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18th June 2022 (6 Topics)

Role of the Inter-State Council

Context

To strengthen the spirit of cooperative federalism, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has asked Centre for at least three inter-state council meetings in a year.

Background

  • The Inter-State Council was established under Article 263 of the Constitution.
  • Under the Constitution states that the President may constitute such a body if a need is felt for it.
  • The Council was basically meant to serve as a forum for discussions among various governments.
  • In 1988, the Sarkaria Commission suggested the Council should exist as a permanent body, and in 1990 it came into existence through a Presidential Order.

About Inter-state Council

  • It is a mechanism that was constituted to support Centre-State and Inter-State coordination and cooperation in India.
  • Functions:
  • The main functions of the Council are inquiring into and advising on disputes between states,
  • Investigating and discussing subjects in which two states or states and the Union have a common interest and,
  • Making recommendations for the better coordination of policy and action.
  • Members of the council:
  • The Prime Minister is the chairman of the Council.
  • The members include the Chief Ministers of all states and UTs with legislative assemblies, and Administrators of other UTs and,
  • Six Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Centre’s Council of Ministers, nominated by the Prime Minister.
  • Working: The Council may meet at least thrice in a year.
  • There is also aStanding Committee of the Council.

Role of the council

  • The inter-state council is a recommendatory body that has been empowered to investigate and discuss subjects of common interest between the Union and state(s), or among states.
  • It also makes recommendations for better coordination of policy and action on these subjects, and deliberations on matters of general interest to the states, which may be referred to it by its chairman.
  • It also deliberates on other matters of general interest to the states as may be referred by the chairman to the council.

Issues regarding its working

  • Irregular meetings: The Council has met only once in the last six years — and that there has been no meeting since July 2016. 
  • Since its constitution in 1990, the body has met only 11 times.
  • Increasing centralization: Consequent decrease of state’s stand on any national matter is a cause of concern for India’s federalism.
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