Federalism Class 10 Notes CBSE Political Science Chapter 2 [Free PDF Download]

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Federalism Class 10 Notes Political Science (Civics) Chapter 2 - PDF Download

The vertical division of power between various levels of government is one of the main forms of power-sharing in modern democracies. This Class 10 Social Science Political Science Chapter 2 Federalism focuses on that very type of power-sharing. It is usually known as federalism. The chapter starts by explaining federalism in general terms, the principles and methods of federalism in India. The discussion of federal constitutional provisions is followed by a discussion of politics and policies that have reinforced federalism in practice. Our local government, a unique and third level of Indian federalism is also discussed here.

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Access Class 10 Social Science (Political Science) Chapter 2 Federalism

What is Federalism?

  • Belgium had a unitary form of government. The regional governments had power but it could be withdrawn by the Central government at any point in time. 

  • It got changed in 1993 and they were given constitutional powers which changed it into a federal government.

  • A system of government in which the power is shared among the central authority and various other constituent units of the country is called federalism.


Two Levels of Government Exist:

  1. One exists at the national or the central level that is usually responsible for the entire country. They take care of few subjects that are of national interest.

  2. Others exist at the level of state or divisional provinces and look after the administration on daily basis.

  • In a unitary system of government, only one level holds political power or authority. If other levels of government are present they work as subordinates or under the central government.

  • A federal government, in contrast, cannot order the state or the local government to follow the guidelines generated by the central government. 


Key Features of Federalism Are:

1. More than one tier of government.

2. There are different defined laws and jurisdictions for different tiers in terms of legislation, taxation, and administration.

3. The Constitution defines the jurisdiction.

4. Courts can intervene and interpret the powers of government at any level.

5. For financial autonomy, the sources of income are specifically defined for each level of government.

6. This form of government has dual objectives: promotes the unity of the nation, along with accommodating regional diversity. 


What Makes India a Federal Country?

The Constitution provided for a two-tier system of government: the Union Government or Central Government and the State governments. Later Panchayats and Municipalities were also added.

 Since there is a three-tier of government, the Constitution states three lists:

  1. Union List:

  • Subjects like defense, foreign affairs, currency, etc. are included in the list.

  • These subjects are of national importance.

  • Laws related to this list are made by the Union List.

  1. State List:

  • Subjects like police, commerce, irrigation, etc. are covered under this list.

  • These subjects are of State and local importance.

  • Laws related to this subject are made by the state government.

  1. Concurrent List: 

  • Contains subjects of common interest to both the Union as well as the States such as education, forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption, and succession. 

  • Both the Central and the state governments can make laws in the Concurrent List.

  • Some States enjoy a special status such as Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Mizoram under Article 371 due to their peculiar social and historical circumstances. 

  • Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, the capital city of Delhi, is called Union Territories and the Central Government has special powers in running these areas.


How is Federalism Practiced?

Linguistic States

  • The creation of linguistic States was a significant step for democratic politics in our country.

  • In 1947, the boundaries of several old States of India were changed to ensure that people who spoke the same language lived in the same State. Some states like Nagaland, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand were created to recognize differences based on culture, ethnicity, or geography.

  • It helped to make the country more united and the administration was easier.


Language Policy

Hindi was identified as the official language but no language was given the status of the national language. Besides Hindi, there are 21 other languages recognized as Scheduled Languages by the Constitution. 


Decentralization in India

  • The process in which the power is taken from the Central and State government and distributed in the hands of local governments is called decentralization.

  • This idea was brought into account as there are many problems and issues that are better resolved and taken care of at the local level than state or central level. Hence several local institutes were set up to take care of them.

  • This initiative was taken by the Indian government in 1992 and the Constitution was amended to create a third-tier of government. This made Indian democracy more powerful and effective.

  • To bring this to power effectively, the following steps were taken:

  • Regular elections for these local bodies were made mandatory.

  • Seats were reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward classes to ensure their representation.

