Industrial Disasters (Disaster Management)

Industrial Disasters (Disaster Management)

This article deals with ‘Industrial Disasters (Disaster Management).’ This is part of our series on ‘Disaster Management’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Industrial Disasters (Disaster Management)
  • Industrial Disasters are the most disastrous among man-made disasters.
  • The Methyl Iso-Cyanate gas leak in 1984 from the Union Carbide Factory in Bhopal is a notable global example of such a disaster. This incident resulted in over 20,000 casualties. 
  • In the Vizag Gas Leak (2020), the styrene gas leaked at LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam, led to 13 fatalities
  • Before the Bhopal Gas Tragedy era, industrial safety was non-existent. Hence, the following has been done. 
    1. Factories Act of 1948 has been amended to extend the scope of risk to cover the general public in the vicinity of the factory. 
    2. Environment Protection Act, 1986, was enacted.  
    3. The Public Liability Insurance Act of 1991 provides for immediate and interim relief to disaster victims.
    4. Disaster Management Act of 2005 provides effective management of natural and man-made disasters.
    5. India has ratified ILO’s Occupational Safety Convention, 2006 in 2017
  • Stringent environmental regulations have effectively minimized the occurrence of significant industrial disasters in India after the Bhopal incident.  
  • One major drawback compared to the West is the non-availability of an exclusive Accident Investigation Agency.
  • Also, India doesn’t have a proper tort law defining liability in such incidents. This fact came out in the Bhopal Tragedy Case. But still, the law has not been made.

Cause of  Industrial Disasters 

  • Ageing of plants: For example, The Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984 resulted from a leak at the Union Carbide plant, which had outdated and poorly maintained equipment.
  • Improper Maintenance: Inadequate attention to routine maintenance increases the risk of equipment failure.
  • Human Errors and Non-compliance of SoPs: Failure to follow Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) increases the likelihood of accidents.
  • Defects in Design: Flaws in the initial design of industrial structures or processes can lead to industrial disasters.
  • Sabotage by Terrorists: Terrorists can engage in deliberate acts aimed at harming industrial infrastructure.
  • Natural Disasters like Floods and Earthquakes: Natural calamities can trigger industrial disasters by overwhelming infrastructure or causing structural failures
  • Improper waste disposal: Incorrect disposal methods for industrial by-products can lead to environmental contamination and disasters.
  • Absence of Class Action Suites in India: A Class Action Suit allows one or many plaintiffs to appear for a group of people with similar interests, which is part of US corporate and consumer laws. Without this legal mechanism, individuals impacted by an industrial disaster may struggle to seek compensation collectively.

Prevention & Response

By Industry

Steps to prevent Industrial Disasters (by Industries)
  1. Proper Maintenance of Plant Facilities: Regular inspection and maintenance of industrial plants to identify and address potential hazards.
  2. Installation of Gas/Vapour Detection System: Advanced detection systems with alarms should be installed to identify and respond to gas or vapour leaks promptly
  3. Strict Compliance with State & Centre Regulations: Adherence to and enforcement of regulations set by state and central authorities to ensure safety standards. For Example: Ensure compliance with environmental regulations in industries to prevent ecological disasters.
  4. Frequent Mock Drills: Management should conduct regular simulated emergency drills to educate workers about disaster response protocols. For example, fire drills are used in manufacturing units to train employees on evacuation procedures.

By Government

Steps to prevent Industrial Disasters (by Government)
  1. Accident Investigation Agency: The government should establish a dedicated agency, similar to the USA’s National Transportation Safety Board, to investigate and analyze the causes of accidents.
  2. Strengthening Regulatory Frameworks: Robust and strictly enforced safety regulations are essential. Governments should update and strengthen the regulations with time.
  3. Awareness Programs: The government must provide awareness regarding hazards arising out of these disasters 
  4. R&D Initiatives: Investment in research and development for advancing technologies that enhance disaster prevention and response capabilities in industries.
  5. Creation of Buffer Zones: Creation of Buffer zones by not permitting people to stay around in that zone 

Role of Public

  1. The public should actively seek information about potential hazards in their surroundings. For example, community meetings should be held to discuss and disseminate information about local disaster risks.

Drought (Disaster Management)

Drought (Disaster Management)

This article deals with ‘Drought (Disaster Management).’ This is part of our series on ‘Disaster Management’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

What is Drought?

Drought (Disaster Management)

Droughts refer to a severe shortfall in water availability, mainly, but not exclusively, due to deficiency of rains, affecting agriculture, drinking water supply and industry. 

India’s most severe meteorological droughts were recorded in 1876, 1899, 1918, 1965, and 2000.

Drought Prone Areas in India

How is Drought declared?

It is the State’s Prerogative to declare Drought in any area

  1. Meteorological Drought: Seasonal rainfall over the area is less than 75% of its long-term average value. 
  2. Agricultural Drought: If 20% or more area of the state is affected

Peculiarity of Droughts in India

Droughts in India have their peculiarity. The annual average rainfall in India is approximately 1150 mm, a level unmatched by any other nation. Despite this abundant rainfall, about 68% of India is susceptible to drought to varying extents.

