Daily Answer Topic: Polity – Interstate Council

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  ramkumar 2 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #2039

    Dr Haroon Ashraf
    Participant

    “Quite often the Inter-State Council 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.” Discuss the characteristics of Interstate Council in India and outline the suggestions to make them more efficient in achieving organic federation.

    #2072

    liosaa
    Participant

     

    #2073

    liosaa
    Participant

     

    #2074

    RahulRasalan
    Participant

     

    #2075

    RahulRasalan
    Participant

     

    #2099

    ramkumar
    Participant

     

    #2100

    ramkumar
    Participant

     

    #2116

    Dr Haroon Ashraf
    Participant

    The eleventh meeting of the Inter-State Council (ISC) held on July 16, 2016, after a gap of 10 years came as a bolt from the blue.

    Based on the Sarkaria Commission’s recommendations, it was constituted under Article 263 of the Constitution in 1990. It proved to be crucial in the implementation of many of the commission’s 247 other recommendations, such as altering the states’ share of central taxes.

    Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Interstate Council. Chief Ministers of all the States and Union Territories having Legislative Assemblies, Administrators of Union Territories not having Legislative Assemblies, Governors of States under President’s rule and six Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Union Council of Ministers, nominated by the Chairman of the Council, are members of the Council. Five Ministers of Cabinet rank nominated by the Chairman of the Council are permanent invitees to the Council.

    Its need and significance are:-

    • In resolving the conflict of interest between centre and states by consultation and joint action.
    • It can reach a consensus on the role of Governor.
    • It can decide upon the use of article 356 and other such constitutional matters.
    • Other grievances of states like the shifting of items from state to the concurrent list can be addressed.
    • Bridge trust deficit between centre and states.
    • Decide on the devolution of funds.
    • A platform for healthy debate and discussion.
    • Judiciary can decide on matters affecting centre-state relations on a case to case basis. It results in significant administrative and financial loss as in the case of recent Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh crisis. ISC can reach a consensus on such issues beforehand so that crisis like situations does not arise.
    • Center has exclusive powers to negotiate with foreign government and funding agencies. ISC will provide a platform to bring states on board too.
    • Promote healthy competition between states.

    Inter-State Council is a recommendatory body and it investigates and discusses such subjects, in which some or all of the States or the Union and one or more of the States have a common interest, for better coordination of policy and action with respect to that subject. It also deliberates upon such other matters of general interests to the States as may be referred by the Chairman to the Council.

    Till 1967, most states in India were under the rule of a common party {Congress} and it was easier to resolve inter-state disputes. After 1967, other parties or coalitions than the one running at centre or neighbouring states started ruling. These governments with different opinions and political visions were unable to solve the disputes in inter-state problems. Setting up of this council was based on Sarkaria Commission recommendations. It was set up in 1990 but not a single meeting was held for a long time. It was only during Atal Bihari Vajpayee government tenure when the council was revived and meetings happened almost every year. However, even today, the Inter-state Council has been largely under-utilized and ignored.

    If the ISC is to be more than a talk shop, it must show that it can follow up. The ISC needs to be given all the powers contemplated in the Constitution. Clause A of Article 263, which gave the council the power to investigate issues of inter-state conflict, was dropped in the presidential ordinance establishing the ISC. It should provide greater opportunities to civil society institutions and the corporate sector to make their representations.

    Moreover, the ISC and NITI Aayog should be merged into one constitutional forum to improve the institutional participation of state governments in inter-governmental affairs. It will enhance the institutional status of the NITI Aayog by being attached to a constitutional body i.e. the ISC. Further, to make the ISC a truly federal rather than a central body, its secretariat should be shifted from the Union Home Ministry to the Rajya Sabha secretariat so that it would be under the direction of a neutral federal functionary, the vice-president of India rather than Union home minister.

    The Council should further have expert advisory bodies or administrative tribunals with quasi-judicial authority to give recommendations to the Council if and when needed.  It should have sufficient resources and authority to carry out its functions effectively and to engage civil society besides governments and other public bodies. It needs to meet regularly with adequate preparation of agenda and negotiating points and position papers from parties involved. The Secretariat of the Council may have a joint staff of the Union and States to inspire confidence and enhance coordination. Negotiation, mediation and conciliation to find common points or agreement and narrowing of differences employed in international intercourse and in judicial proceedings can usefully be cultivated in the Council Secretariat for advancing the cause of harmonious intergovernmental relations. Towards this end, the Punchi Commission recommended suitable amendments to Article 263 with a view to make the Inter-State Council a credible, powerful and fair mechanism for management of inter-state and Centre-State differences.

     

    #2117

    Dr Haroon Ashraf
    Participant

    Dear Liosaa
    In characteristics, you should have focussed more on what and how it does(Irregularity, temporary body, advisory body etc) rather than its powers and mandates because the context is set by an introduction statement in this relation. You can mention the powers and mandates, but less.

    Regarding suggestions, You have done better. But the last point, not to make mandatory for the state, is contradictory. The body is already advisory. So, there is no binding force on the decisions.

    Dear Rahul,
    You have done good in the first part but written too much in the beginning. The second paragraph has less significance as far as the question is concerned. You could have shortened it. You could have added more in recommendations to score more as that is what question is trying to focus on.

    Dear Ramkumar,
    In the introduction, you should be able to show the recent relevance as the most prominent point. Hence, perhaps elaborating the second sentence and bringing it above and sending the first sentence about composition below, would have made it better.

    You have done better in the first part of the answer. But there are some issues in the second part. Your solutions are not exactly matching with the issues like the irregularity in meetings, ignored decisions etc.
    Why only financial recommendations should be binding and that too on Finance Commission, which has a constitutionally clear mandate?
    Why can’t we leave Article 262 as it is and change only the interstate river disputes act?
    Won’t it undermine parliament if it is made a supra-governmental body?
    I feel that the element of pragmatism is missing from your recommendations. UPSC IAS examiners will focus more on pragmatism rather than on idealism in answers.

    All of you should go through the summary of Punchi Commission reccommendations and Sarkaria commission reccomendations before attempting all questions on centre state relations.

    #2153

    ramkumar
    Participant
    • Thank you sir
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