Federalism Class 10 Civics Notes | Chapter 2 CBSE/NCERT by Harshdeep Sir

Class 10 Civics Chapter 2 Federalism Notes by Harshdeep Sir


Download PDF Class 10 Civics Chapter 2 Federalism Notes

Vertical division of power among different levels of government is one of the major forms of power-sharing in modern democracies.

Let's recall previous chapter______ 😁😁🤦🤦

One of the key changes made in the Constitution of Belgium was to reduce the power of the Central Government and to give these powers to the regional governments. Regional governments existed in Belgium even earlier. They had their roles and powers. But all these powers were given to these governments and could be withdrawn by the Central Government. 

The change that took place in 1993 was that the regional governments were given constitutional powers that were no longer dependent on the central government. Thus, Belgium shifted from a unitary to a federal form of government

Sri Lanka continues to be,for all practical purposes, a unitary system where the national government has all the powers. Tamil leaders want Sri Lanka to become a federal system.


Federalism is a system of government in which the power is divided between a central authority and various constituent units of the country

Usually, a federation has two levels of government


One is the government for the entire country that is usually responsible for a few subjects of common national interest

The others are governments at the level of provinces or states that look after much of the day-to-day administering of their state.

In a federal system, the central government cannot order the state government to do something. State government has powers of its own for which it is not answerable to the central government. Both these governments are separately answerable to the people


 Both these levels of governments enjoy their power independent of the other.

Federalism vs Unitary form___⚔️⚔️⚔️

federations are contrasted with unitary governments. 

Under the unitary system, either there is only one level of government or the sub-units are subordinate to the central government. The central government can pass on orders to the provincial or the local government.

Federalism Class 10 Civics Notes | Chapter 1 CBSE/NCERT

💥💥 Key Features of Federalism:___________

1. There are two or more levels (or tiers) of government.

2. Different tiers of government govern the same citizens, but each tier has its own JURISDICTION in specific matters of legislation, taxation and administration.

3. The jurisdictions of the respective levels or tiers of government are specified in the constitution. So the existence and authority of each tier of government is constitutionally guaranteed.

4. The fundamental provisions of the constitution cannot be unilaterally changed by one level of government. Such changes require the consent of both the levels of government.

5. Courts have the power to interpret the constitution and the powers of different levels of government. The highest court acts as an umpire if disputes arise between different levels of government in the exercise of their respective powers.

6. Sources of revenue for each level of government are clearly specified to ensure its financial autonomy


Financial autonomy refers to a university’s ability to decide freely on its internal financial affairs. The ability to manage its funds independently enables an institution to set and realise its strategic aims.

7. The federal system thus has dual objectives: 

Safeguard and promote unity of the country, while at the same time accommodate regional diversity

An ideal federal system has both aspects: 

mutual trust and agreement to live together.

The exact balance of power between the central and the state government varies from one federation to another.

There are two kinds of routes through which federations have been formed. 

•~  The first route involves independent States coming together on their own to form a bigger unit, so that by pooling sovereignty and retaining identity they can increase their security. 


sovereignt - The power that a country has to control its own government

This type of coming together federations include the USA, Switzerland and Australia

In this all the constituent States usually have equal power and are strong vis-à-vis the federal government.

•~  The second route is where a large country decides to divide its power between the constituent States and the national government. 

India, Spain and Belgium are examples of this kind of 'holding together' federations

In this, the central government tends to be more powerful vis-à-vis the States. 

Very often different constituent units of the federation have unequal powers. Some units are granted special powers.

Federalism Class 10 Civics Notes | Chapter 1 CBSE/NCERT

What makes India a federal country?

The Constitution declared India as a Union of States. Although it did not use the word federation, the Indian Union is based on the principles of federalism.

The constitution originally provided for a two-tier system of government, the Union Government or the Central Government, representing the Union of India and the State governments. Later, a third tier of federalism was added in the form of Panchayats and Municipalities

As in any federation, these different tiers enjoy separate jurisdiction

The Constitution clearly provided a three fold distribution of legislative powers between the Union Government and the State Governments.  Thus, it contains three lists: 


🌝 Union List includes subjects of national importance such as defence of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communications and currency. 

They are included in this list because we need a uniform policy on these matters throughout the country. The Union Government alone can make laws relating to the subjects mentioned in the Union List.

🤨 State List contains subjects of State and local importance such as police, trade, commerce, agriculture and irrigation. The State Governments can make laws relating to the subject mentioned in the state list.

😤 Concurrent List includes subjects of common interests to both the Union Government as well as State Government, such as education, forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption and succession

Both the Union as well as the State Governments can make laws on the subjects mentioned in this list. 