How drought is different than other disasters?

  • Onset is slow, giving adequate warning.  
  • Impacts a large area
  • The duration of the disaster is much longer. Hence, relief efforts have to be sustained over a long period.
  • It remains a rural phenomenon, except that very severe drought may impact the urban water supply.  

This does not hold true of other natural disasters. Hence, the management of drought differs significantly from other disasters.

Reasons of Drought

It is said that ‘Rains fall from the sky, but the drought is “made” on the ground,’ i.e. Droughts are manmade.

  • Faulty Water Management: Regions which don’t have good water management suffer from drought. For example, in 2015-16, Marathwada received 900 mm & Vidarbha received 1,000 mm of rain. Compare this with Rajasthan, which receives 400 mm & is not facing drought. 
  • Faulty Agriculture Policy: Growing water-intensive crops exacerbates water scarcity. For example, Marathwada cultivates sugarcane, a water-guzzling crop (Main culprits: Faulty Agro Practices (growing Sugarcane) & faulty water management practices)
  • No Irrigation Facilities: 60% of India’s cultivated land is rainfed with no irrigation facilities. Such regions become vulnerable to minor variations in rainfall.  
  • Faulty Irrigation practices: Most farmers in India use the Flooding Technique of irrigation, which is highly inefficient. India uses 4-5X more water per unit crop compared to China & Brazil.
  • Climatic Phenomenon: Sometimes, Climatic phenomena are also the cause of drought. For example, years when El Nino was prominent resulted in Drought.  
  • Poor Water Conservation Practices: Inadequate water conservation practices contribute to scarcity.

India must learn from arid Israel  

Preparing to face Droughts

  • Scrap Water Subsidies: Eliminate free electricity and canal water subsidies to discourage wasteful water consumption.
  • Water Harvesting & Management: Promote widespread adoption of water harvesting techniques to conserve rainwater.
  • Recalibrating Agriculture Policy: Use Minimum Support Prices (MSP) & other policies to nudge farmers towards pulses, maize, barley, etc. 
  • Make Rivers Perennial: Implement large-scale dam projects to create reservoirs for water storage.
  • Update Famine Codes (2nd ARC): Famine codes have not been updated for decades. The government should take steps to update them using new technology like satellite imagery, as suggested by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission.
  • Preparing NDRF: Provide specialized training to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to handle the unique challenges posed by droughts.
  • Modernization of Drought Forecast & Early Warning Systems 

Administrative Relations between Center and States

Administrative Relations between Center and States

This article deals with ‘Administrative Relations between Center and States – Indian Polity.’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus. For more articles , you can click here

Division of Executive Powers

Executive powers are divided on the lines of Legislative powers

Executive powers between the Center and the States mirror the delineation of legislative powers:

Executive Power of the Center:

Executive Power of the Center extends to the following

  1. To all matters on which it can Legislate 
  2. To exercise rights, authority & jurisdiction conferred on it by Treaty or Agreement

Executive Power of the States

Executive Power of the States extends to the following

  1. To all matters on which States can legislate,
  2. On matters enumerated in the Concurrent list except when it is specifically mentioned for the centre

The Center can give directions to States in the following.

  1. Executive Power of the Union shall extend to giving such directions to the State as may appear to the Government of India necessary for the purpose of compliance with laws made by Parliament.
  2. To construct or maintain communication declared of national or military importance
  3. Measures to be taken for the protection of railways within the State
  4. To provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother language to minority groups
  5. Drawing up & executing specific schemes for SC & ST in the State

The Government of India bears costs incurred on functions #1, 2 and 3.

Mutual Delegation of Functions

It can be under two conditions.


  • President may, with the consent of the State government, entrust to that government any of the executive functions of the Center.
  • The Governor of a State may, with the consent of the Central government, entrust to that government any of the executive functions of the State.


  • The Center can entrust its Executive function to the State without the State’s consent by making provisions about it in the Act itself (the Constitution confers this power to Parliament)

All India Services

Administrative Relations between Center and States
  • Centre and States have their separate Public Services, but in addition, there are All India Services, which include IAS, IPS & IFS (IFS was created later in 1966)
  • According to Article 312, Parliament can create any new All India Services with the resolution passed by the Rajya Sabha for this.
  • These services are unique in representing a single cadre with common rights and a uniform pay scale. This distinctive feature ensures a standardized and cohesive administrative framework, contributing to the overall efficiency of governance.
  • States have immediate control, while the Center has ultimate control over them.
  • Although they violate the principle of federalism, they were supported on grounds like maintaining high standards in administration, helping to ensure uniformity in administration, and facilitating liaison, cooperation & coordination.

Integrated Judicial System

  • Although India has a federal structure consisting of a dual polity, when it comes to the administration of justice, our Constitution advocates for the establishment of an Integrated Judicial System.
  •  Such integration intends to foster a cohesive legal framework that upholds the principles of justice, equality, and fairness for all citizens.

