The Federal Structure of India

The Federal Structure of India

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Federal Structure of India | Indian Federalism

As you have learned in the salient features of the Indian Constitution that the founding fathers of the Indian Constitution adopted a federal structure. This article takes you in brief.

The federal structure of the Indian system of governance is a three-tiered system, each having executive functions with well-assigned powers. In a federal system, the central government and the governments of the units act within a well-defined sphere where they co-ordinate and act independently. In Indian federalism, according to the Constitution of India, the Central Government is the highest executive body of India. Under the Central Government are the State government, divisions, and sub-divisions.

Federal Structure-The Federal Structure of India
The Federal Structure of India
  • The first tier consists of the Central Government is the highest executive body of India. It gives some of its powers to its constituent political units of comparatively lower powers.
  • The second tier consists of the State governments, where each state is vested with executive powers, managed by the ruling governments in each state.
  • The third tier comprises districts and sub-districts. It is the local-level governance of the Panchayats and municipalities.

Federal Structure of India

Nature

Article I of the Constitution describes India as a ‘Union of States’, where it gives States to exercise powers and it implies that States have no freedom to separate themselves from the Union. It helps to maintain the unity of the country.

The Centre appoints the governors of the State and may take over the administration of the state on the recommendations of the Governor. The Union government also appoints important personnel of the nation such as the Chief Election Commissioner, the Comptroller, and the Auditor General. In India, we have a unified Judiciary with the Supreme Court being at the apex. All the state governments are dependent on the Center.

Union Executive

Part V includes Articles 52 to 78 which deals with the Union Executive. The Union executive consists of important officials such as the president, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers, and the Attorney General of India.

President

The President is the first citizen of the Country being the head of the Indian State. Besides being the executive head of the State he is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Eligibility-

Under Article 58, a person should fulfill the following qualifications, to be eligible for election as President.

  • Mandatory to be an Indian Citizen
  • Should have completed 35 years of age
  • Should have qualified for election as a MP of Lok Sabha
  • Should not hold any office of profit under Union/State government or any public authority

Term-

The presidential term is of 5 years on the date he enters office.

Election-

The President is not directly elected by the citizens of the county but by members of an electoral college by taking into account the value of the vote of MLAs and MPs, by taking into consideration the following:

  1. The elected members of both houses of Parliament.
  2. The elected members of the legislative assemblies of the States.
  3. The elected members of the Legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi, Puducherry & Jammu and Kashmir.

Oath-

The Oath is administered by the Chief justice of India or the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court.

As mentioned in the oath, the prime duty of the president is to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and law of India.

Powers-

The president exercises the following powers:

  • Executive powers– All the executive actions of the Government of India are formally taken in the name of the President and are exercised either by him directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the constitution. He appoints the Prime Minister, the council of ministers, Chief justice, Judges of Supreme Court and High Court, the Attorney General of India, Chairman and Members of UPSC, Chief Election Commissioner and other members of EC, Governors, etc. He can seek any information regarding the administration of affairs from the Prime Minister.
  • Legislative powers– The president addresses the Parliament after the general elections. (dissolution, hold joint sessions, give assent to Bills, issue ordinance, nominations)
  • Residual powers (sign international agreements)
  • Emergency powers
  • Supreme commander of armed forces
  • Judicial powers (seek advice, grant pardon)
  • Diplomatic Powers
  • Military powers- The president is the Supreme Commander of armed forces hence he vests the supreme command of defence forces of the Union.
  • Financial powers

Vice President

The Vice president is the second-highest constitutional official and is the deputy head to the Prime Minister of the republic. He is also an officer of the legislative branch of the Union Government as the chair of the Council of State.

Article 63 states that there shall be a Vice-President of the republic who occupies the second-highest office.

Eligibility-

  • Mandatory to be an Indian Citizen
  • Should have completed 35 years of age
  • Should have qualified for election as a MP of Rajya Sabha
  • Should not hold any office of profit under Union/State government or any public authority

Term-

  • Term is of 5 years on date he enters upon the office.
  • He can resign anytime from the office by addressing the resignation letter to the President.
  • Also can be removed by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha passed by a majority and agreed by the Lok Sabha.

Election-

The President is elected by members of an electoral college by taking into account the value of the vote of MLAs and MPs, by taking into consideration the following:

  1. The elected members of both houses of Parliament.
  2. According to the system of proportional representation by means of single transferrable vote.

Oath-

Under Article 69, the oath is administered by the President.

Functions

  • The Vice President acts as the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. His functions and powers are similar to those of the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
  • He acts as the President in case of the former’s absence.
  • He can suspend or adjourn the business of the Rajya Sabha.

Prime Minister

The Prime Minister is the presiding member of the council of ministers of the Central government and is appointed by the President. He is the third-highest constitutional officer who is elected by the citizens of the country.

The Prime Minister communicates to the President all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration of affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation and information relating to them.

Legislature

The Parliament is the Union Legislature. It consists of the President and two Houses- known as Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and Lok Sabha (House of the People). Each house has to meet within six months of its previous sitting. A joint sitting of two houses can be held in specific cases. Laws enacted by legislatures are usually known as primary legislature.

Functions

It has six major functions-

  • Representation
  • Deliberation
  • Making governments
  • Legislation
  • Authorizing expenditure

Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the parliament constitutionally the Council of States. The Chairman is the Vice President of India. It consists of 238 representatives of the States and of the UTs, elected indirectly and 12 members nominated directly by the President, comprising a total of 250 members.

Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha is the lower house of the parliament. It is composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult universal suffrage. The maximum membership of the house allotted by the Constitution of India is 552 (530 MPs to represent the UTs). A total of 131 seats are reserved for representatives of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The MPs are elected for 5 years. The presiding officers are the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

Do read The National Insignia | The Constitution of India

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Arpita Choudhary
Arpita Choudhary
Passionate for writing, enjoy writing on variety of topics and I take pleasure in immersing myself in learning about new and exciting domains.

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