💥💥💥 If their laws conflict with each other, the law made by the Union Government will prevail.⭐⭐🔥🔥

🗣️ Residuary Subjects/ Residuary List          Subjects which are not present in any of the lists mentioned in the constitution are known as Residuary Subjects. The Union Government has the powers to make laws on Residuary Subjects. Such subjects include: Cyber Security, Computer software, e-commerce etc. These subjects came into being after the constitution was created.

Federalism Class 10 Civics Notes | Chapter 1 CBSE/NCERT

Federalism Class 10 Civics Notes | Chapter 1 CBSE/NCERT

Let's check ✔️🎯✔️🎯✔️🎯✔️

  1. Explain the vertical division of power through the example of India.

  2. State any four feature that makes India a federal country

  3. Explain any 5 key features of Federalism?

  4. "Indian Union is based on the principles of federalism" support the statement.

  5. Distinguish between coming together federation & holding together federation?

  6. What is federalism ?

  7. How can the fundamental provisions of the constitution be changed or amended in a federal system of government ?

  8. What are residuary subjects ? Who can make law on these subjects ?

🤷 Most federations (it means a federal country) that are formed by "holding together" do not give equal power to its constituent units. 

Thus, all States in the Indian Union do not have identical powers. 


Some States enjoy a special status. States such as Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram enjoy special powers under certain provisions of the Constitution of India (Article 371) 

Why? due to their peculiar (mean - unique/special) social and historical circumstances. 

These special powers are especially enjoyed in relation to the protection of land rights of indigenous peoples, their culture and also preferential employment in government services. 

🙄🙄 Indians who are not permanent residents of these states cannot buy land or house here. 

There are some units of the Indian Union which enjoy very little power. 

These are areas which are too small to become an independent State but which could not be merged with any of the existing States. These areas, like Chandigarh, or Lakshadweep or the capital city of Delhi, are called Union Territories

These territories do not have the powers of a State. The Central Government has special powers in running these areas.

This sharing of power between the Union Government and the State governments is basic to the structure of the Constitution. It is not easy to make changes to this power sharing arrangement.  The Parliament cannot on its own change this arrangement. 


Any change to it has to be first passed by both the Houses of Parliament with at least two-thirds majority. Then it has to be ratified by the legislatures of at least half of the total States.

The judiciary plays an important role in overseeing the implementation of constitutional provisions and procedures. In case of any dispute about the division of powers, the High Courts and the Supreme Court make a decision.

 The Union and State governments have the power to raise resources by levying taxes in order to carry on the government and the responsibilities assigned to each of them.

How Federalism Practiced ?

Constitutional provisions are necessary for the success of federalism but these are not sufficient. 

The real success of federalism in India can be attributed to the nature of democratic politics in our country. 

       This ensured that the spirit of federalism, respect for diversity and desire for living together became shared ideals in our country. 

Let us look at some of the major ways in which this happened.

Linguistic States      The creation of linguistic States was the first and a major test for democratic politics in our country. 

👀 look at the political map of India(previous page) when it began its journey as a democracy in 1947 and that of 2019.

Federalism Class 10 Civics Notes | Chapter 1 CBSE/NCERT

Federalism Class 10 Civics Notes | Chapter 1 CBSE/NCERT

What has changed?   Many old States have vanished and many new States have been created. Areas, boundaries and names of the States have been changed.

         ⬇️ Why ? 

 to create new States

 to ensure that people who spoke the same language lived in the same State

Some States were created  to recognise differences based on culture, ethnicity or geography. Ex- Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand.

Results ??

When the demand for the formation of States on the basis of language was raised, some national leaders feared that it would lead to the disintegration of the country. 

✔️ But the experience has shown that the formation of linguistic States has actually made the country, more united. 

 ✔️ It has also made administration easier.

Language policy       Our Constitution did not give the status of national language to any one language. Hindi was identified as the official language. 

⭐⭐ Hindi is the mother tongue of only about 40 per cent of Indians. 

Besides Hindi, there are 21 other languages recognised as Scheduled Languages. 👇                

Official languages of India are listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. As per Article 344(1) and 351 of the Indian Constitution, Eighth Schedule recognizes 22 languages. States and Union Territory can adopt an official language which is used locally for carrying out administrative duties.

👉A candidate in an examination conducted for the Central Government positions may opt to take the examination in any of these languages. 

States too have their own official languages. Much of the government work takes place in the official language of the concerned State.

   According to the Constitution, the use of English for official purposes was to stop in 1965. However, many non Hindi speaking States demanded that the use of English continue. In Tamil Nadu, this movement took a violent form. 


The Central Government responded by agreeing to continue the use of English along with Hindi for official purposes. Many critics think that this solution favoured the English speaking elite. 

