Concurrent List under the Constitution of India



    Currently, our Constitution of India has 448 articles in 25 parts and 12 schedules.

 The 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution deals with the division of powers between the Union government and State governments.

As we did our civics classes as part of your social studies in school, we might remember that in the Indian federal system of government, governance is split into central subjects, state subjects and the concurrent list. There are things like defence that are solely the central government’s prerogative, others like public order and health are part of the state’s domain and yet others such as education and forests are part of the concurrent list.

The concept of ‘Concurrent List’ in the Indian Constitution has been borrowed from the Constitution of Australia.

The division of powers between Union and State is notified through three kinds of the list mentioned in the seventh schedule:

  1. Union List – List I
  2. State List – List II
  3. Concurrent List – List III

Article 246 deals with the 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution that mentions three lists named as Union List, State List and Concurrent List which specify the divisions of power between Union and States.     

  1. The Union List has a range of subjects under which the Parliament may make laws. This includes defence, foreign affairs, railways, banking, among others.
  1. The State List lists subjects under which the legislature of a state may make laws. Public order, police, public health and sanitation; hospitals and dispensaries, betting and gambling are some of the subjects that come under the state.
  2. The Concurrent List includes subjects that give powers to both the Centre and state governments. Subjects like Education including technical education, medical education and universities, population control and family planning, criminal law, prevention of cruelty to animals, protection of wildlife and animals, forests etc. However, given that there can be conflict when it comes to laws passed by Parliament and state legislatures on the same subject, the Constitution provides for a central law to override a state law.

The subjects that are enumerated under the Union List are mentioned below.

Union List Subjects:

Some of the important subjects are:

  1. Defence
  2. Army
  3. International Relations
  4. Ports
  5. Railways
  6. Highways
  7. Communication

State List Subjects:

Some of the important subjects are:

  1. Public order
  2. Police
  3. Public health and sanitation
  4. Hospitals and dispensaries
  5. Betting and gambling

Concurrent List Subjects:

Some of the important subjects are:

  1. Education
  2. Forest
  3. Trade unions
  4. Marriage
  5. Adoption
  6. Succession

Since 1950, the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution has seen a number of amendments. The Union List and Concurrent List have grown while subjects under the State List have gradually reduced.

The 42nd Amendment Act was perhaps one of the most controversial. Effected in 1976 during the Emergency by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the amendment restructured the Seventh Schedule ensuring that State List subjects like education, forest, protection of wild animals and birds, administration of justice, and weights and measurements were transferred to the Concurrent List.

Concurrent list has 52 subjects enumerated under it.




Limited capacity of states: Some laws enacted by Parliament in the concurrent list might require state governments to allocate funds for their implementation. But due to federal supremacy while the states are mandated to comply with these laws they might not have enough financial resources to do so. »

Balance between flexibility and uniformity: Some laws leave little flexibility for states to sync the laws according to their needs for achieving uniformity.

A higher degree of detail in law ensures uniformity across the country and provides the same level of protection and rights. However, it reduces the flexibility for states to tailor the law for their different local conditions.

Infringement in the domain of states: Some Bills may directly infringe upon the rights of states i.e. central laws on subjects that are in the domain of state legislatures. E.g. anti-terrorist laws, Lokpal bill, issues with GST and Aadhar etc. where states’ power are taken away in a cloaked manner. This asymmetry highlights the need for a detailed public debate on federalism and treatment of items in the concurrent list


Strengthening of Inter-State Council: Over the year multiple committees have recommended strengthening of Interstate Council where the concurrent list subjects can be debated and discussed, balancing Centre state powers. There is far less institutional space to settle inter-state frictions therefore a constitutional institution like ISC can be a way forward.

Autonomy to states: Centre should form model laws with enough space for states to maneuver. Centre should give enough budgetary support to states so as to avoid budgetary burden. There should be least interference in the state subjects.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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You may also like to read:

Inspirational Woman – Dakshayani Velayudhan – Aishwarya Sandeep

What is Drug Addiction – Aishwarya Sandeep

Inspirational Woman – Dakshayani Velayudhan – Aishwarya Sandeep

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