Indian Constitution, significant provisions and basic structure- Cooperative Federalism
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
Indian federalism needs the Inter-State Council
Art 263 contemplates the establishment of an Inter-State Council to effect coordination between the states and between Centre and states.
The President can establish such a council if at any time it appears to him that the public interest would be served by its establishment.
Thus, Inter-state Council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the States of the Union
1952- Invoked first time by President through notice to establish the Central Council of Health under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister of Health and Family Planning
1954- President established the Central Council for Local Government and Urban Development
1968- President established four Regional Councils for Sales Tax and State Excise Duties
However, National Development Council established in 1952 does not come under constitutional definition of Inter-State Council as it was formed by an executive order.
Though there existed annual conferences of Chief Ministers, Finance Ministers, Labour Ministers etc., the Administrative Reforms Commission (1969) felt the ‘need for a single’ standing body which could
Discuss all issues of national importance
Advise on such issues authoritatively after taking all aspects of the problem into account
ARC views were endorsed by Commission on Centre-State Relations (Sarkaria Commission)
Sarkaria Commission (1983–87) made a strong case for the establishment of a permanent Inter-State Council
Government accepted the recommendation and in 1990, under Art 263 of the Indian Constitution, established the Inter-state Council (ISC)
Chairman: Prime Minister
Chief Ministers of all states
Chief Ministers of Union Territories having a Legislative Assembly and Administrators of UTs not having a Legislative Assembly
Union Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Union Council of Ministers nominated by the Prime Minister
Under: Ministry of Home Affairs
Investigating and discussing such subjects of common interests between some/all states and between Union and state/s
Making recommendations upon any such subject
Deliberating upon such other matters of general interest to the States as may be referred by the Chairman to the Council.
Why in news?
The 11th Inter-State Council meeting organised in July 2016 was convened after 10 years
Prime Minister of India chaired the Council in presence of the Chief Ministers, Lieutenant-Governors of the Union Territories and 17 Union Ministers who are members of the Inter-State Council.
Intelligence sharing between states and union
Countering Internal security challenges
Adequate financial resources to states to implement government schemes
CAMPA amendment to disburse Rs. 40,000 crore to states
Sharing with states- the revenue generated from auction of natural resources
Imparting Skill education
Pan- India coverage of Aadhar
DBT for providing subsidies, benefits and public services
Chief Ministers speak
Adventurism by Governors:
Recent crisis in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand project the status of centre-state relations
Centre and state having different ruling parties tend to have frictional relation through the Governor.
Punchhi commission’s recommendation to be implemented after discussion and consensus between centre and states.
Shifting subjects from state list to concurrent list:
Education and forests have been shifted
Centre should extensively consult states and offer more flexibility in legislation
Acceptance of 14th FC recommendation to allocate 42% of the tax pool from 32% was well received, for the most part
The GST is expected to change the scenario even more once implemented
States want centre to take their views into consideration as it is matter of constitutional amendment as well as financial stability of the state.
Importance of ISC
Bridge trust deficit between centre and states
If the platform is not a problem solver, it atleast acts as a safety-valve
ISC has constitutional backing which gives states a strong footing that is essential to build the atmosphere of confidence in calibrating centre-state relation.
NITI Aayog’s Governing Council
Similar to ISC composition to address centre- state issues
Prime minister, chosen Cabinet ministers and chief ministers
NITI Aayog is by executive decision
Punchhi Commission (2007)
GoI constituted another Commission on Centre-State Relations in 2007
Objective: To look into the new issues of Centre-State relations keeping in view the changes that have been taken place in the polity and economy of India since the Sarkaria Commission.
Submitted report in 2010
Recommendations relating to legislative relations, administrative relations, role of Governors, emergency provisions, financial relations, economic and social planning, Panchayati Raj institutions, sharing of resources including inter-state river water etc.
To be substantially strengthened and activised as the key player in intergovernmental resolutions
Must meet at least thrice in a year on an agenda evolved after proper consultation with States.
Issues of governance must as far as possible be sorted out through the political and administrative processes rather than pushed to long drawn adjudication in the Court.
Such strongly it projects the importance of ISC that it commented –
Once ISC is made a vibrant, negotiating forum for policy development and conflict resolution, the Government may consider the functions for the National Development also being transferred to the ISC.
Fixing Governors’ tenures
Mandatory consultation of chief ministers before the appointment of Governors
Choosing individuals who have been outside active politics for at least a couple of years.
There are many challenges of maintaining a federation. The Solution is periodic debates and discussions.