Relations during Emergencies

Done in emergency provisions (Click here )

Extra Constitutional Measures

Several advisory bodies and conferences are held at the Central level.

  • Niti Ayog, National Integration Council, North Eastern Council, Central Council of Indian Medicine, Central Council of Homeopathy, etc., are some of the Advisory bodies which help both states & centres to streamline policies.
  • Conferences – Chief Ministers Conference(Presided by PM), Governors Conference (Presided by President), Chief Secretaries Conference( Presided by Cabinet Secretary), etc. to facilitate Centre-State consultation on a wide range of matters

Legislative Relations between Centre and States

Legislative Relations between Centre and States

This article deals with ‘Legislative Relations between Centre and States – Indian Polity.’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus. For more articles , you can click here

Distribution of Legislative Subjects

  • India has a federal polity. Federal Polity is a system of governance in which sovereignty is constitutionally shared between the centre & states.
  • As per the Indian Constitution, legislative or law-making powers are not vested in a single tier of government; rather, they have been distributed between the Centre and the States with respect to territory and subject matter. 

Territorial Jurisdiction

  • The Constitution defines the territorial limits of legislative powers. Parliament possesses the authority to enact laws that apply to the entire country or specific regions within its territory. It has extra-territorial legislative powers as well, allowing its laws to apply beyond the borders of India, affecting Indian citizens and their assets worldwide.
  • A State can legislate only for their State, and its laws are not applicable outside the State.

Subject Matter

Legislative Relations between Centre and States

The Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution outlines this threefold distribution, specifying legislative subjects allocated to the Centre and the States.

List I (Union List)

  • Parliament has exclusive legislative authority over 100 subjects (originally 97) listed in this category.
  • These subjects pertain to matters of national importance that require uniformity nationwide.
  • Examples include Defence, Atomic Energy, Railways, etc.

List II (State List)

  • State Legislatures possess the exclusive right to legislate on 61 subjects (originally 66).
  • These subjects are of regional and local importance.
  • Examples include Police, Public Health, Agriculture etc.

List III (Concurrent List)

  • The authority to enact laws on 52 subjects (Originally 47) is vested in both the Parliament and State Legislatures 
  • Uniformity in such subjects is desirable but not essential. Hence, Union law provides a broad framework, and state laws can introduce variations.
  • Examples include Education, Marriage, Bankruptcy, and Insolvency.
  • In the conflict between central and State laws, the Rule of Federal Supremacy applies, i.e. central law prevails. But the exception is that if state law was reserved for the President’s approval & has received it, then it prevails.
  • Sarkaria recommendation – Acts on subjects in this list should be made after active consultation with the State government except in cases of extreme urgency.

Residuary Subjects

  • In the USA, Subjects on which the Federal Government can legislate are enumerated in the Constitution & on the rest of the subjects, only states can legislate.
  • Indian system is taken from Canadian system
  • The Government of India Act,1935, has the same system with one change on Residuary Subjects, the Governor

Points worth noting

  • In the USA, Subjects on which the Federal Government can legislate are enumerated in the Constitution & on the rest of the subjects, only states can legislate.
  • Indian system is taken from the Canadian system.
  • The Government of India Act of 1935 has the same system with one change on Residuary Subjects: the Governor General can legislate.

When can Parliament Legislate on State Subjects?

Under special conditions, the Parliament can legislate on subjects included in the State List under some specific circumstances, which are as follows:

When Rajya Sabha passes a resolution that is in the national interest, Parliament should legislate on State Subjects.      

  • Parliament can legislate on state subjects if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution, supported by at least two-thirds of the members present and voting, stating that it is in the national interest to do so.
  •  At the same time, the State can also legislate upon the same subject, but in case of any inconsistency, the laws of the Centre prevail. 
  • This resolution remains in effect for one year at a time, and any laws enacted by Parliament under this provision have a maximum life of six months after the resolution has expired.

During National Emergency

  • Parliament is vested with the authority to legislate on state subjects during a National Emergency.
  • However, it’s essential to note that laws enacted during a National Emergency become inoperative within six months after the emergency ceases to be operational.

When the State makes a request

  • Parliament can legislate on a state subject if two or more states make a request for the same. The law enacted will be operational in those specific states. Other states may later choose to come under the purview of such legislation.
  • Notable examples include the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 and the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, which were initiated based on requests from multiple states.

To implement International Agreements and Treaties

  • Parliament is empowered to legislate on any matter to implement international treaties or agreements.
  • For instance, the United Nations (Privilege and Immunities) Act and the Anti-Hijacking Act of 1960 were enacted by Parliament to fulfil international obligations.

During President’s Rule

  • Laws made during the period of the President’s Rule in a state remain operational even after the President’s Rule ceases to be in effect.
  • This provision ensures continuity and stability in governance during transitions.

Centre’s Control over State Legislature

The Constitution allows this in the following ways.

