Power Sharing Mechanisms: NBSE Class 10 Social Science Ch 10 MCQs

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

This article gives a brief summary for quick revision during exams, and MCQs of NBSE Class 10 Social Science Chapter 12 "Power Sharing Mechanisms in Democracy".


Chapter summary
MCQs: Exercise

Introduction to the chapter Power Sharing Mechanisms in Democracy

Federalism is a political system in which power is divided between the national or central government and various regional units. Each government is self-governing. Federalism allows for two sets of identities; people can belong to both the region and the country. For example, one can be both Assamese and Indian.

  1. In a federation, the national government has powers related to common national interests such as defence, foreign policy, finance, and so on.
  2. The provincial or state governments have authority over regional interests such as law and order. The central and state governments have distinct, independent, and exclusive powers.
  3. As a result, we conclude that the vertical division of power is most commonly referred to as federalism.
  4. The national or union government has real and effective powers under the unitary system. The centre can delegate some of its authority to regional levels on its own. The central government has the authority to issue orders to provincial or regional governments that are subordinate to it.
  5. Regional governments are not subordinate to the centre in a federal system, so it cannot issue orders to them. The central government has no authority over state or regional governments.
  6. Both sets of governments are individually accountable to their respective legislatures or to the people.

Features of federalism 

Different levels of government rule or administer the same citizens, but each has its own jurisdiction in matters of administration, taxation, and legislation.

  1. The existence and authority of each tier of government are guaranteed by the Constitution. The Constitution clearly states the powers and functions of various levels of government.
  2. Any level cannot unilaterally amend or modify fundamental features of the Constitution. It necessitates the legal approval of both levels of government.
  3. There is an independent judiciary to settle disputes between the centre and the regional units to prevent conflicts. The courts have been given the authority to settle disputes over power distribution. The final and supreme interpreter of the laws of the land is the highest court of the land (in our case, the Supreme Court).
  4. Financial autonomy of various tiers of government is ensured by allocating distinct sources of revenue to each tier, though in the case of India, the states are heavily reliant on the centre for finance.

Objectives and formation of a federal government

An ideal federal system is based on the mutual trust of the constituent units of the federation and their agreement to coexist while adhering to the constitutional provisions.

  1. A federal government's two main goals are: (i) to protect and promote a country's unity and integrity; and (ii) to promote economic growth. (ii) To account for regional differences.
  2. However, depending on the historical context of the federation's formation, the balance of power between the central and state governments is slightly skewed towards the former or the latter. Federations have been formed from either 'below' or 'above.'
  3. The first route entails the joining of independent states or constituents to form a larger unit. By pooling their sovereignty while retaining their identity, they hoped to increase their security and accelerate their development. For example, the thirteen states of America initially formed a federation known as the United States of America.
  4. The second way a federation is formed is when a large country decides to divide power between the centre and states or constituent units. This is referred to as 'holding together' federations. This category includes India, Spain, and Belgium.

The Indian Federation

The Constitution of India established India as a Union of States. Although the term "federation" was not used or specified, the Indian Union is founded on federalist principles.

  1. Originally, the Constitution established two levels of government: one at the national level and one at the state level. Panchayats and Municipalities were later added as a third tier of government. As we will see, each tier has a unique set of abilities.
  2. The Constitution makes clear provisions for the subjects on which the federal and state governments can pass legislation. This clearly defines the division of powers between the federal and state governments. They are organised into three lists of subjects: the Union List, the State List, and the Concurrent List.
  3. The Union List includes subjects of national interest. This list includes, for example, defence, foreign policy, atomic energy, banking, post, and telegraph. Only the central government has the authority to enact legislation on the topics covered in this list.
  4. The State List is a list of important subjects on which state governments can pass legislation. This list includes topics such as police, local government, state trade and commerce, and agriculture.
  5. The Constitution includes the third list of subjects that are shared by the federal and state governments. In normal circumstances, both can enact laws on these topics. However, if a Central law and a State law conflict over a subject on the Concurrent List, the Central law takes precedence. This includes topics such as criminal and civil procedure, marriage and divorce, education, economic planning, trade unions, and so on.
  6. Subjects that do not fall into one of the above three categories are classified as 'residuary,' and only the Union Government has the authority to enact legislation on them.

