resources:

  • Some certain taxes are levelled by the center but are collected by the states, i.e. stamp duty and the taxes on production of medicines and cosmetic preparations.
  • Some certain taxes are levied and collected by the center and are distributed among the states, i.e. succession of property other than agricultural land, terminal taxes on goods and passengers carried by railway, sea and air, taxes on railways freights and fare, taxes on newspaper, etc.
  • The taxes which are levied and collected by the center but are distributed between the center and the states, i.e. income tax on the income other than agricultural land on the recommendation of the finance commission.
  • Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and Assam have been given grants in lieu of export duty on jute and jute products.

(c) Methods of resolving inter-state dispute:

  • An inter-state committee can be established by the Parliament if it thinks it to be fit.
  • This committee enquirers into the dispute and submits its report and recommendations to the Parliament.


  • Haryana and Punjab dispute on Chandigarh
  • Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have dispute over sharing of water of Narmada river.

(d) Appointment of Governors:

  • The Governors of the states are appointed by the President of India on the advice of Council of Ministers at center.
  • He enjoys the power to remove them also.
  • Hence, the Governors work as the representatives of the central Government in the state who inform the center about the condition of the states if required.

Question 5.
Which of the following should be the basis for formation of a State? Why?
(a) Common language
(b) Common economic interests
(c) Common religion
(d) Administrative convenience
In a federation different states are formed on the basis of common language they speak. Hence, federation is the unity in diversity. But, the administrative convenience should be the based for formation of states to develop a culture of mutual trust, tolerance and cooperation.

Question 6.
Majority of people from the States of north India—Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar—speak Hindi. If all these States are combined to form one State, would it be in tune with the idea of federalism? Give arguments.
Federalism is an institutional mechanism to accommodate two seats of politics-one at the national level and the other at the regional level. If all the Hindi speaking regions of India, i.e. Rajasthan, U.P., M.P., Bihar, Gujarat are combined then there would be only a unitary or single unit, this cannot be called a federation.

Question 7.
List four features of the Indian Constitution that give greater power to the central government than the State government.
Strong centre:

  • Various subjects have been demarcated in the division of lists, i.e. union list—97 subjects, states list-66 and concurrent list-47 subjects.
  • All the subjects, which have national importance, included in the union list.
  • In case of any conflict on the subjects of concurrent list, the saying of the central government is important, rather than state government.
  • When an emergency is imposed on the nation or partially, then the central government is empowered to frame the laws on the subjects mentioned in the state list.

The emergency powers:

  • During the declaration of national emergency, the government is changed to a unitary form, from a federation. Hence, the central government exercises the legislative and executive power of the state but state legislature or executive are not dissolved.
  • If emergency is declared in a particular state due to failure of constitutional machinery there, the legislative powers goes into the hands of the center and the executive power goes in the hands of the President.
  • In case of declaration of financial emergency by the President, the center is again authorized to issue directions concerning the economy of the state and they will obey it.

3. Financial dependance of the states on centre:

  • The centre enjoys more resources for revenue rather than the states.
  • The states can get loan from the centre if required.
  • The states apply for grants-in-aid from the centre.
  •  Hence, states are dependent on the centre financially.

4. Appointment of Governors:

  • The Governor is the head of the state as well as an agent of the central government.
  • He is appointed by the President of India and remains in the office till the pleasure of the President.
  • Hence, Governors act according to the wishes of the central government.

Question 8.
Why are many States unhappy about the role of the Governor?

  • The role of Governor is referred to as an interference by the central government inthe functioning of the state government, hence it becomes controversial.
  • This controversy becomes much more if the power vests in the different lands at the centre and the state.
  • As per Article 356, the Governor exercises the power to recommend the dissolution of state assembly.


  • The central governments dismissed the elected governments in Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir in 1980’s.
  • In Bihar also, state assembly was dissolved on the recommendation of the Governor in 2005. Though it was later pronounced unconstitutional. Due to these practices of Governor, the states remain unhappy with them.