  1. The governor can reserve certain types of Bills passed by the State Legislature for Presidential Approval. The President has an absolute veto in that situation.
  2. Certain types of bills can be introduced in State legislature only after the previous sanction of the President, although they are in List II of the 7th Schedule (restrictions on Trade & commerce)
  3. Money and Finance Bills require the President’s approval during a Financial Emergency.
  4. The concurrent list’s items are subject to the Doctrine of Federal Supremacy.

Competitive Federalism

Competitive Federalism

This article deals with ‘Competitive Federalism – Indian Polity.’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.


Competitive Federalism refers to the concept in which states compete among themselves and also with the Centre for benefits. This idea gained significance in India after the 1990s economic reforms in a free-market economy when states were trying to woo private investment in their territory. 

Competitive Federalism

Different states try to make their own policies in a competing spirit to 

  • Attract more investment, 
  • Provide more jobs to its residents.
  • Increase the standard of life of people living in its territory. 

Competitive Federalism follows the bottom-up approach as it brings change from the states. 

Competitive Federalism in India

  • In India, the government replaced the Planning Commission by establishing NITI Aayog, with one of the mandates to develop Competitive Federalism in India.
  • Indian states are making legal reforms for ease of doing business in their state and attract private companies. E.g., Labour Reforms
    • Gujarat: Making it more difficult for utility workers to go on strike 
    • Karnataka: Allows establishments to be open longer and allows women to work at night.
    • Rajasthan: Allow companies employing up to 300 staffers to lay off workers or close down without getting the government’s prior approval
  • Different states are organizing their investment summits to woo investors to invest in their states. E.g., 
    • Gujarat’s – Vibrant Gujarat 
    • Punjab’s – Progressive Punjab 
  • DIPP is releasing the Ease of Doing Business Report of States

The impact of competition for attracting investments to the states can be understood at two levels.

  • On the one hand, states are under pressure to provide good governance and manage their finances prudently. 
  • On the other hand, they are aware of the negative impact of many of these reform measures on their electoral popularity. 

Cooperative Federalism

Cooperative Federalism

This article deals with ‘Cooperative Federalism – Indian Polity.’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.


Cooperative Federalism

The concept of federalism is where the governments at various levels, i.e., central, state, and local levels, work in synergy with each other for the larger public interest, bypassing the differences between them. 

Some Obstacles to Cooperative Federalism in India 

  1. Proclamation of Emergency under Article 356: Post-1977, the arbitrary use of Article 356 to impose President’s Rule in states has been a persistent issue. 
  2. Union Dominance in Legislative Matters: The Union’s dominance in legislating over the concurrent list and its interference in the state list are also in special cases, such as while ratifying international agreements. 
  3. Governor Appointments without State Consultation: States have no say in the appointment of the Governor.
  4. Centrally Sponsored Schemes: The imposition of centrally sponsored schemes under the ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ approach has been a source of tension. States often find themselves obligated to implement schemes without considering regional variations, leading to inefficiencies. 
  5.  Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management (FRBM) Act: Forcing states to follow the dictates of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management (FRBM) Act before the basic public services of ordinary citizens in States are met.
  6. Deployment of Paramilitary Forces without State Consent: Instances of deploying paramilitary forces in states without their consent, such as the use of central forces in Jammu and Kashmir
  7. Enquiries against Chief Ministers for Personal Reasons: The initiation of inquiries against Chief Ministers for personal or political reasons has been a source of tension. 
  8. Non-Devolution of Powers to Local Governments: The reluctance of states to devolve powers to local governments, particularly in matters under Schedule XI & XII, remains a hurdle. 

How can we achieve Cooperative Federalism? 

  • Consensus Building: Encouraging dialogue and collaboration among states and the central government. For Example, The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented after extensive deliberations and consensus-building among states.
  • Reactivation of the Inter-State Council: Strengthening the constitutional body will facilitate cooperative decision-making between the Centre and the States.
  • Protection of State Interests: Ensuring that on issues such as international treaties, World Trade Organisation obligations, or environmental concerns, the interests of affected states are safeguarded.
  • Greater devolution of power to states: Ideally, the Union should have only those powers which the state can’t handle and require national unity in the form of matters like defence, communication, foreign policy, etc.  
  • Formation of NITI Aayog after scrapping Planning Commission. NITI Aayog has increased the participation of states in its functioning & decision-making.  
  • States’ Involvement in Governor Appointments: Allowing states to have a say in the appointment and removal of Governors to enhance mutual respect
  • Reform of Schedule XI & XII: Abolish Schedule XI & XII & instead work towards a new local list outlining activities and sub-activities under Local Bodies within Schedule 7 itself. 

Side Note: Reasons for the Rise of Cooperative Federalism post-LPG

  • End of single-party Rule at Centre & emergence of Coalition Politics: The era post-1990 witnessed a shift from a dominant single-party system to a more diversified and collaborative political landscape with multiple parties forming coalitions to govern 
  • Judicial activism, exemplified by landmark cases such as the S R Bommai case, has been instrumental in preventing the Union government from misusing constitutional provisions. The judiciary, acting as the guardian of the Constitution, has consistently intervened to safeguard federal principles. 
  • Active Media:  The active role of media in the post-LPG era has contributed significantly to Cooperative Federalism. Informal and vigilant media have played a crucial role in bringing attention to instances where constitutional provisions are at risk of being manipulated for political gains.