Working of federalism in India

B.R. Ambedkar, who moved for the Draft Constitution to be considered in the Constituent Assembly, stated that both the Union and the States are created by the Constitution, and both derive their respective authority from the Constitution. In its own field, one is not subordinate to the other; the authority of one is to coordinate with that of the other.

  1. The clearly laid out provisions in the Constitution are one of the reasons for Indian federalism's success. But that isn't nearly enough. The federal experiment has been successful over the last sixty-eight years, owing primarily to the nature of democratic politics in our country.
  2. Jawaharlal Nehru and his cabinet colleagues had a strong belief in democratic political ideals. They carefully cultivated these ideals. Since the liberation struggle, we have shared ideals such as federalism, unity in diversity, and the desire to live together.

Creation of linguistic states

The case for establishing linguistic states as administrative units was compelling. Language is inextricably linked to culture, and thus to people's customs.

  1. Province boundaries in pre-I947 India had been drawn haphazardly as the British conquest of India had lasted nearly a century. The majority of provinces were multilingual and multicultural. This eventually led to the demand for the establishment of linguistic states following independence.
  2. The States Reorganization Commission was established in 1954, and it recommended the establishment of linguistic states. The reorganization of some states occurred in 1956. This marked the beginning of the formation of linguistic states, a process that is still ongoing.

Language and power-sharing mechanisms in democracy 

During the first twenty years of independence, the language issue was the most divisive. People adore their native tongue. It's an important part of their culture. India is thought to have 1,652 mother tongues, 29 of which are spoken by over a million people.

  1. The issue of a national language was resolved when the framers of the Constitution essentially accepted all of India's major languages as "languages of India."
  2. No single language has been designated as a national language. Despite the fact that the central government continues to encourage and promote the use of Hindi for official purposes, no state has been forced to use it.
  3. Each state has its own official and associate languages. All official work is done in the state's official language, which is also the mother tongue of the majority of the people in the state.

Centre-State relations 

The federalism in India has been strengthened by the Centre and the states adhering to the letter and spirit of the Constitution. To maintain a cordial relationship, the ruling parties and their leaders at both levels of government have demonstrated remarkable sagacity and wisdom.

  1. For several decades following independence, the government at the Centre and in the majority of states belonged to the same party, the Congress. As a result, the relationships were clearly cordial, efficient, and normal. However, after the rise of regional parties such as the DMK in Tamil Nadu, the TDP in Andhra Pradesh, and the Akali Dal in Punjab, relations between the Centre and the States became strained.
  2. The central government abused Article 356 by imposing President's rule in a state and dismissing state governments controlled by opposing parties. Naturally, this undermined the spirit of federalism.
  3. Because the central government was invariably controlled by one national party - Congress - the regional parties, which were few, were unable to galvanise their power.
  4. One of the reasons for the rise of new regional parties in many states of the country was the decline in popularity of the Congress Party after 1990. At the Centre, this marked the beginning of an era of coalition governments. In the Lok Sabha, no single party received a majority.
  5. To form a government at the Centre on the basis of a common minimum programme, the single-largest party had to form an alliance with regional parties. Regional parties clearly grew in stature and power.
  6. As a result, a culture of power-sharing and respect for state governments, which were frequently led by regional parties, developed.

Decentralisation in India

A vast country like India, with regional problems and resource disparities, required a third tier of government at the local level known as local self-government. It was necessary to devolve some powers from the Central and State governments to panchayats and municipalities. Decentralization occurs when power is transferred from the federal and state governments to autonomous local self-government.