Promotion of Hindi continues to be the official policy of the Government of India. 


Promotion does not mean that the Central Government can impose Hindi on States where people speak a different language. 👉👉👉 The flexibility shown by Indian political leaders helped our country avoid the kind of situation that Sri Lanka finds itself in.

Centre-State Relations     Restructuring the Centre-State relations is one more way in which federalism has been strengthened in practice. 

the constitutional arrangements for sharing power work, in reality depends to a large

 extent on 


 how the ruling parties and leaders follow these arrangements. 

For a long time 👉 the same party ruled both at the Centre and in most of the States.

 This meant that the State governments did not exercise their rights as autonomous federal units. 

when the ruling party at the State level was different, the parties that ruled at the Centre tried to undermine the power of the States.

In those days, the Central Government would often misuse the Constitution to dismiss the State governments that were controlled by rival parties

👆👆This undermined the spirit of federalism.

 After 1990

✔️ This period saw the rise of regional political parties in many States of the country. 

✔️  This was also the beginning of the era of COALITION GOVERNMENTS at the Centre. 

✔️  Since no single party got a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, the major national parties had to enter into an alliance with many parties including several regional parties to form a government at the Centre. 👇

This led to a new culture of power sharing and respect for the autonomy of State Governments. This trend was 

? Why has federalism succeeded in India? Which are the policies adopted by India that have ensure it? Explain.

Decentralisation in India 😬

When power is taken away from Central and State governments and given to local government, it is called decentralisation.👇

A vast country like India cannot be run only through two-tiers of government. 

Why ?

✔️ States in India are as large as independent countries of Europe. 

✔️ In terms of population, Uttar Pradesh is bigger than Russia, Maharashtra is about as big as Germany. 

✔️ Many States like Assam and Nagaland are internally very diverse

There is thus a need for power sharing within these States. 


This is the rationale for decentralisation of power. Resulted a third-tier of government, called local government.

? Why decentralised favoured in Democracy 

✔️ The basic idea behind decentralisation is that there are a large number of problems and issues which are best settled at the local level. 

✔️ People have better knowledge of problems in their localities. 

✔️ They also have better ideas on where to spend money and how to manage things more efficiently. 

✔️ At the local level it is possible for the people to directly participate in decision making This helps to inculcate a habit of democratic participation. 

✔️ Local government is the best way to realise one important principle of democracy, namely local self-government.

There have been several attempts to decentralise power to the level of villages and towns. 


Panchayats in villages and municipalities in urban areas were set up in all the States. But these were directly under the control of state governments.

But but but 

                     Elections to these local governments were not held regularly.

                     Local governments did not have any powers or resources of their own

Thus, there was very little decentralisation in effective terms.

A major step towards decentralisation was taken in 1992. The Constitution was amended to make the third-tier of democracy more powerful and effective.


  1. It is constitutionally mandatory to hold regular elections to local government bodies.

  2. Seats are reserved in the elected bodies and the executive heads of these institutions for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

  3. At least one-third of all positions are reserved for women.

  4. An independent institution called the State Election Commission has been created in each State to conduct panchayat and municipal elections.

  5. The State governments are required to share some powers and revenue with local government bodies

Local Government of Rural Area

Rural local government is popularly known by the name panchayati raj. 

Each village, or a group of villages in some States, has a Gram Panchayat 👇


This is a council consisting of several ward members, often called panch, and a president or sarpanch. They are directly elected by all the adult population living in that ward or village. It is the decision-making body for the entire village. The panchayat works under the overall supervision of the Gram Sabha 👇


All the voters in the village are its members. It has to meet at least twice or thrice in a year to approve the annual budget of the gram panchayat and to review the performance of the gram panchayat.

🐍🐍🐍 The local government structure goes right up to the district level. 

Panchayat Samiti or Block or Mandal      A few gram panchayats are grouped together to form a panchayat samiti or block or mandal. The members of this representative body are elected by all the panchyat members in that area. 

All the panchayat samitis or mandals in a district together constitute the zilla (district) parishad

Most members of the zilla parishad are elected. Members of the Lok Sabha and MLAs of that district and some other officials of other district level bodies are also its members. 

🔥🔥 Zilla parishad chairperson is the political head of the zilla parishad.

Local Government of Urban Area

Local government bodies exist for urban areas as well. Municipalities are set up in towns. Big cities are constituted into municipal corporations. Both municipalities and municipal corporations are controlled by elected bodies consisting of people's representatives. 

Municipal chairperson is the political head of the municipality. In a municipal corporation such an officer is called mayor

Download PDF Class 10 Civics Chapter 2 Federalism Notes

Post a Comment


Please do not enter any spam link in the comment box