Federal System

Federal System

This article deals with ‘Federal System– Indian Polity.’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.


The idea of federalism as an organizing principle between different levels of a state is quite old. Greek city-states had it. Lichchhavi kingdom of northern India in the 6th century BCE is a celebrated example of a republican system.  European Union is a recent example of the idea of federalism being implemented at a trans-national level.  

  • The term “federation” is derived from the Latin word “foedus,” meaning treaty or agreement.
  • A federation can be formed in two ways.
    • Integration, i.e. Coming Together Federation: When two or more weak states come together to form a strong union, e.g., USA.
    • Disintegration, i.e. Holding Together Federation: When a Big unitary state is converted to a federation by granting autonomy to provinces, e.g., Canada and India.
  • Federal Polity is a system of governance in which sovereignty is constitutionally shared between the centre & states.
Federal System

Federal system is adopted so that

The federal system is adopted so that 

  • States & their diversity can flourish with autonomy. 
  • For multicultural societies, federalism is an attractive option.  It enables minorities to become majorities in sub-national units  
  • Political Motives
    • The Federal System provides security from external & internal threats.
    • Additional central assistance, when required, can be provided by the centre in the Federal System.
  • Economic Motives
    • The Federal System provides access to the larger national market 
    • Transfer of resources from other states in case of an underdeveloped state. 
  • India has a Federal system, but the term federation is mentioned nowhere in the constitution; instead, Article 1 describes India as a Union of states

Federalism and Stability of State

Centralized administration often refuses to decentralize, thinking it will undermine its integrity. But the opposite is true. Decentralization leads to stability, and those who refuse to decentralize often crumble under their weight.

Federalism and Stability of State

Difference between Federal and Unitary Government

Federal SystemUnitary System
Federal Polity has a ‘dual government.’ Unitary Polity has a ‘single government.’
 It has a written constitution (must) It may have written (France) or unwritten (Britain) constitution.
There is a division of powers between the centre and the states There is no division of power, as all the powers are vested in the centre
There is a supremacy of the constitution Constitution may be supreme (Japan) or may not be (Britain)
Federal Polity has a rigid constitution Unitary Polity may have a rigid or flexible constitution.
Federal Polity has an independent judiciary Unitary Polity may or may not have an independent judiciary.
Federal Polity has bicameral legislature Unitary Polity may have two houses (Britain) or one house (China)

Federal System in India

  • India is holding together federation different from the USA, which is coming together. 
  • The holding together model was adopted for the sake of the unity of the country & national integration – The constituent assembly prescribed the federalist model so that the country could face the challenges of Centrifugal forces effectively. 

Features of the Indian System of Federation

  • Dual Polity: India follows the concept of a dual polity, with the Union at the Centre and the States at the Periphery.
  • Division of Powers: There is a well-defined division of powers between the Union and the States, elucidated in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution. 
  • Supremacy of the Constitution: The Indian Constitution establishes the supremacy of the Constitution itself. All laws must conform to its provisions, and any law inconsistent with the constitution is declared void. 
  • Rigid Constitution: The constitution is rigid in its structure, and the method of amendment is also rigid. Provisions concerned with federal character can be amended by joint action of state and centre.
  • Independent Judiciary: The judiciary in India is independent and not under the influence of the Union government. 
  • Bicameralism: The Indian Parliament follows a bicameral system, where the Rajya Sabha represents the states of the Indian Federation, and the Lok Sabha represents the Indian people as a whole. 
  • Asymmetric Federalism: India has Asymmetric Federalism in the sense that the rights and responsibilities of all the states are not the same. The special nature and needs of certain regions are defined constitutionally via various sub-clauses of Article 371

Architect of the Indian Constitution, Baba Saheb Ambedkar, believed that for a culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse and heterogeneous country like India, federalism was the ‘chief mark’, although with a strong unitary bias. This understanding, which was shared by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and other national leaders, stood at sharp variance with Gandhi’s idea of federalism, who was a votary of decentralization and devolution of power to the lowest unit of Panchayat. 

All federal systems, including the American system, are placed in a tight mould of federalism. No matter the circumstances, it cannot change its form and shape. It can never be unitary. On the other hand, the Indian Constitution can be both unitary and federal according to the requirements of time and circumstances. In normal times, it is framed to work as a federal system. But in times of distress(e.g. National Emergency), it is designed to make it work as a unitary system.