  1. Several Indian states are larger than independent European countries. For example, Uttar Pradesh is larger than Russia in terms of population, and Maharashtra is larger than Germany. For administrative efficiency, a state had to delegate some powers to local self-governments.
  2. Many issues and problems are best resolved at the local level because they may differ in different localities within the same state.
  3. People at the local level have a better understanding of local problems and solutions. They have innovative and better ideas for allocating funds and managing resources.
  4. Democracy is strengthened at the grassroots level when local people directly participate in governance processes.

Establishment of local governments

National leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru emphasised the importance of establishing local self-government. The government is directed by Article 40 of the Directive Principles of State Policy to establish village panchayats as units of self-government.

  1. The Community Development Programme of 1952 was the first step. In the rural areas, a three-tiered Panchayati Raj system of local government was established.
  2. However, at first, these local bodies lacked the necessary powers and functions to oversee local development. They were financially dependent on the state and federal governments.
  3. Elections to these local governments were not held on a regular basis, resulting in a concentration of power in the hands of a few people for several years. Local governments lacked the authority and resources to govern themselves.

Rural local bodies

All states now have a three-tiered Panchayati Raj structure. The 'Gram Panchayat' is at the bottom, the 'Panchayat Samiti' is in the middle, and the 'Zila Parishad' is at the top, covering the entire district. A Panchayat Samiti is formed when a few Gram Panchayats band together. All panchayat members in that area vote to elect its members. The Zila Parishad is made up of all the Panchayat Samitis in a district.

  1. The majority of its members are elected. Members of the Lok Sabha and MLAs from that district are also members of the group. The Zila Parishad chairperson is Zila Parishad's political leader. There is also a provision mandating the formation of Gram Sabhas. A Gram Sabha is made up of all adult members who are registered to vote in the Panchayat area.
  2. A Gram Panchayat governs each village or group of villages. This council is made up of panchas and a sarpanch. They are chosen by the adult population of a village. The Gram Sabha oversees the operation of the Gram Panchayat. It approves Gram Panchayat's budget and evaluates its performance.

Urban local bodies

Municipal Councils govern smaller urban areas, while Municipal Corporations govern larger urban areas. A Municipal Corporation is the highest level of local government in each large urban area.

  1. In India, there are approximately 70 Municipal Corporations. They are in charge of topics such as urban planning, economic and social development, road and bridge construction and maintenance, water supply, public health, and sanitation.
  2. The Municipal Council is led by one of its elected members, known as the President, who is assisted by a Vice President. The Council members are in charge of the functions (18 items or subjects) added to the 12th schedule by the 74th amendment.
  3. Regular elections for local government bodies are required by the constitution.
  4. Seats in elected bodies and executive heads of these institutions are reserved for members of the weaker sections of society, such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
  5. Women are allocated roughly one-third of all seats.
  6. Each state has established an independent body called the State Election Commission to oversee panchayat and municipal elections.
  7. State governments must share authority and revenue with local governments. The nature of sharing differs from one state to the next.
  8. Every five years, the State Finance Commission examines the financial position of the state's local governments. It also examines the distribution of revenues between the state and local governments, as well as between rural and urban local governments. This procedure ensures that adequate funds are allocated to rural local governments.
  9. Adivasi rights are protected by a separate Act passed in 1996. This Act protects the Adivasi local traditions, in keeping with the spirit of diversity and decentralisation. It safeguards Adivasi rights to manage their own resources in traditional ways.
  10. All three levels of Panchayati Raj are directly elected by the people for a five-year term. If it is dissolved before the end of five years, new elections must be held within six months.
  11. The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act of 1992 transferred to Panchayats 29 subjects that were previously on the state list of subjects. These have been incorporated into the Constitution's Eleventh Schedule.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs): Exercise

1. Which form of power-sharing is most commonly referred to as federalism?

Answer: (c) Division of power among various communities

2. When was the report of the States Reorganisation Commission implemented?

Answer: (a) 1956

3. The Gram Sabha supervises the functioning of

Answer: (b) Gram Panchayat

4. The rights of the Adivasis are protected by a separate Act passed in

Answer: (d) 1996

5. The Concurrent List has

Answer: (a) 47 subjects

Post a Comment