Question 9.
President’s rule can be imposed in a State if the government is not being run according to the provisions of the Constitution. State whether any of the following conditions are a fit case for imposition of President’s rule in the State. Give reasons.
1. Two members of the State legislative assembly belonging to the main opposition party have been killed by criminals and the opposition is demanding dismissal of the State government.
2. Kidnapping of young children for ransom is on rise. The number of crimes against women are increasing.
3. No political party has secured majority in the recent elections of the State Legislative Assembly. It is feared that some MLAs from the other parties may be lured to support a political party in return for money.
4. Different political parties are ruling in the State and at the center and they are bitter opponents of each other.
5. More than 2000 people have been killed in the communal riots.
6. In the water dispute between the two States, one State government refused to follow the decision of the Supreme Court.
1. This circumstance does not show the failure of constitutional machinery, hence the President’s rule cannot be declared under Article 356.
2. This circumstance does not imply failure of constitutional machinery, hence, President’s rule cannot be imposed.
3. It does not imply to impose the President’s rule.
4. Two parties are ruling in the State and at the Center is the federalism, though they may be bitter opponents to each other but it is not the situation to impose President’s rule.
5. It is a fit circumstance for the imposition of President’s rule because it has created a grave law and order problem in the state, hence, it shows the failure of constitutional machinery.
6. It is a fit position to declare President’s rule because no state can go beyond the decision of the Supreme Court and if any state is doing this it means the administration is not being carried out as per the provisions of the constitution.

Question 10.
What are the demands raised by the States in their quest for greater autonomy?
Different states and political parties have adopted different methods to demand more

  • State demanded independent sources of revenue, i.e. Punjab and Tamil Nadu for greater financial powers.
  • Demand to enjoy residual powers by the State as States feel themselves weak and feel their interests to be horned.
  • Demand to enjoy some greater powers to legislate laws on the subjects mentioned in the State list.
  • States demand autonomy on the cultural and linguistic issues.

Question 11.
Should some States be governed by special provisions? Does this create resentment among other States? Does this help in forging greater unity among the regions of the country?
Some States feel resentment among other States if some States are granted the special provision by the constitution:

  • Under Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir enjoys more autonomous powers rather than the other States.
  • Most of the special provisions pertain to the north-eastern states like Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Assam, Nagaland, etc. due to sizeable indigineous tribal population with a distinct history and culture, which they wish to retain under Article 371.
  • Even some hill States like Himachal Pradesh and some other States like Maharashtra, Goa, Sikkim, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh also enjoy some special provisons.
  • Some differences in case of division of the part of Uttar Pradesh in Uttarakhand, where the people can purchase agricultural land in Uttar Pradesh also but the people from Uttar Pradesh cannot purchase in Uttarakhand, createsresentment among the poeple.
  • Hence, the other States demand the division of power in a common manner to all.
  • This forges unity in diversity due to single citizenship and single judiciary in country.

Extra Questions Solved

Very Short Answer Type Questions

Question 1.
What is federalism?
Federalism is an institutional mechanism to accommodate two sets of politics one at the national level and the other at the regional level.

Question 2.
When and how did federation come into existence?
The federation in India has come into existence by the integration of independent princely states into British provinces.

Question 3.
Which two countries have faced the disintegration after 1970?

  • USSR (Now Russia)
  • Czecoslovakia
  • Yugoslavia
  • Pakistan

Question 4.
Mention any three federal features of the Indian Constitution.

  • Rigid Constitution
  • Written Constitution
  • Division of Powers

Question 5.
How many languages are there in India?
20 major languages and several hundred dialects.

Question 6.
How have the powers been distributed in the federation of India?
The Constitution of India has provided the various lists of powers, i.e. The central, state and concurrent list. The central list contains 97 subjects of national importance, state list (66) of state subjects and concurrent list contain 47 subjects on which both can frame laws.

Question 7.
What are the factors which make a federalism successful?

  • A written constitution.
  • An independent judiciary.
  • Cooperation and mutual trust.
  • Political parties.
  • A clear distribution of powers in various lists.

