Inter-State Council – Background and Composition (Article 263)

Sansar LochanPolitical ScienceLeave a Comment


Why in News?

The Inter-State Council and the standing committee of the Inter-State Council have been reconstituted recently.


1. Article 263 of the constitution makes provision for the establishment of an Inter-State Council (ISC).

2. Justice R. S. Sarkaria Commission in its report in 1988 recommended the setting up of Inter State Council.

  • Inter-State Council should be made a permanent body under Article 263 and be renamed as Inter-Governmental Council (IGC).
  • The IGC should be allowed to discharge the duties mentioned in clauses (b) and (c) of Article 263, except socio-economic planning and development.

3. Thus, in 1990, Inter-State Council was setup through a Gazette notification dated 27th December, 1990 and was last reconstituted as per Gazette notification dated 27th October, 2017.

Article 263 It shall be lawful for the President to establish an ISC for inquiring, discussing and advising upon:

(a) Disputes which may have arisen between States;

(b) Subjects in which some or all of the States, or the Union and one or more of the States, have a common interest; or

(c) Such subject and, in particular, recommendations for the better co-ordination of policy and action with respect to that subject.

• Its function is complementary to Supreme Court’s jurisdiction under Art 131 to decide a legal controversy between the governments.

• Article 263 clause (a), which gave the council the power to investigate issues of inter-state conflict, was removed in the presidential ordinance whereby the ISC was established.

Composition of ISC

  • Prime Minister as the Chairman
  • Chief Ministers of all the States
  • Chief Ministers of Union Territories having Legislative Assemblies
  • Administrators of the Union Territories not having Legislative Assemblies
  • Governors of the States under the President’s rule
  • Six Central Cabinet Ministers, including Home Minister, to be nominated by the PM.
    Meetings of ISC
  • Standing Committee has met twelve times with last meeting being held in November 2017.
  • The Inter-State Council has met eleven times with last meeting being held in July 2016.

About ISC

  • It is a recommendatory body on issues relating to inter-state, Centre-State, and Centre and Union Territory relations.
  • It is not a permanent constitutional body but it can be constituted at any time’ if the President thinks that the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a council.

Committees related to Centre-State Relations

  1. Administrative Reforms Commission (1966)
  2.  Rajamannar Committee (1969)
  3.  Anandpur Sahib Resolution (1973)
  4.  West Bengal Memorandum (1977)
  5.  Sarkaria Commission (1983)
  6.  Punchhi Commission (2007)
  • The Standing Committee of the Council was set up in 1996 for continuous consultation and processing of matters for the consideration of the council.
  • The Committee consists of following members- 
  1. Union Home minister
  2. Five Union Cabinet Ministers
  3. Nine Chief Ministers
  • The Committee is assisted by Inter-State Council Secretariat, set up in 1991 and headed by a Secretary to Government of India.

Other measures to strengthen Centre state relations

  • Zonal councils- They are statutory bodies established under State Reorganization Act of 1956.
  1. It divides the country into 5 zones- Northern, Central, Eastern, western, Southern.
  2. They are only deliberative and advisory bodies.
  3. Each zonal council consists of-
  • Home minister of Central government (common chairman of the five zonal councils).
  • Chief Ministers of all the States in the zone.
  • Two other ministers from each state in the zone.
  • Administrator of each union territory in the zone.
  • Each chief minister acts as a vicechairman of the council by rotation, holding office for a period of one year at a time.
  • The secretarial functions of the Zonal Councils have been transferred to the Inter-State Council Secretariat with effect from 1st April, 2011.

National Integration Council

It was constituted in 1961. The latest meeting (sixteenth meeting) was held on 23 September 2013. The council was directed to examine the problem of national integration in all its aspects and make necessary recommendations to deal with it.

NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs, formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on January 1, 2015.

North-Eastern Council

  • It was created by a separate Act of Parliament— the North-Eastern Council Act of 1971. Its members include Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunchal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Sikkim.
  • It has additional functions as that of the other 5 councils like- 
  1. It has to formulate a unified and coordinated regional plan covering matters of common importance.
  2. It has to review from time to time the measures taken by the member states for the maintenance of security and public order in the region.

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