Unitary features of the Indian Constitution

  • Strong Centre: The Indian Constitution leans towards a strong Centre, where the powers are tilted in favour of the Union. 
  • Parliament’s Authority to Change State Boundaries: Parliament holds the unique power to alter state boundaries and names and even create new states.
  • Single Constitution for Union and States: Unlike other federations, India has a single constitution that governs the Union and the states. It ensures a unified legal framework throughout the country. 
  • Flexible Process of Constitutional Amendment: The process of Constitutional Amendment is less rigid than found in other federations.
  • Inequality in State Representation in Rajya Sabha: The Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, does not guarantee equal representation for states. 
  • Unitary Transition During Emergencies: In times of Emergency, the federal structure temporarily transforms into a unitary one. This shift occurs without the need for a formal Constitutional Amendment.
  • Single Citizenship: There is only single citizenship, i.e. citizenship of India, and no separate citizenship of states.
  •  Unified Judiciary: There is a single judiciary with the Supreme Court at the top that enforces central and state laws.
  • All India Services: The creation of All India Services, such as the IAS, IPS, and IFS, is a unitary feature.
  • Integrated Audit Machinery. CAG audits accounts of both Central and State Governments but is appointed by the President only, and states have no say in his appointment or removal.
  • Office of Governor: The head of state, i.e., the Governor, is nominated by the President and is an agent of the centre in states.
  • Integrated Election Machinery: India maintains a single integrated election machinery for conducting both central and state elections.
  • President’s Absolute Veto: The President has an Absolute Veto over the State Bill if the Governor send any bill to the President for consideration.

Is India a federal state or a Unitary state?

India’s constitutional framework raises the intriguing question: Is India a federal or unitary state? The answer lies in the nuanced understanding of the features embedded in the Indian Constitution.

  • Although there are large unfederal features that are essentially incorporated for the unity and integrity of the country, it is equally important to recognize that all the fundamental federal features are present in the Constitution. The presence of strong unitary elements has led some scholars to categorize India as a “Quasi-federal” state. 
  • Although  Article 1 states that India is a Union of states, this doesn’t mean India isn’t a federation. No particular significance is to be attached to the word union because the word union is used in the Preamble of the USA, too, and citing this, BR Ambedkar said the description of India as a Union, although it is a Federation, does no violence to its usage. 
  • At the time of Independence, traumatized by the partition and violence, the Constituent Assembly wanted to ensure the unity and integrity of the new nation. Hence, the framework departed significantly from all existing models of federalism.  

When India adopted this system, In the absence of any track record of India in federalism and the tendency to compare all federal states with the US model, jurists found it difficult to certify that the system was indeed federal. It was therefore declared ‘Quasi-Federal’. This description is no longer valid today because the federal principle has taken root and further developed on Indian soil.  

After the 73rd & 74th Amendments & formation of the Panchayati Raj, a new era was started in the chapter of Indian Federalism.

Parliamentary System

Parliamentary System

This article deals with ‘Parliamentary System– Indian Polity.’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.


In India, there is a Parliamentary form of government at the State and Centre levels.

Centre Article 74 and Article 75 speak about it.
State Article 163 and Article 164 speak about it.

Definition of Parliamentary System

Parliamentary System

Government in which the Executive is responsible to the Legislature for its policies is known as Parliamentary System of Government.

It is also known as

  1. Cabinet System
  2. Responsible Government
  3. Westminster Model of Government

Features of the Parliamentary System

  • The President is the nominal (de jure) head, while the Prime Minister is the real (de facto) Executive.
  • The Party, which secures a majority of seats in Lok Sabha, forms the government.
  • Ministers are collectively responsible to Parliament (i.e. they swim and sink together).
  • Usually, members of the Council of Ministers belong to the same Political party and hence share the same ideology.
  • There is a double membership. Ministers are members of the Executive and legislature.
  • The Prime Minister plays a leadership role, and he is the leader of the council.
  • President can dissolve the lower House on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Merits of the Parliamentary System

  • Harmony between the Legislature and Executive as members of Executive are members of the Legislature, too.
  • Government is responsible as it is answerable to Parliament for acts of omission and commission.
  • Prevents despotism as Executive is controlled by various tools like No Confidence Motion, Zero Hour Discussion etc.
  • There is ready alternate government if no-confidence motion is passed against the ruling party.
  • It provides broad representation as the Executive consists of a variety of members

Demerits of the Parliamentary System

  • The government is unstable and stands at the mercy of Legislators.
  • There is no continuity of policies. When government changes, policies also change, which is bad for the economy.
  • The government can become autocratic if the ruling party enjoys an absolute majority.
  • It is against the Principle of Separation of Power.
  • It is not conducive to administrative efficiency as ministers are not experts in their fields.

Why did India Choose the Parliamentary System?

  • Historical Continuity: Familiarity with the system due to its presence in British India.
  • Emphasis on Responsibility: Preference was given to the system that prioritizes responsibility over stability.
  • Recognition of the need to avoid the Legislative-Executive divide, which was necessary for an immature democracy like that of India
  • Fear of an Overly Strong Executive: Constituent Assembly feared too strong Executive
  • Representation in a Diverse Society: In a diverse society like India, this system provides representation to more diverse groups in the Executive
  • Avoidance of Personality Cult: The alternative to the Parliamentary Executive was a Presidential form of government. However, the Presidential Executive puts much emphasis on the President. There is always danger of a personality cult.  

