Daily Current Affairs – 19th July, 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 19th July, 2016

Indian federalism needs the Inter-State Council

Background

  • 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

For example

  • 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

Sarkaria Commission

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)

Inter-State Council

Composition:

  • Chairman: Prime Minister
  • Members:
  • 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

Mandate:

  • 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.

ISC, 2016:

  • 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

Tax devolution:

  • 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.

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