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Inter-state council

Published: 25th Jun, 2022


  • Interstate council
  • About Interstate council
  • Major objectives
  • Importance
  • Major issues


Tamil Nadu CM has urged the central government to increase the frequency of Inter-state council meetings to strengthen the spirit of cooperative federalism.


  • The Constitution of India provides for a polity, which clearly defines spheres of authority between the Union and the States to be exercised in the fields assigned to them. 
  • Consistent with this, the Constitution has made an elaborate distribution of powers between the Union and the States in the areas of legislative, administrative and financial powers. 
  • The Union Government, constituted a Commission in 1988 under the Chairmanship of Justice S. Sarkaria to review the working of the existing arrangements between the Union and the States. 
  • One of the important recommendations of Sarkaria Commission was for establishing a permanent Inter-State Council as an independent national forum for consultation with a mandate well defined in accordance with Article 263 of the Constitution of India.


What is Inter-state Council?

  • This is an established mechanism "to support coordination and cooperation between nations and between Indian nations".
  • The Interstate Council was established in accordance with Article 263 of the Constitution, which states that the President may establish such an institution if the need
  • The council is basically intended to serve as a forum for discussions between different

Important role

  • The Intergovernmental Council is a counselling body empowered to study and discuss common concerns between federal and states, or between
  • There are also recommendations for better coordination of policies and actions on these subjects, as well as advice on general concerns for the State, which may be delegated by the Chair.
  • It also considers other matters of general interest to the State that the Chair may refer to the
  • TheCouncil can meet at least three times a year. There is also a standing committee of the

What are the major objectives of the Council?

  • Spirit of Cooperative federalism: Establish a strong institutional framework to promote and support national cooperative federalism and revitalize councils and zone councils by organizing regular meetings. 
  • Facilitates discussions by the Zone Council and the Interstate Council on all pending and new issues of interstate and interstate relations.
  • Develop a robust system to monitor the implementation of the recommendations they make.

Why this Council matters?

  • The ISC is the only multilateral central national forum that operates directly within the framework of the Constitution (Articles 263 (b) and (c)), issues such as GST, disaster management, terrorism, internal security, etc. 
  • ISC's constitutional approval puts the state on a stronger foundation. This is an essential element in building the collaborative atmosphere needed to coordinate relations between the The 
  • Council helps fill the lack of trust between the center and the If it wasn't always the problem solver, it at least acted as a safety valve.

What are the major challenges and issues?

  • Advisory in nature: Studying and discussing issues of common interest to some or all states or central governments is the only advisory body. 
  • Non-permanent body; on President’s discretion: The Intergovernmental Council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the state and the central government. Rather, the president can appoint him whenever he thinks it is in the public interest to establish such a council. The 
  • Interstate Council is to meet three times a year. The Inter-governmental Council has held only 12 meetings since its inception in 1990. Ten years have passed between the 10th meeting in 2006 and the 11th meeting in 2016, and the board reunited in November 2017.
  • ISC also needs a Secretary-General to make regular meetings more fruitful. 


Inter-State Council is a recommendatory body with duties to investigate and discuss the subjects of common interest between the Union and State(s) or among the States, making recommendations particularly for better coordination of policy and action on these subjects and deliberating upon such other matters of general interest to the States which may be referred to it by its Chairman. The Council also deliberates upon such other matters of general interest to the States as may be referred by the Chairman to the Council.


Q1) What is the Inter-State Council? Do you think Inter-State Council helps in strengthening the spirit of cooperative federalism? Justify your answer

Q2) Discuss how Inter-State Council act as tool for cooperation and coordination among states.


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