Indian System is different from British System

India Parliamentary SystemBritish Parliamentary System
Republican system Monarchial system
Parliament is not supreme and enjoys limited and  restricted powers due to the written constitution, judicial review and fundamental rights It is based on the Doctrine of Sovereignty of Parliament
PM can be a member of any of the two houses PM should be a member of the Lower house
Non-MP can be appointed as a Minister, but he has to acquire membership within 6 months MP alone can be appointed as Minister
There is no legal responsibility of the Minister The legal responsibility of the Minister is present
There is no Shadow Cabinet Shadow Cabinet is present

Features of the (American) Presidential System 

  • The President in the American Presidential System holds a dual role as both the head of state and head of government. 
  • President is elected by the electoral college for 4 years and can be removed by impeachment.
  • President governs with help of his secretaries who are not elected and are answerable to him only.
  • Advice of secretaries not binding on the President
  • The President and his secretaries are neither answerable to the Congress nor have any membership.
  • The American Presidential System operates on the fundamental principle of the separation of powers in which the executive, legislature & judiciary are independent & separate.

Should India switch over to Presidential System?

Question of changing over to Presidential System has been raised various times

1956 Nehru himself expressed his doubts about whether the Parliamentary System could meet the needs of the times and the complexities of modern administration.
1960s The desirability of a switch-over to the Presidential system was discussed & several eminent men, including a person like JRD Tata, advocated a Presidential system for India.
1967   After Nehru, Congress’s monopoly of power began to be eroded at the level of States. The Presidential model is described as a remedy for all of India’s ills.
Indira’s Reign Demand became the most prominent

Arguments against

  • This issue was sufficiently discussed in the Constituent Assembly, and it made an informed choice after considering both the British and American models.  
  • It would violate the ‘basic structure‘ of the Constitution.
  • Presidential system centralises power in one individual unlike the Parliamentary System, where Prime Minister is first among equals
  • A diverse country like India can only function with consensus-building. But the Presidential System works on a “winner takes it all” approach. 
  • ‘Outside’ talent can be brought into a parliamentary system, too. Examples: C.D. Deshmukh, T.A. Pai, Manmohan Singh etc. 

Arguments in flavor

  • There is no genuine separation of powers as the legislature cannot truly hold the executive accountable since the government wields the majority in the House. 
  • During the time of the coalition government, the government is unstable and stands at the mercy of MPs & MLAs
  • Cabinet posts would not be limited to those who are electable rather than able. Experts can become ministers/secretaries. 
  • Fear that an elected President could become a Caesar/Authoritarian is ill-founded since the President’s power would be balanced by the legislature (including Rajya Sabha) 
  • It is good for diverse country like India because to get Bills passed, President instead of facing a monolithic opposition, would have the opportunity to build issue-based coalitions on different issues.
  • The Parliamentary system was taken from Britain, but conditions similar to Britain do not exist in India. It requires the existence of clearly defined political parties, whereas, in India, a party is all too often a label of convenience. 

The Present Parliamentary System has been tried and tested for nearly 70 years. As a famous saying goes – Why fix a thing which isn’t broken? Rather than changing the system, we should reform thoroughly and cleanse the electoral processes.

Leather Industry

Leather Industry

This article deals with the  Leather Industry.’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Leather Industry

Since immemorial, leather has had universal appeal because of its aesthetic and functional properties.

Main considerations in the Leather Industry

  • Raw Material: The hides and skin of cows, goats, sheep, and buffaloes serve as the primary raw materials for the leather industry. India, being one of the largest producers of livestock, provides a substantial supply of raw hides and skins.
  • Water: Water is a vital component in the tanning process, where raw hides are treated to become leather. Tanneries are often established near rivers or lakes to ensure a continuous and sufficient water supply. For instance, tanneries in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, utilize the water from the Ganges River.   
  • Labour Availability: The leather industry is labour-intensive, involving various stages like cleaning, dyeing, cutting, and stitching. It requires huge numbers of skilled and unskilled labourers.
  • Concentrated Demand: The presence of a concentrated demand for leather products, both domestically and internationally, plays a crucial role in shaping the leather industry. 

Reasons: UP has a well developed Leather Industry

  • Historical Factor: The rich history of Mughal patronage in the region played a significant role in developing leather craftsmanship in UP.
  • Water Availability: Major leather centres like Kanpur are strategically located along the banks of the Ganga River. 
  • Demand
    • UP is one of the most populous regions in India. The high population density creates a consistent demand for leather products like footwear.
    • UP has a well-developed sports industry, and leather is an essential material used in sports equipment manufacturing—for instance, cricket balls and footballs.
    • The proximity of UP to Haryana, a state with a robust automobile industry, creates a leather market for car seats and interiors. 
  • Government Policies: Supportive government policies, subsidies, and initiatives have encouraged entrepreneurs and investors to establish and expand leather-related businesses in UP. 

Reasons: Why is Tamil Nadu a significant Leather Industry?