Post liberalisation too, centralised nature of economy was visible. Today, the new government has shown its inclination towards federalist vision with emphasis on decentralizing decision making and encouraging state competition
The centre has also hinted at discussing and implementing some of Punchhi Committee recommendations which broadly fall under legislative, administrative and financial heads
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had described India and its states as “one integral whole, its people a single people living under a single imperium derived from a single source”
Thus, Centre-state relation should be harmonised as disruption created by constant altercating situations impose heavy administrative and economic costs on the states affected.
Connecting the dots
Inter-state Council remains the best venue to address various issues concerning national development. Elaborate
Environment and Ecology, Bio diversity – Conservation, environmental degradation, environmental impact assessment, Environment versus Development
Issues relating to e-wastes
We need a smart way of dealing with e-waste
What is e-Waste?
e-Waste is technically all waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) discarded without the intent of reuse.
It’s all around us—in the form of discarded microwaves, toaster, television sets, mobile phones, air-conditioners, computers, printers, etc.
It is one of the fastest growing waste streams in both developed and developing countries.
What is Smart City?
A ‘smart city’ is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability.
It is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents.
There are many technological platforms involved, including but not limited to automated sensor networks and data centres.
Smart Cities will use technology. And the technology will use hardware which will eventually become e-waste.
The United Nations University (UNU) has calculated that about 42 million tons of e-waste was generated globally in 2014. And between 2014 and 2017, we will have a 36% rise in e-waste globally.
India is estimated to be the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world.
Mumbai is the highest generator of e-waste with 96,000 tonnes per annum,
Delhi at second with 67,000 tonnes and
Bengaluru at third with 57,000 tonnes per year
Poor handling of wastes: a big concern
Estimates are that only about 15% of all e-waste globally is recycled. This probably means that only 15% is recycled by formal actors.
A significant chunk is collected, dismantled and recycled by the informal sector — whose trading and work stands condemned as polluted.
Over 80% of India’s e-waste is being recycled by the informal sector.
They typically extract metals by dipping motherboards in acid vats, then burning them. They extract gold by a process that involves cyanide in a home-made furnace. These crude processes result in intense pollution.
Revised e-waste rules of 2016
The new rules issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to manage electronic waste must be implemented with firm political will to close the gap between growing volumes of hazardous trash and inadequate recycling infrastructure.
Producers and consumers of electronic goods have a responsibility under the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 to ensure proper disposal, but progress has been slow for various reasons.
Now the E-waste (Management) Rules 2016 provide several options to manufacturers — such as collection of a refundable deposit and paying for the return of goods — to meet the requirements of law.
In spite of its growing environmental footprint, sound management of electronic waste has received low priority. Urban solid waste management policy has focussed on cleaning streets and transferring garbage to landfills, ignoring the legal obligation to segregate and recycle. Hazardous materials, including heavy metals, are dumped in garbage yards, polluting soil and water.
The new rules have positive measures in this regard:
they classify mercury-laden light bulbs as e-waste, which will keep them out of municipal landfills.
Bulk consumers have to file annual returns (another welcome move).
An awareness campaign on e-waste will make it easier to implement the rules. Often, consumers do not let go of defunct gadgets. Several Indian households also stock e-waste items.
The success of the new rules will depend on incentivising such consumers to enter the formal recycling channel using the producer-operated buy-back scheme.
They will come on board when the repurchase offer is better than that of the unorganised sector and a collection mechanism is available.
The Centre and the States have a responsibility to ensure that producers contribute to the e-waste management system, which has been designed with their inputs.
The collection targets, that will touch 70 per cent in seven years, are realistic. A healthy environment demands that the targets get more ambitious.
The way ahead:
A smart city—most are existing cities that will be upgraded—should plan to formalize the space, and train the workers there—most of whom will be traders and dismantlers—to work safely.
It can license them to work in a cluster, if they adhere to safety standards and keep paper work to show they are sending the e-waste they are buying to authorized recyclers.
In this way, not only will the authorities know more about the e-waste flows in their city, but they can also monitor
This will need small loans, space and capacity building for municipal authorities themselves. Only a few cities will actually have metal extraction in the formal sector. Where they do, their work will have to be piloted with technical institutes and carefully monitored, before it is scaled up. Since data is key here, good dashboards—used and shared with the workers—will be absolutely key to an e-waste solution.
If any of the smart cities had to be given an award, it should be for how they’ve used tech and IT to solve the challenges that all other cities struggle with—pollution, waste, jobs, youth and above all, shifting from a linear to a circular economy that makes for sustainability.
Connecting the dots:
Recently the Ministry of Environment and Forests has issued new norms regarding management of e-waste. Discuss the significance of these rules.
India is estimated to be the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world and over 80% of India’s e-waste is being recycled by the informal sector. In your opinion, what strategies can be taken to avoid the above concerns? Discuss.