Union List: Constitution of India

History was written on 26 January 1950 when India was declared a Republic, based on a Constitution declaring it a Union of States. For the first time, a diverse land stretching from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Kutch to Kohima, saw a common flag flutter over it. With over 600 princely kingdoms coming together and joining erstwhile British India, a unified Bharat was formed in which the writ of one national government was henceforth to run. The new India was organised into 16 provinces with defined identities, responsibilities and powers.

The Constitution of India distributes the work of the state and the centre through three lists

Union List ;

State List ; and

Concurrent List.

Article 246 deals with the 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution that mentions the three lists:

A Union list contains 97 subjects as of now after the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2016, such as defence, army, foreign affairs, ports, banking, currency, railways, communications, postal services, and higher judiciary. Initially this list had 99 subjects.

There are 15 subjects in this list on which the parliament has an exclusive power to levy taxes. The 88th Amendment added a new subject to the union list called “taxes on services”

Some important features of the Union List –

  • Law made by the Parliament on a subject of the Union List can confer powers and impose duties on a state, or authorise the conferring of powers and imposition of duties by the Centre upon a state.
  • Supreme Courts’ jurisdiction and powers with respect to matters in the Union list can be enlarged by the Parliament.
  • All the issues/matters that are important for the nation and those requiring uniformity of legislation nationwide are included in the Union List
  • Centre has exclusive powers to makes laws on the subjects mentioned under the Union List of the Indian Constitution
  • It contains more important subjects than included in any of the other two lists.
  • All the issues/matters that are important for the nation and those requiring uniformity of legislation nationwide are included in the Union List

The Union List signifies the strong centre as it has more subjects than the state list.

The dominance of Union List over State List is secured by the Constitution of India as in any conflict

between the two or overlapping, the Union List prevails.

Functions of Union:

Central executive body of the government, the cabinet performs array of functions, there its role is critical and pivotal.

These functions are :

  • Formulation, execution, evaluation and revision of public policy in various spheres  which the party in power seeks to progress and practice.
  • Coordination among various ministries and other organs of the government which might indulge in conflicts, wastefulness, duplication of functions and empire building.
  • Preparation and monitoring of the legislative agenda which translated the policies of the government in action through statutory enactments.
  • Executive control over administration through appointments, rule making powers and handling of crises and disasters, natural as well as political.
  • Financial management through fiscal control and operation of funds like Consolidated Fund and Contingency Funds of India.

Review the work of planning and Planning Commission.

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