  • Historical Reason: Tamil Nadu’s leather industry has historical roots as the British colonialists initiated leather production in the region to meet the military needs (boots, belts, etc.)
  • Abundant Water Resources: The presence of rivers like Cauvery and Palar ensures a consistent water supply.
  • Access to Market: Proximity to major automobile manufacturing centres, especially in Chennai, provides a ready market for leather products used in automobile interiors.
  • Skilled Workforce: The state boasts a skilled workforce proficient in leather craftsmanship.
  • Government Initiatives and Support: The Tamil Nadu government has implemented various policies and initiatives, like the Tamil Nadu Leather Development Corporation, to promote the growth of the leather industry. 

Reasons: Why is West Bengal a significant Leather Industry?

  • Historical Reasons: During World War II, the soaring demand for army boots and belts acted as a catalyst for the leather industry in West Bengal. Consequently, Bata has also set up their plant in West Bengal at the place now known as Batanagar (in 24 South Pargana)  
  • Cheap Labour: West Bengal and its neighbouring states, such as Bihar, provide a vast pool of skilled and unskilled workers at competitive wages.
  • Fresh Water: West Bengal benefits from the presence of the Hugli River, providing a consistent and ample supply of fresh water required for leather manufacturing
  • Market
  • Domestic Demand: West Bengal, a populous state with a growing economy, offers a robust domestic market for leather products. 
  • Port Facilities: West Bengal has strategic ports such as Kolkata Port and Haldia Port. These ports facilitate the export of leather products to international markets.

Problems of Leather Industry

Inadequate Supply of Hide and Low Hide Quality:

  • Cultural Factors: In India, cattle are considered sacred and a source of wealth. Unlike the US and other Western countries, Indians do not sell their cattle for slaughter.
  • Laws on Cow Slaughter: Several states have imposed bans on beef and cow slaughter, negatively impacting the leather industry.
  • Right-Wing Vigilantism: Right-wing vigilantism frequently harms people from castes involved in flaying, leading many to abandon the profession, causing difficulties when cattle die and need to be flayed.
  • Poor Quality Hide: Flaying, considered polluting work, is done by lower caste individuals without proper scientific equipment, resulting in lower hide quality.

Problems with Tanning:

  • Tanning Pollution: Tanning, done with Chromium salt and sulfides, pollutes rivers when untreated wastewater is dumped, rendering the water unsuitable for drinking and commercial purposes.
Problems of Leather Industry

Competition from China:

  • During the 1980s and 90s, the US leather industry moved to China due to strict environmental laws, enabling China to acquire US technology and capital.

The dominance of MSMEs

  • In India, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) dominate the leather sector, making it challenging to compete with global players.

Lower Demand:

  • Religious Considerations: Religious beliefs in India affect leather usage, leading to lower demand for leather products.
  • Climatic Conditions: Warm weather makes leather jackets and garments unsuitable, affecting demand.
  • Price Consciousness: Indian consumers prefer cheaper synthetic substitutes due to price consciousness.

Jute Industry (in India and World)

Jute Industry (in India and World)

This article deals with the  Jute Industry (in India and World) .’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

Jute Industry

Jute Industry (in India and World)

India is the major producer of jute, along with Bangladesh. China and Pakistan are other notable producers.

  • Bangladesh: Bangladesh is the world’s largest producer of jute. The jute industry is a vital sector of their economy, employing millions.
  • India:
    • West Bengal: The majority of India’s jute mills are concentrated in West Bengal 
    • Andhra Pradesh: Andhra Pradesh also has a significant jute industry.
  • China: China also has a notable jute industry, with mills in cities like Nantong and Qingdao.
  • Pakistan: Pakistan has a smaller but significant jute industry, mainly centred around cities like Karachi and Lahore.

Jute Industry is mostly located in India & in India concentrated in West Bengal. WHY?

  • Raw material: The majority of jute is cultivated in West Bengal. The favourable climate and soil conditions in this region are ideal for jute cultivation.
  • Energy: Proximity to coal mines in Raniganj and Jharia provides a stable energy source for jute processing.
  • Water: Jute processing requires substantial amounts of water. The Hooghly River (a distributary of the Ganges) in West Bengal ensures a reliable and abundant water supply for the jute mills.
  • Cheap Labour: West Bengal, along with states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, provides a large pool of skilled and unskilled labour at relatively low wages.
  • Capital: Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, had well-established banking and financial facilities during the British colonial period. 

Problems faced by Jute Industry

  • Geographical Disadvantages: After partition, jute mills remained in India while the prime jute-producing regions ended up in Bangladesh.
  • Intense Competition from Bangladesh: Bangladesh adopted modern technology in jute production, thus reducing production costs and making their products more competitive in the global market.
  • Labour Union Problems: Frequent strikes and disputes in jute mills hindered regular operations, affecting overall productivity.
  • Competition from Synthetic Packing: The growing usage of synthetic materials for packaging has decreased the demand for jute products.
  • Lack of Marketing Strategy for Eco-Friendly Appeal: There are insufficient efforts in promoting jute as an eco-friendly and biodegradable material in international markets.