Question 3.
Mention some unitary features of the Constitution of India.

  • Division of power has gone in the favour of central government only which consists of 97 subjects in the union list.
  • Every individual living in India enjoys single citizenship, i.e. Indian only.
  • The governors of states are appointed by the President only and they remain in the office till the pleasure of central government.

Question 4.
What is the role of judiciary in federalism of India?

  • An independent judiciary has been set up to settle the disputes between the centre and the state government.
  • Judiciary enjoys the powers to resolve the disputes between the central government and the state government, if any problem arises on legal matters and division of powers.

Short Answer Type Questions

Question 1.
Justify that Constitution of India is a combination of federal and unitary forms of government.
The Constitution of India is federal in form but unitary in spirit because it possesses the following provisions:

  • The distribution of powers between the centre and the state has been made very clear through various lists.
  • The independent judiciary is known as the guardian of the constitution to determine either the laws implemented are in the limit of constitution or not.
  • The constitution of India is rigid on the one hand but flexible also on the other hand as per provisions made for amendments.

Question 2.
Mention some features of federal government.
Federal form of government is the distribution of powers between the center and state and to let it work under their own spheres without any under interference:

  • There are two sets of polities—one at the national level and the other at the regional level. And every government is autonomous in its own spheres.
  • It combines the national unity along with the autonomy of local bodies.
  • It works as a custodian to the weaker states to protect them from stronger states.
  • An independent judiciary has been set up to settle the disputes.
  • A written constitution contains the details of proper distribution of powers and is the supreme in India.
  • Hence, federal government establishes unity in diversity which accommodates all the diversities in it.

Question 3.
Can Union Parliament frame laws on the subjects mentioned in the state list? Explain.
Yes, Union Parliament or central government can frame the laws on the subjects mentioned in the state list in the following circumstances:

  • If any subject has been referred to the central government as the subject of national importance by Rajya Sabha through a resolution passed by 2/3 majority of members present and voting.
  • Under Article 252, if two or more states desire to frame laws by the central government.
  • In case, if emergency is imposed due to war and external or internal aggression or President’s rule has been declared in the state.
  • Also, in order to implement some international treaty or convention, etc.

Question 4.
Explain the financial relations between the union and the states.

  • Some certain taxes are levied by center and collected by the state, i.e. stamp duty and the taxes on production of medicines, etc.
  • Taxes are levied and collected by the parliament but are distributed among the states, i.e. terminal taxes, taxes on interstate trade and commerce and duties on succession of property other than agricultural land.
  • Certain taxes are levied and collected by the center but these are distributed between the center and the state both, i.e. income tax.
  • Article 273 contains the provisions regarding the grants provided to the states by the central government, out of consolidated fund of India. The states of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Oidssa have been given grants in lieu of export duty on jute and jute products as well.
  • A finance commission is appointed by the President of India after every five years which makes recommendations on the financial matters to be referred by the President.

Passage-Based Questions

Passage 1.
Read the passage (NCERT Textbook, page 169) given below carefully and answer the questions that follow:

Broadly, two types of disputes keep recurring. One is the border dispute. States have certain claims over territories belonging to neighbouring States. Though language is the basis of defining boundaries of the States, often border areas would Jiave populations speaking more than one language. So, it is not easy to resolve this dispute merely on the basis of linguistic majority. One of the long standing border disputes is the dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka over the city of Belgaum. Manipur and Nagaland too, have a long-standing border dispute. The carving out of Haryana from the erstwhile State of Punjab has led to dispute between the two States not only over border areas, but over the capital city of Chandigarh. This city today houses the capital of both these States. In 1985, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi reached an understanding with the leadership of Punjab. According to this understanding, Chandigarh was to be handed over to Punjab. But this has not happened yet.

1. Mention any two types of disputes between states.
2. On v/hich city have Maharashtra and Karnataka a dispute?
3. Name the leader who reached an agreement/understanding with Punjab and when.
4. What was the agreement?
1. Border dispute
Sharing of river water
2. Belgaum
3. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985.
4. To hand over Chandigarh to Punjab.

