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Tamil Nadu Govt. seeks to transfer of ‘education’ back to State List

Published: 17th Aug, 2023

Context

Recently, Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has called for transferring ‘education’ back to the State List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.

  • Education, originally a State subject, was moved to the Concurrent List by the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency.

Indian Constitution and 7th Schedule:

  • The constitutional provisions in India on the subject of the distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States are defined under several articles; the most important in this regard being specifically under Articles 245 & 246of the Constitution of India.
  • The Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India defines and specifies the allocation of powers and functions between Union & States.
  • Article 246deals with the 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution that mentions three lists named as;
    • Union List,
    • State List and
    • Concurrent List.
  • Originally there were 97 subjects in the union list but now it is 100 subjectsin the union list.
  • And in the state list, there were 66 subjects but now it is 61 subjects.
  • And in the concurrent list, there were 47 subjects but now it is 52 subjectsin the concurrent list.

Concurrent Status of Education:

  • Until 1976, education was a state subject with some provisions at the central level.

According to the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, about 5 subjects were transferred from the state to the concurrent list. they are:

  • Protection of wild animals and birds
  • Weights and measures
  • Administration of justice
  • Education
  • Forests
  • The 42nd amendment, 1976 changed the status of education by putting it on the concurrent list.
  • Making education a concurrent subject ensures that both the Centre and state can legislate on any aspect of education from primary to the university level.
  • By having education in the concurrent list, center can implement directly any policy decisions in the states.
  • So, concurrent status of education means that there is a partnership between State government and central government when it comes to Education policy making and implementation.

Status of Education:

  • Under Central/Union List: The Center has exclusive authority to legislate for the items of this list.
  • Entry 65;
    • Research centres for special studies
    • Scientific or technical assistance in the investigation of detection of crime.
    • Training of police officers, professionals, vocational or technical training
  • Entry 66;
    • Coordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.
    • Establishment of university grant commission (UGC).
  • Entry 67;
    • Under Article 49, protection of monuments and places and objects of National importance.

About Concurrent List:

The concept of ‘Concurrent List’ in the Indian Constitution has been borrowed from the Constitution of Australia.

  • Central Government and State Government both can make laws on the subjects mentioned under the Concurrent List.
  • While both Central and State governments can legislate on subjects mentioned under the Concurrent List, however, in case of any conflict, the law made by the Central Government prevails.
  • The matters on which uniformity of legislation throughout the country is desirable but not essential are enumerated in the concurrent list.

State List and Powers:

  • The state list contains items pertaining to local interests, aims and objectives.
  • The States have the right to legislate items on this List according to local preferences and objectives.

Criteria for Centre to interfere in ‘State List’:

  • Article 249 gives Parliament the power to legislate concerning a subject enumerated in the State List in the national interest.
  • Or, Parliament can legislate on subjects that are enumerated under the State List on three conditions:
    • When Rajya Sabha passes resolution
    • During a National emergency (Article 250)
    • When two or more states pass a resolution requesting Parliament to legislate on subjects under State List.
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