  • Women had one-third of the seats reserved for them.

  • State Election Commission was also established to conduct these elections.

  • Some share of power and revenue that the state government had was given to these local bodies.

  • Panchayati raj is the local government that is present in each village. A gram panchayat is also present in some groups of villages in some states.

  • Big cities and urban areas are taken care of by the municipalities.


Important Questions for Class 10 Political Science Chapter 2

1. State the dual objective of a federal system.

Ans: The federal system thus has dual objectives: to safeguard and promote the unity of the country, and accommodate regional diversity. These aspects are crucial for the institutions and practice of federalism. Governments at different levels should agree to some rules of power-sharing and trust that each would abide by its part of the agreement.


2. What are the factors that make the Indian federal government so attractive?

Ans: The following are the factors:

  • The powers are distributed and mobilized among center, state, and local governments.

  • The effective legal system and organized steps to make decisions make the process transparent and more trustworthy.


3. What steps were taken to make India into a federation?

Ans: The following were the steps:

  • Linguistic States: In 1947, the boundaries of several old States of India were changed to ensure that people who spoke the same language lived in the same State. Some states like Nagaland, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand were created to recognize differences based on culture, ethnicity, or geography. It helped to make the country more united and the administration was easier.

  • Decentralization in India: The process in which the power is taken from the Central and State government and distributed in the hands of local governments is called decentralization. This idea was brought into account as there are many problems and issues that are better resolved and taken care of at the local level than state or central level. Hence several local institutes were set up to take care of them. This initiative was taken by the Indian government in 1992 and the Constitution was amended to create a third-tier of government. This made Indian democracy more powerful and effective.


4. What is Union List?

Ans: Subjects like defense, foreign affairs, currency, etc. are included in the list. These subjects are of national importance. Laws related to this list are made by the Union List.


5. What is the State List?

Ans: Subjects like police, commerce, irrigation, etc. are covered under this list. These subjects are of State and local importance. Laws related to this subject are made by the state government.


6. What is a concurrent list?

Ans: Contains subjects of common interest to both the Union as well as the States such as education, forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption, and succession. Both the Central and the state governments can make laws in the Concurrent List.


7. What level of government can legislate on the residuary subjects?

Ans: India has a federal government and hence has its power divided between the state, central and local governments. The Union government has the power to legislate on the residuary subjects.


Definition of Federalism

What is Federalism?

Federalism is a structure of government in which the power is divided between the central authority and the various provincial units of the country. The federation has two different levels of government. Both these levels of government enjoy their power independently.

  • The first is the government of the whole country, usually responsible for a handful of subjects that are of common national interest.

  • Governments at the provincial or state level on the other hand are responsible for much of the day-to-day administration of their state.

Some of the main characteristics of federalism are:

  • There are two or more tiers of government. The same citizens are governed by different levels of government, but each level has its area of authority on specific matters.

  • The presence and power of each tier of government are promised by the constitution.

  • The fundamental provisions of the Constitution cannot be modified by a single government level. Such amendments require the approval of both levels of government.

  • The Courts have the authority to interpret the constitution and the authority of the various levels of government.

  • Sources of income for each level of government are explicitly stated to ensure its economic independence.

  • The federal structure has two objectives:

  • To secure and promote the unity of the country.

  • To include regional diversity.


What Makes India a Federal Country?

The provisions of the Indian Constitution apply to all the features of the federal system. The Indian Constitution distributes legislative powers between the Government of the Union and the Governments of the State. The division of subjects between them is given below:

  • The Union List: It includes subjects of national importance, such as the defense of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communications, and currency. The Union may, on its own, create laws relating to the subjects referred to in this list.

  • The State List: It contains subjects of provincial and local importance, such as police, trade, trade, agriculture, and irrigation. The Governments of the State may, on their own, create laws relating to the subjects mentioned in this list.

