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Inter-State Relations in India

Inter-State Relations in India

Inter-State relations in India refer to the relationships and interactions between the federal units-  states and union territories of India. 

  • Under the Indian ConstitutionPart XI deals with Administrative relations, and Part XIII deals with trade and commerce. 
  • The relationship between the states in India is cooperative, with the states working together to implement national policies and programs and to address issues of common concern. 
  • However, there can be tensions between the states on certain issues, such as the distribution of resources, allocation of funding, etc.
  • The successful functioning of the Indian federal system depends not only on the harmonious relations and close cooperation between the Centre and the States but also between States inter se.

Hence Constitution makes the following provisions with regard to inter-state comity or harmony:

  1. Adjudication of inter-state water disputes.
  2. Mutual recognition of public acts, records, and judicial proceedings.
  3. Freedom of inter-state trade, commerce, and intercourse.

In addition, the zonal councils have been established by the Parliament to promote interstate cooperation and coordination.

Constitutional provisions pertaining to Inter-State relations in India

  • Article 261: Full faith and credit shall be given throughout the territory of India to public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of the Union and of every state.
  • Article 262: Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution, or control of the waters of, or in, any Inter-State river or river valley.
  • Article 263: It provides for the resolution of disputes and differences between states through the establishment of an Inter-State Council.
  • Articles 301 to 307: Part XIII of the constitution deals with the trade, commerce, and Intercourse within Indian territory.

Why is a harmonious Inter-State relationship essential? 

  • National unity and integration: Harmonious Inter-State relations are essential for maintaining national unity and ensuring the smooth functioning of the country as a single entity.
  • Economic development: Inter-State cooperation is necessary for the economic development of the country, as it allows for the free flow of goods, services, and people across state boundaries. 
  • Maintaining law and order: Inter-State cooperation is crucial for maintaining law and order, as it enables states to work together to combat crime and terrorism and to ensure the safety and security of citizens. 
  • Resolving disputes: It helps to resolve disputes between states and prevent conflicts from escalating. This is particularly important in a federal system like India, where states have a high degree of autonomy.

Inter State Council:

  • Origin: It is a mechanism that was form to support Centre-State and Inter-State coordination and cooperation in India
  • Article 263: The Inter-State Council was establish under Article 263 of the Constitution, which states that the President may constitute such a body if a need is felt for it
  • Objective: The Council is basically meant to serve as a forum for discussions among various governments.
  • Sarkaria Commission: In 1988, the Commission suggested the Council should exist as a permanent body, and in 1990 it came into existence through a Presidential Order.

Composition of Inter State Council

  • The Prime Minister serves as the Council’s chair.
  • The chief ministers of all states
  • All union territory chief ministers with Legislative Assemblies
  • Governors of states governed by the President; administrators of union territories without legislative authority
  • Six members of the central cabinet, including the minister of the home, is to be proposed by the prime minister.
  • The Prime Minister, who serves as the Council’s chairman, has the authority to propose five ministers of cabinet rank or ministers of state (independent charge) to the Council as permanent invitees.

Functions of Inter-State Council

  • Investigating and offering guidance regarding potential issues between the States.
  • Create a solid institutional foundation for cooperative federalism in the nation. And by holding regular meetings, activate the council and zonal councils.
  • It looks at and talks about issues that interest all the states in the union.
  • It makes recommendations on any such topic for better policy concerning that topic.
  • Creates a sound system to track the application of the recommendations they make.
Inter-State Relations

Significance of the Inter-State Council

  • Essential preliminary step in a decentralized polity with significant interaction between government levels.
  • Resolves disputes and conflicts between two governments, contributing to conflict resolution.
  • Serves as a platform for conversation and debate, increasing accountability of central and state governments.
  • Provides an ideal environment for discussing people’s needs, addressing issues, and making beneficial decisions.
  • Bridges trust gap between federal government and states, functioning as a safety valve and trust builder.
  • Carries constitutional support, unlike platforms like NITI Aayog, giving states stronger grounding.
  • Gains importance with multiple political parties leading federal government and states, allowing states to voice concerns.
  • Acts as a medium for building trust between administrative units, similar to interactions between states, centre, and union territories.

Read Also: Recommendations On Centre-State Relations

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