Article 246 of the Indian constitution is considered as the cornerstone of center-state legislative relations. Discuss.

Article 246 of the Indian constitution provides for the 7th schedule which divides various subjects of legislation into 3 lists i.e union list, state list, and concurrent list. The residuary powers are left with the union government.

7th schedule as the cornerstone of center-state relations:

  • Federation – The three lists provide for definite subjects upon which the central and state governments can legislate, i.e cooperative federalism.
  • Exhaustive List – 100 subjects in the union list, 61 in the state list, and 52 in the concurrent list.
  • Provides for clear separation and reduces ambiguity in legislation.
  • The concurrent list provides adequate flexibility to states while otherwise adhering to standardization, e.g Education, Forest, etc.
  • The union list contains subjects of national importance and also checks upon inter-state dispute avoidance, e.g Inter-state rivers, national security, etc.

Challenges & Shortfalls:

  • The central government is often accused of interfering in the state list, e.g Agriculture bills that were taken back.
  • Parliamentary legislation on state subject if Rajya Sabha passes a resolution for the same.
  • Centralization attempts, e.g 42nd constitutional amendment act added 5 subjects to the concurrent list.

Though the seventh schedule forms the backbone of Indian federal systems, it is important that inter-state relations be strengthened via more coordination and communication to reduce ambiguity & distrust.

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