  • The Concurrent list: It includes subjects of common interest to both the Union government and the State government. The list includes education, forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption, and succession. Both the Union and State governments may create laws on the subjects mentioned in this list. If their laws disagree with each other, the law by the Government of the Union shall prevail.


How is Federalism Practised?

The true success of federalism in India is credited to its nature of democratic politics.  Let us look at some of the important ways through which federalism is practiced in India.


Linguistic States

The establishment of linguistic states was perhaps the most important exam for the democratic politics of India. From 1947 to 2017, many original states have disappeared and several new states were formed. Areas, borders, and names of States were changed. Some States were made up of people who speak the same language. These were known as linguistic states.


Language Policy

Language policy was its second test for the Indian Union. Hindi and English were identified as the official languages. Besides them, the Constitution recognizes 21 other languages as Scheduled Languages. States shall also have their official languages and government business shall take place in the official language of the State concerned.


Center-State Relations

Restructuring the relationship between the Center and the State is yet another way in which federalism was strengthened in practice. If no single party has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, major national parties could join forces with other parties, along with several regional parties, to form a coalition in the Centre.


Decentralization in India

When authority is transferred from the central and state governments and granted to local governments, it is called decentralization. The core principle behind the decentralization system is that there are a large number of issues that are best addressed at the local level. Local people also can participate directly in the decision-making process.

A huge step towards decentralization was taken in 1992. The Constitution has been modified to make the third-tier of the democratic system more powerful and effective. These are the main features of this democracy:

  • Regular elections of local government bodies are constitutionally mandatory.

  • Seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in the elected bodies and the executive heads of such institutions.

  • At least one-third of all the designations are reserved for women.

  • The State Election Commission in each State holds the panchayat and municipal elections.

  • Governments of the State are required to share some authority and revenue streams with local government bodies. The nature of sharing varies from one State to another.

The local rural government is commonly known as Panchayati Raj. Every village, or group of villages in certain states, has a gram of panchayat. It is a council comprising numerous ward members, often called 'Panch', and a president or 'Sarpanch'. They are elected directly by all adults living in a village or town. Gram Panchayat is the decision-making organ for the whole village.

The Panchayat operates under the supervision and control of the Gram Sabha. All the voters in the village are members of it. It must hold meetings at least two to three times a year to authorize the yearly budget of the gram panchayat and to monitor the performance of the gram panchayat.

When a few Gram Panchayat is grouped, they form Panchayat Samiti or Block or Mandal. The representative of Panchayat Samiti shall be elected by all members of Panchayat in that area.

All the Panchayat Samitis or Mandals in a district together make up the Zilla (district) Parishad. Members of the Lok Sabha district, MLAs of the district, some other representatives of other district-level organs are members of Zilla Parishad.

Just as Gram Panchayat is for rural areas, we also have municipalities for urban areas. Big cities are organized by Municipal Corporations. Both Municipalities and Municipal Corporations are governed by elected bodies made up of representatives of the people. The Municipal Chairperson is the elected head of the Municipality. Such an officer is called the Mayor of the Municipal Corporation.

This current system of local government is the biggest experiment in democracy in any part of the world. The constitutional status of local government has enabled us to deepen the roots of democracy in our country. It has also boosted the representation and voice of women in our democracy.


Difference between Unitary System and Federal System

The difference between the unitary system and the federal system has been mentioned in the table below:

Unitary System

Federal System

The Unitary System of government follows only one level of government and the Central Government is the head of the sub-units.

This type of system follows two or more levels of government.

The Central Government has the power to run the state government system and the legislation. 

In the Federal System, the Central Government does not have the power to pass any order to the State Government. 

In this system of government, the Central Government is the supreme body that is also in control of the administrative system and can also provide delegatory support whenever required. 

In the Federal System, the State Government is not in control of the Central Government and has its own power. 


CBSE Class 10 Political Science Other Chapter Notes 


Did You Know?

  • The 2011 census recorded more than 1,300 distinct languages which people claimed as their mother tongues.

  • Hindi, is the mother tongue of only about 44 percent of Indians and is the most widespread language in India.

