State list and the responsibility of the States.

The Constitution of India classifies certain functions to be performed separately by the Central government and the State government. Such functions of the respective governments are provided in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. The Seventh schedule establishes three lists:

  1. Union List – The Union or central government has power over the topics mentioned in this list
  2. State list – The State governments have power over the topics mentioned in this list.
  3. Concurrent list – The concurrent list includes topics of joint domain for both the State as well as the Union government to exercise power on. However, when there is a conflict over both, the Union government’s power exceeds that of the State.

The State List currently has 61 subjects as opposed to earlier where it has 66 subjects. The 42nd Constitution Amendment Act, 1976 shifted certain topics from the state list to the concurrent list so that both the union as well as the state had the powers to regulate and manage such subjects.

The subjects so shifted were: Education, Forests, Protection of Wildlife, Weights and measures, Administration of justice, constitution and organisation of all courts except the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

The state list consists of mostly subjects of local importance which may be specific to that particular state to ensure better governance. This structuration of the subjects into such lists helps in eliminating ambiguity regarding who has the power to make what laws. However, there can be some confusion as to the subjects under concurrent list which are of local as well as national importance.

Certain amendments have been made over time to the State lists through constitutional amendments. A major change was made in the 69th amendment act, 1991 where in the functioning of police and security of the Union territory of Delhi was taken over by the central ministry from the government of NCT of Delhi. The administration of police forces and security of the UT mostly comes under the Home ministry of India as of today.

The powers given to the states under state list exist only during ‘normal circumstances’. The central government can make laws regarding topics in the state list in extra ordinary situations such as:

  1. National Emergency.
  2. Resolution passed by the Rajya Sabha.
  3. If 2 or more states request that the centre make laws for the specified issue.

These powers are derived from Article 249 of the Constitution of India which says that the Union can take over or make laws regarding subjects under the state list for maintaining and securing national interest.

The structure of a state government is more or less the same as that of the centre. Some states have bicameral legislature whereas some has unicameral. Some have legislative councils while some don’t. Legislative council can be set up or removed by the Parliament on majority if the state provides for a resolution requesting or advising the same. 

The state government has major responsibility in terms of most topics that the centre has powers over. While the union government and the parliament will make laws and pass orders, the implementation and effective functioning of such laws is to be maintained by the state governments.

Certain authorities that establish basic amenities such as electricity boards, municipal boards, development boards, water boards and state welfare boards all come under the authority of the states themselves without intervention from the central government.

State governments themselves can also pass laws as per their majorities in the legislative structure. At the post of president for the union, there is a governor for the state. For union territories, there are Lieutenant Governors.

Hence, states have almost equal responsibilities as that of the centre but the centre has wider outreach as well as a few more subjects for consideration. The centre also has a wide range or authorities under it compared to the state governments which are made for more specific execution and maintenance of the law.

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.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

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