12th meeting of Standing Committee of Inter-State Council

The Home Minister said that a number of steps have been taken in recent years by the Central Government to promote cooperative federalism, and pointed out that meetings of the Standing Committee of the Inter-State Council are being periodically convened since July 2016 after a gap of 10 years.

The meeting will lend speed and purpose to the process of harmonizing Center-State relations.

Expressing satisfaction over the fact that the meetings of the Zonal Councils have now become regular and periodical, Singh also asked all to see that at least one meeting of all the Zonal Councils is convened annually.

He mentioned that a number of important State-to-State and Centre-State issues that are raised at these meetings find resolution.

In 2015, 82 such issues were resolved while in 2016, 140 issues were resolved.

He emphasised on promoting the spirit of cooperation with greater zest and zeal and expressed satisfaction over the deliberations held today in harmonious and congenial atmosphere for arriving at consensus on some complex issues that have been covered in the agenda notes.

Several subjects were discussed at the meeting, such as matters related to financial transfers from the Centre to the States, Goods and Services Tax (GST), structure and devolution of functions to local bodies, district planning, special provisions for Fifth and Sixth Scheduled areas, maintenance of communal harmony, deployment of central forces, migration issues; police reforms; criminal justice system and other internal security issues. (ANI)

As the article 263 makes it clear, the Inter-State Council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the States of the Union.
It is a recommendatory body. So, the decisions taken in the forum are not binding on the central government or the state governments.

Quite often the platform becomes an opportunity for scoring political brownies points and the short duration for which the Council meets makes it difficult to achieve consensus on contentious topics.

Inter-State Council

The Inter-State Council is an Indian constitutional body set up on the basis of provisions in Article 263 of the Constitution of India. The body was formed by a Presidential Order dated 28 May 1990 on the recommendation of Sarkaria Commission. The Council is formed for discussing or investigating policies, subjects of common interest, and disputes, among states.

It aims at:

  • Decentralization of powers to the states as much as possible.
  • More transfer of financial resources to the states.
  • Arrangements for devolution in such a way that the states can fulfil their obligations.
  • Advancement of loans to states should be related to as ‘the productive principle’.
  • Deployment of central armed forces in the states either on their request or otherwise.

The Council consists of:-

  • Prime Minister – Chairman
  • Chief Ministers of all States – Members
  • Chief Ministers of Union Territories having a Legislative Assembly and
  • Administrators of UTs not having a Legislative Assembly – Members
  • Six Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Union Council of Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister – Members

Article 263

Provisions with respect to an inter State Council If any any time it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of a Council charged with the duty of
(a) inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between States;
(b) investigating and discussing subjects in which some or all of the States, or the Union and one or more of the States, have a common interest; or
(c) making recommendations upon any such subject and, in particular, recommendations for the better co ordination of policy and action with respect to that subject, in shall be lawful for the President by order to establish such a Council, and to define the nature of the duties to be performed by it and its organisation and procedure PART XII FINANCE, PROPERTY, CONTRACTS AND SUITS CHAPTER I FINANCE General

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