- The Inter-State Council is an Indian constitutional body set up on the basis of provisions in Article 263 of the Indian Constitution.
- The body was formed by a Presidential order dated 28 May 1990 on the recommendations of Sarkaria Commission.
- It is a recommendatory body related to Inter-State, Centre-State and Centre-UTs relations.
Why was it Formed?
- Sarkaria Commission was actually established for the recommendations on the Centre-State relations that how the Centre-State relations can be better-off.
- So they made a strong case for the establishment of ISC under Article 263.
- They recommended that the council should be charged with the duties laid down in clauses (b) and (c) of Article 263.
- The Council has been formed to investigate or to discuss policies, subjects of common interest and disputes among states.
Aims of the Inter-State Council
- Decentralization of powers. It is even mentioned in the Indian Constitution that decentralization is important for governance purpose and for the proper implementation of the schemes/Yojana.
- More transfer of resource/funds to states. The ISC is for the betterment of the relations between the Centre-State, State-State and Centre-UT.
- Arrangements of devolution in such a way that the states can fulfil their obligations. The states can put forward their views in front of the Centre or other states and can have discussions on that particular issue.
- Advancements of loans to states should be as per the productive principle. The Government of India will provide loans to the states for their betterment.
- Deployment of armed forces in the states either on their request or otherwise.
Members of the Inter-State Council
- Prime Minister is the Chairman.
- Chief Ministers of all the States.
- Chief Ministers of all the UTs having Legislative Assemblies.
- Administrators of UTs not having Legislative Assemblies.
- Governors of States under President’s Rule. (1st amendment)
- 6 Central Cabinet Ministers including the Home Minister to be nominated by the PM.
- 5 Ministers of Cabinet rank/Ministers of State (Independent charge) nominated by the Chairman are the permanent invitees of the council. (2nd amendment)
- Set up in 1996 for the continuous consultations and processing of matters for the consideration of the Council.
Its members include:
- Home Minister as Chairman
- 5 Union Cabinet Ministers
- 9 Chief Ministers
The key functions of standing committee include:
- To monitor the implementation of decisions taken on the recommendations of the Inter-State Council.
- To process all matters relating to Centre-State Relations before they are taken up for consideration in the Inter-State Council.
- To consider any other matter referred to it by the Chairman/Interstate Council.
- The Inter-State Council is assisted by Secretariat which was set up in 1991.
- It is headed by a Secretary to the Government of India.
- It closely monitors the implementation of the recommendations made by the Inter-State Council and places the Report (regarding all the actions taken in that particular matter) before the Standing Committee/Council for consideration.
- It also works as a Secretariat of the Zonal Councils since 2011.
Why was Inter-State Council in News Recently?
- 12th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Inter State Council was held in November 2017.
- The 11th meeting was held in April 2017 and 69 recommendations of the Punchhi Commission were discussed.
- Union Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh chaired the 12th meeting of the Standing Committee of the ISC to discuss the recommendations made by the Punchhi Commission on Centre-State relations.
- It is the 2nd Commission on Centre-State relations, 1st being the Sarkaria Commission.
- It was set up by the Government under the Chairmanship of Justice (Retd.) Madan Mohan Punchhi, former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India on April 27, 2007.
- It submitted its report in 2010 containing 273 recommendations in 7 volumes.
- According to the Punchhi Commission, “National Security” as a subject is not specifically listed in Union, State or Concurrent Lists. The Subject of Security has been assigned to the Union government under Article 352 and under Emergency provisions in Part 18th of the Indian Constitution. Therefore, ‘security’ is a subject in which the states and the UTs have a common interest and hence they should act in a coordinated manner.
Subjects Discussed at the 12th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the ISC
- Matters related to financial transfers from the Centre to the States.
- Goods and Services Tax.
- Structure and devolution of functions to local bodies.
- District Planning.
- Special provisions for 5th and 6th Scheduled Areas.
- Maintenance of communal harmony
- Deployment of Central Forces.
- Migration issues.
- Police reforms.
- Criminal justice system and other internal security issues
- Considered 118 recommendations contained in Volumes- 3, 4, 5 and finalized its recommendations.
- It comes under the Part 11 of the Indian Constitution.
- It provides for the establishment of an Inter-State Council.
- Provisions with respect to an ISC- If at any time it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of a Council charged with the duty of-
- a) Enquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between states
- b) Investigating and discussing the subjects in which some or all of the states or the Union and one or more of the states have a common interest
- c) Making recommendations upon any such subject and in particular, recommendations for the better co-ordination of policy and action with respect to that subject
5th and 6th Scheduled Areas
- 5th Schedule is related to the provisions relating to the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes.
- 6th Schedule related to the provisions relating to the administration and control of Tribal Areas of some of the states (comprising Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram).
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