Day 11 – Parliament and the State Governments – GS 2
Q.1) Examine the demand for greater state autonomy and also its impact on the smooth functioning of the Indian polity.
A very straightforward answer where you need to enumerate the various demands which are usually made for demanding greater state autonomy and then a one-line examination for each demand would suffice.
In the next part, the various impacts of such autonomy on the functioning of the Indian polity should be discussed.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Vidhu
Ans) India has been described as a quasi federal state where the power is divided between the Union and the state governments. Of late there has been a great demand for bringing greater autonomy to the states. The reasons may be:
1 Planning Commission did not become very successful . The plans worked in top down manner leaving the states to implement schemes by depending on the Centre’s help and guidance
2. There is too much dependence of the states on the Centre for funds which is 42% at present. The domain of raising revenue is lesser for states as compared to Centre
3. The domain of law making is less for states (State and concurrent list) and even then the Union can dominate
4. Presence and dominance of All India Services creates conflict between states and Centre
5. Inequalities among states in terms of social/economic development, education, infrastructure demand localized solutions for solving local problems
The impact of greater autonomy for states can be:
1 More funds for states leading to more money for development and reduction in unnecessary red tapism
2. The states will have a wider domain to make laws providing solutions for local problems.
3. States become more accountable to the people
4. This might create rationalistic tendencies among the states which might hamper national unity.
Q.2) Bring out the aberrations of the Parliamentary System of Government of India. Is it time to change to a different governmental system? Critically analyze.
Another simple question. Note that the question is not asking for the demerits of the parliamentary type of government. It is asking for what has gone wrong with the Indian Parliamentary system, and if by changing the system, these aberrations will be removed or not.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Santosh Venkatesh
Ans) India’s experiment with the parliamentary form of government started with the Charter act of 1853 and got final shape with the Constitution of India.
But there have been deviations or aberrations from the system in the following aspects
– After coalition politics came in political ideological homogeneity was lost.
– Formation of government by Minority parties with least representation of people by means of coalitions.
– Accountability of Executive to legislature – undermined by extensive use of extraordinary devices such as Ordinances, National emergencies etc.
– Autocratic tendencies of the prime minister and dictatorship of cabinet thus bringing in despotism.
– Moral deviations – criminalisation of politics, disrespect to parliamentary conventions, parliamentary disruptions and improper conduct of members.
The presidential form of government – Advantages
– Faster consensus, better efficiency, coherent, long term policies, faster decision making and hence faster development.
– Independence of executive, Legislature and Judiciary would provide better use of checks and balances.
But India is better suited for parliamentary government because
– Conflict of executive and Legislature, Unaccountability of former to latter would prove very costly of India.
– Past Indian governments have shown Resilience in taking tough decisions and consensus eg LPG reforms.
– Familiarity with parliamentary form of government.
Thus along with the above reasons the very nature of India with many religions, castes, languages demands a parliamentary form of government which is more inclusive.
Q.3) Comment on the financial relations between the Union and the States in India. Has the post-1991 liberalization in anyway affect it?
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Nishant
Ans) Two provisions govern the Centre-State financial relations in Indian federal setup:
1. Constitution : Under Article 280 Finance Commission (FC) provides for devolution of taxes between the Centre and States.
2. Extra-Constitutional : Planning Commission gives funding via Central Plan Assistance to States and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS)
In this regard, states have raised two major issues:
1. Demand for greater financial autonomy via FC devolution to meet non-plan expenditures.
2. Faulty designs of CSS and their profligation has shrunk the share of untied funds. State plans have suffered due to this.
Post 1991 Liberalization has added its own impact:
1. Naturally endowed states gained from increased investment inflow. This widened the inter-state financial divide.
2. On the positive side, improved fiscal condition gave more voice to states. Some became prominent stakeholders in regional development. Eg Tamilnadu.
3. Multiplication of CSS via increasing funds from World Bank etc.
Taking cognizance of the demands, the devolution of taxes has steadily increased from 29% in 10th FC to 42% by 14th FC. The Planning Commission has been done away with and CSS rationalized and delinked to free up funds for the States. Setting up of NITI Aayog shows Centre’s commitment to inculcate a spirit of cooperative federalism and rectify its past mistake of a unilateral policy regime.
Q.4) “The freedom of speech available to the members on the floor of the House is different fro that available to the general citizenry under Article 19.” Comment.
The basic difference between Article 19 and Article 105 is all that is needed.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – BS
Ans) The freedom of speech given to member of parliaments or citizens is an essential feature of democracy. However there are many differences between them:
1. Source: Freedom of speech to citizens comes under article 19 and to MP comes under article 105. However both are constitutionally granted.
2. Nature: Freedom of speech under 19 is a fundamental right of citizens; however that granted to MP is not a fundamental right.
3. Scope: The right for citizen extends to whole country and that for former only inside the parliament and its committees.
4. Restriction: Restriction for article 19 can be put on reasonable grounds mentioned in article 19 itself and no other ground. However the freedom granted under 105 is subject to provisions of constitution and also to rules and standing orders regulating procedures of parliament.
5. Amendment: Only a constitutional amendment can bring change in article 19. However the freedom of speech can also be affected through parliamentary rules and orders.
One other fundamental difference is freedom under article 19 facilitates expressing individual view and opinions whereas that under 105 helps to express popular views through people’s representatives. However both facilitate mass democracy.
Q.5) Constitutional mechanisms to resolve the inter-state water disputes have failed to address and solve the problems. Is the failure due to structural or process inadequacy or both? Discuss. (2013 Mains GS 2)
The Top Answer for this question is written by –Indushree
Ans) Parliament enacted the Interstate Water Disputes Act, 1956 under Art 262 to resolve interstate water disputes and River Boards Act to regulate interstate waters. The recurrent nature of water disputes, highlight structural and procedural flaws in these legislations.
1. Advices of River boards are not binding
2. Tribunals under IWDA are Ad hoc bodies set up under the discretion of Centre upon request by States. This leads to politicisation of the dispute. Ex- Cauvery Dispute between Tamilnadu and Karnataka
3. Absence of permanent mechanisms and punitive measures to enforce the decisions of tribunal makes the process ineffective.
1. Inordinate delays in setting up of tribunal, Adjudication of dispute and notification of decision in official gazette – Narmada tribunal took 9 years for resolution.
Negotiating personnel change with changes in State and central governments. This makes the process more cumbersome.
2. Absence of standard operating procedures and definition of factors influencing conflict resolution.
3. Emphasis on legal adjudication over negotiations.
While tribunals such as Godavari and Narmada have been successful, Cauvery and Ravi-Beas Awards are still disputed. IWDA Amendment Act, 2002 aimed to fix these issues by prescribing a time limit of 5 years and providing suo moto power to Centre in creation of tribunal as per Sarkaria Commission recommendations. However, these mechanisms are still marred by lack of co-ordination between the parties necessitating better definition of both structure and process for resolution.
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