Passage 2.
Read the passage (Textbook, page 171) given below carefully and answer the questions that follow:

Most of the Muslim majority States joined Pakistan but J&K was an exception. Under these circumstances, it was given much greater autonomy by the Constitution. According to Article 370, the concurrence of the State is required for making any laws in matters mentioned in the Union and Concurrent lists. This is different from the position of other States. In the case of other States, the division of powers as listed through the three lists automatically applies. In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the central government has only limited powers and other powers listed in the Union List and Concurrent List can be used only with the consent of the State government. This gives the State of Jammu and Kashmir gTeater autonomy.

1. Under which Article of constitution, J&K has been considered exceptional?
2. What is this exception?
3. How does J&K exercise this autonomy?
1. Article 370

2. The state of Jammu and Kashmir enjoys some greater autonomy than other states.

3. In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the central government has only limited powers and other listed in union list and concurrent list can be used only with the consent of state government.

Long Answer Type Questions

Question 1.
Legislative powers have been distributed between the central and state government. Justify.
Legislative relations between the central and state government have been distributed through the various lists, i.e. the union list, state list and concurrent list:
1. The union list:

  • The union list contains 98 subjects after 42nd amendment, (Previously had 97)
  • On these, subjects, only central government can frame or implement laws.
  • These subjects are of national importance and equally applicable to citizens of India.
  • Its examples are defence, foreign affairs, railways, peace and war, communication, etc.

2. The state list:

  • This list contains 66 subjects after 42nd amendment (Previously were 62)
  • On these subjects, only states can legislate the laws.
  • These subjects are of state importance.
  • Its examples are police, education, public health, law and order, local-self government, etc.

3. Concurrent list:

  • This list contains 52 subjects after 42nd amendment. (Previously were 47)
  • Both the central and state governments can implement laws the subjects.
  • Its examples are marriage, divorce, electricity, price control, etc.

4. Residuary powers:
To make the center very strong, the residuary powers have been given to the central government only.

5. Union government can implement laws on the subjects of state list:

  • At the resolution of Rajya Sabha by 2/3 majority which has declared any subject of national importance.
  • If two or more states request the union government to enact law on particular subject.
  • If emergency has been proclaimed either on the basis of failure of constitutional machinery or war, external or internal aggression and armed revolt.

Question 2.
What is the administrative relationship between the central and state government in India? Explain.

  • The central government is empowered to give directions to the state government if it feels that any law has become a hindrance in the functioning of central government of any law has not been executed very well.
  • The governors of the states are appointed by the central government only who works as an agent between the centre and the state. The governor informs about the functioning of the state to the central government, and council of ministers reserves the right to remove him also.
  • The parliament establishes an inter-state council also to enquire into the inter-state disputes, to submit recommendations, and to consider the common interest.
  • If an emergency is proclaimed, due to external or internal aggression or war or failure of constitutional machinary, all the powers are vested into the hands of central government to implement the laws on the subjects mentioned in the state list.

Picture-Based Questions

1. Read the cartoon (Textbook, page 165) given below and answer the questions that follow:
NCERT Solutions for Class 11 Political Science Chapter 7 Federalism Picture Based Questions Q1
1. Identify the person making an appeal.
2. What appeal is being made by him?
3. What message does the cartoon convey?
1. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru

2. To show greater tolerance towards other languages also.

3. Autonomy demands may be related to cultural and linguistic issues because some states feel that there is a domination of Hindi speaking areas over others.

2. Read the cartoon (NCERT Textbook, page 167) given below and answer the questions that follow:
NCERT Solutions for Class 11 Political Science Chapter 7 Federalism Picture Based Questions Q2
1. What message does the cartoon convey?
2. How did it happen?
3. When was the states reorganization commission set up?
1. Demand for new states.

2. During the national movement, it was decided that as far as possible states would be created on the basis of common cultural and linguistic identity.