  • Although the constitution did not use the word federation, the Indian Union is founded on the principles of federalism.


We hope that these notes helped you in getting a clear understanding of Federalism and how it is different from the Unitary system of government. These revision notes serve to be very useful during the last-minute exam preparation as it includes all the necessary points and concepts that are required for the examination. Students can download CBSE Class 10 Political Science Revision Notes for all the other chapters that are available on our website. Download free PDFs of CBSE Class 10 Revision Notes and kickstart your exam preparation smartly.

FAQs on Federalism Class 10 Notes CBSE Political Science Chapter 2 [Free PDF Download]

1. Describe India as a Federal Nation.

India is a federal state. But the word "federation" is never mentioned in the constitution once. Instead, what is mentioned is that India is a "Union of States." Many experts also believe India is a quasi-federal country. It means that it is a federal state with certain characteristics of a unitary government.


The constitution of India has effectively established a federal state of government. We have various levels of government, the government in the center, which is the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Then there are the various state governments, the Vidhan Sabhas and the Vidhan Parishad. And finally, there are the Municipal Corporations and the Panchayats, which are forms of local governance.

2. How are Federations Formed?

Two factors are essential for the institutions that practice federalism: mutual trust between various levels of government and a consensus to live together. There are two ways primarily through which federations have been formed.

  • The first way involves independent states grouping together on their own to form a larger unit. This kind of "coming together" federation is established in the USA, Switzerland, and Australia.

  • The second way is that a large country chooses to divide its powers between the constituent national government and the states. This kind of 'holding together' federations is implemented in the countries of India, Spain, and Belgium.

3. What is Federalism in Class 10 Chapter 2 notes?

Federalism is a form of governance in which two levels of government control the same area. Both the central government and the lesser political subdivisions have the authority to create laws, and they have some autonomy from one another. Federalism explains why each state has its own constitution and rights, such as the ability to determine the type of votes used in national elections. The United States of America is the most prominent example of a country having a Federalist political system. To know more about Federalism, refer to the notes by visiting the link NCERT notes for Class 10 Social Science.

4. What are the key features of federalism in Class 10 Chapter 2?

The key features of federalism are -

  • Two or more tiers of government: Federalism is a kind of governance in which power is shared between a central authority and its constituent entities.

  • Separate jurisdiction: Different levels of government control the same people, yet each has its own jurisdiction.

  • Constitutional superiority 

  • Rigid Constitution

  • The supreme authority of the courts: Courts have the ability to interpret the Constitution and the functions of various levels of government. The Supreme Court serves as a referee between different levels of government.

5. What makes India a federal country study rank?

The Constitution initially called for a two-tiered form of governance, with the Central Government representing the Union of India and the State Governments representing the states. Panchayats and Municipalities were later introduced as the third layer of federalism. All the significant characteristics of a federal government and their proper implementation make India a federal country. The hierarchy of the governments and the courts’ roles in maintaining law and solving disputes among these levels also play a crucial role. Download the Vedantu app and learn more about the federal country.

6. How can I download the PDF version of Solutions of Class 10  Political Science Chapter 2?

If you wish to avail of the Notes of NCERT Class 10 Social Studies Chapter 2, then -

  • Visit the page-NCERT notes for Class 10 Social Science.

  • The webpage with Vedantu’s Notes for Class 10 Social Studies Chapter 2 will open.

  • To download this free of cost, click on the Download PDF button and you can view the notes offline or print out the notes to have a physical copy for your reference.

Students can visit the Vedantu website or app to download the notes free of cost.

7. Do I need to practice all the questions of Class 10 Social Studies Chapter 2?

Yes, it is essential to practice and answer all questions since they span a wide variety of events and concepts and will provide you with a strong knowledge of the kind of questions that may be asked in those areas from an examination point of view. These questions will also help you learn how different questions on the same topic may be set and will familiarise you with the paper. You must be well-versed in all the definitions and events.

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