Federal System in India

The federal system of India works in terms of a relation between the Centre and the States through distribution of powers as provided by the Constitution of India. While the Central Government works both at the national and international level through its executive head Prime Minister and his council of Ministers, the State level executive consists of the Governor, the Chief Minister and the council of Ministers.

The Governor The Governor is the executive head and all the executive authority of the state is vested in him. He is appointed for 5 years by the President of India who can also remove him before expiry of his term. In case the state is placed under President’s Rule, he acts as the representative of the President.

The Chief Minister The chief minister of a state, who is generally the leader of the majority party in the state assembly, is appointed by the Governor. His position is identical to that of the Prime Minister at Centre. He makes all important policy announcements on the floor of the house and defends the policies of his government in the legislative assembly.

State Legislature The state legislature consists of the Governor and one or two houses. Where the state has only one house, it’s known as Legislative Assembly and the other one is Legislative Council. Currently, as of 2014, seven states have a Legislative Council – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

Legislative Assembly This is the popular house of the state legislature and consists of directly elected representatives of the people. The strength of the legislative assembly varies from 60 to 500 in different states depending upon the population except Sikkim where the assembly has 32 members only. The term of the assembly has a term of 5 years but can be dissolved earlier by the Governor under certain situations. In case of national emergency, its term can also be extended by the Parliament by one year at a time. The presiding officer of the legislative assembly is called Speaker

Legislative Council It is the upper house of the legislature and contains various categories of members elected by the members of legislative assembly, local bodies, teachers and also one-sixth nominated by the Governor. The maximum strength of the council can be one-third of the total membership of the legislative assembly, but in no case be less than 40. Its term is 6 years with one-third of its members retiring every 2 years. A chairman and a vice-chairman is elected from amongst the members of the council.