The Inter-State Council (ISC) is a constitutional body in India that facilitates cooperation and coordination between the central government (Union Government) and the state governments of India. It was established under Article 263 of the Indian Constitution, which empowers the President of India to establish an Inter-State Council to address issues of common interest to multiple states and the central government.
This body was formed on the recommendation of the Sarkaria Commission by a presidential proclamation on 28 May 1990. The Inter-State Council is a non-permanent government body.
Structure of Inter-State Council:
- Prime Minister of India (Chairman)
- Chief Ministers of all the states
- Chief Ministers of Union Territories with a legislative assembly
- Administrators of Union Territories without a legislative assembly (if applicable)
- Members of the Union Cabinet (selected by the Prime Minister)
The Standing Committee is composed of:
- Minister of Home Affairs.
- 5 cabinet ministers.
- Chief Ministers of 9 states.
Function of Inter-State Council
- Investigation and Discussion of Subjects of Common Interest: The primary function of the ISC is to investigate and discuss subjects of common interest between the Union (central government) and the states or among the states themselves. These subjects can include issues related to economic development, social welfare, security, infrastructure, resource allocation, and more.
- Recommendations: The ISC makes recommendations based on its discussions and investigations. These recommendations are non-binding but carry significant weight. They provide guidance to both the central government and state governments on how to address various issues and challenges effectively.
- Promotion of Cooperative Federalism: The ISC plays a crucial role in promoting cooperative federalism in India. It ensures that both levels of government work collaboratively and harmoniously to achieve common objectives. This is especially important in a diverse and federal country like India
Roles and Responsibilities:
Article 263 provides for the following roles and responsibilities of the Inter-State Council:
- Inquiring into and advising upon disputes between states.
- Investigating and discussing subjects in which states or the Union and one or more states have a common interest.
- Making recommendations on such subjects, especially for better policy coordination.
|Establishment||The President has the authority to establish an Inter-State Council by issuing an order|
|Objectives||Inquiring into and advising upon disputes between states.|
Investigating and discussing subjects in which some or all of the states, or the Union and one or more states, have a common interest.
Issues with Inter-State Council
- Limited Enforcement Power: The recommendations made by the ISC are not legally binding on either the central government or the state governments. This lack of enforcement power means that the council’s suggestions may not always be implemented, leading to a gap between policy intent and actual action.
- Ineffectiveness: Critics argue that the ISC has often been ineffective in resolving disputes and addressing common issues. Its recommendations are sometimes ignored, leading to prolonged disputes and delays in policy implementation.
- Political Interference: The effectiveness of the ISC can be influenced by political considerations. The council is chaired by the Prime Minister, and its functioning may be influenced by the political dynamics of the time. This can affect the impartiality and objectivity of its decisions.
- Lack of Regular Meetings: The ISC does not meet regularly, and its meetings are often infrequent. This can lead to delays in addressing pressing issues and disputes. The Council has only had 12 meetings in the past 25 years and has made little headway in resolving disputes between States.
- Inadequate Role in Legislative Matters: While the ISC can review proposed central and state legislation, its role in influencing legislative matters is limited. It cannot veto or amend legislation, which can affect its ability to prevent laws that may adversely impact states.
- Limited Scope: It may not address all state-specific concerns adequately, leading to a perception that certain states’ interests are neglected.
Inter-State Water Disputes
Inter-state water disputes refer to conflicts and disputes between two or more states over the sharing, distribution, and utilization of river water resources. These disputes often arise due to the interdependence of states on shared river basins and the need to ensure equitable access to water for various purposes, including irrigation, drinking water supply, industry, and hydropower generation.
- Constitutional Provisions: Water disputes between states are addressed in accordance with the constitutional provisions laid out in Article 262 and Article 131 of the Indian Constitution. Article 262 empowers Parliament to enact laws for the adjudication of water disputes, and it also provides for the establishment of a tribunal to resolve such disputes.
- Inter-State Water Disputes Act: The Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956 is a significant piece of legislation that provides a framework for the resolution of water disputes between states. Under this act, when a state raises a dispute regarding the use, distribution, or control of river waters, the matter can be referred to a tribunal for adjudication.
- Tribunals: The central government can set up tribunals to resolve water disputes. These tribunals typically consist of a chairman and expert members who assess the claims and counterclaims of the disputing states and issue legally binding awards based on their findings.
- Notable Disputes: India has witnessed several Inter-State water disputes over the years. Some of the most significant ones include the Cauvery River dispute (involving Karnataka and Tamil Nadu), the Krishna River dispute (involving Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra), and the Godavari River dispute (involving Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra).
Important Points: Inter-State Council
01. The Inter-State Council has met 12 times so far.
02. The first session was chaired by Prime Minister V.P. Singh (October 10, 1990).
03. The last time, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi became the President of the Inter-State Council on the 25th of November 2017.
List of Meetings of Inter-State Council
- 10 October 1990 – Vishwanath Pratap Singh
- 15 October 1996 – H. D. Deve Gowda
- 17 July 1997 – I. K. Gujral
- 28 November 1997 – I. K. Gujral
- 22 January 1999 – Atal Bihari Vajpayee
- 20 May 2000 – Atal Bihari Vajpayee
- 16 November 2001 – Atal Bihari Vajpayee
- 27–28 March 2003 – Atal Bihari Vajpayee
- 28 June 2005 – Manmohan Singh
- 12 December 2006 – Manmohan Singh
- 16 July 2016 – Narendra Modi
- 25 November 2017 – Narendra Modi
Outcome 11th Inter-State Council Meeting
- Analyzing the Centre-State Relations proposals made by the Punchhi Commission.
- Use of DBT and Aadhaar for Public Services, Benefits, and Subsidies
- Improvement of educational quality with a focus on bettering learning outcomes, motivating better performance, etc.
- Internal security with a focus on intelligence coordination and sharing to combat terrorism, and insurgency, and to implement police reforms.
FAQs: Inter-State Council
Inter-State Council: sample UPSC questions
Discuss the role of the Inter-State Council in resolving inter-state disputes. Provide examples of prominent disputes that have been addressed through the ISC.
Describe the composition and functions of the Inter-State Council. How does it contribute to better governance in India?
What is the constitutional basis for the establishment of the Inter-State Council in India? Discuss its significance in the context of cooperative federalism.
These concise notes should give you a basic understanding of the Inter-State Council, which is an important topic for UPSC exams, especially in the context of Indian federalism and governance.