Federalism Class 10 Notes for Clear Understanding

Looking to ace your Class 10 Social Science exam? Understanding the concept of federalism is crucial, and we're here to simplify it for you. In these comprehensive Class 10 Political Science Chapter 2 Federalism notes, we break down the fundamentals of federalism in a clear and concise manner, ensuring you grasp the concept with ease. With our simplified notes, you'll explore the key features of federalism, such as the distribution of powers, the significance of the Constitution, and the role of the judiciary. So, whether you're preparing for exams or simply want to enhance your knowledge, these Class 10 notes will equip you with the clarity and confidence needed to excel in your studies. Get ready to unlock the secrets of federalism and conquer your academic goals!

federalism class 10 notes pdf

SubjectSocial Science (Political Science)
BoardCBSE and State Boards
Chapter No.2
Chapter NameFederalism
Weightage 3 marks

"अगर आप सपने नहीं देखेंगे तो उन्हें पूरा कैसे कर पाएंगे?"

- दृढ़ता सिंह

Federalism Class 10 Notes

What is federalism?

  • Federalism is a system of government in which the power is divided between a central authority and various constituent units of the country.
  • Usually, a federation has two levels of government.
    • One is the government for the entire country which is usually responsible for a few subjects of common national interest.
    • The others are governments at the level of provinces or states that look after much of the day-to-day administering of their state.
  • Both these levels of government enjoy their power independently of the other.
Unitary GovernmentFederal Government
i. It has only one level of government.i. It has two or more levels of government.
ii. The sub-units are subordinate to the center.ii. The central government cannot order the state government to do something.
iii. The sub-units are answerable to the central government.iii. The sub-units are not answerable to the central government. Both are separately answerable to the people.

Key Features of Federalism:

  • There are two or more levels of government.
  • Different tiers of government govern the same citizens, but each tier has its own jurisdiction in specific matters of legislation, taxation, and administration.
  • The powers and functions of each tier of government are specified and guaranteed by Constitution.
  • The fundamental provisions of the Constitution cannot be unilaterally changed by one level of government. Such changes require the consent of both levels of government.
  • Sources of revenue between different levels are specified by the Constitution.
  • Courts have the power to interpret the Constitution and the powers of different levels of government. The highest court acts as an umpire if disputes arise between different levels of government in the exercise of their respective powers.
Coming Together FederationHolding Together Federation
i. 'Coming Together Federations' are formed when independent states come together to form a bigger state.i. 'Holding Together Federations' are formed when a large country decides to divide itself into sub-units.
ii. The state governments are strong in comparison to the central government.ii. The central government is strong in comparison to the state government.
iii. All state governments have equal power.iii. Very often the state governments have unequal powers.
iv. Example: the USA, Switzerland, and Australia.iv. Example: India, Spain, and Belgium.

What makes India a federal country?

  • Two or more levels of government: India has three levels of government (Centre, State, and Local levels).
  • Three lists: The powers are divided between the Centre and the States by three lists – Union list, State list, and Concurrent list.
  • Rigid Constitution: The fundamental provisions of the Constitution cannot be unilaterally changed by one level of government. Such changes require the consent of both levels of government.
  • Financial Autonomy: The revenue sources of both the Centre and States have been clearly defined, which ensures financial autonomy to both the Centre and the State.
  • Independent Judiciary: The Supreme Court has been given the power to settle disputes between different levels of government.

The Constitution provided a threefold distribution of legislative powers – Union List, State List, and Concurrent List. Thus it contains three lists:

  • Union List includes subjects of national importance like foreign affairs, defense, etc. The Union Government alone can make laws on these subjects.
  • State List contains subjects of state and local importance like police, trade, etc. The State Government alone can make laws on subjects mentioned in this list.
  • The Concurrent List includes subjects of common interest like education, forests, agriculture, etc. Both the Union and the State Governments can make laws on the subject mentioned in this list. In case of a dispute, the law made by the Union government will prevail.

The subjects which are not covered under these lists or subjects like computer software that came up after the constitution was made are called “Residuary subjects”. According to our constitution, the Union Government has the power to legislate on these subjects.

  • All States in the Indian Union do not have identical powers. Some States enjoy a special status.
  • States such as Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Mizoram enjoy special powers under certain provisions of the Constitution of India (Article 371) due to their peculiar social and historical circumstances.
  • These special powers are especially enjoyed in relation to the protection of land rights of indigenous peoples, their culture, and also preferential employment in government services.
  • Indians who are not permanent residents of this State cannot buy land or house here.

The Parliament cannot on its own change this arrangement: Any change to it has to be first passed by both Houses of Parliament with at least a two-thirds majority. Then it has to be ratified by the legislatures of at least half of the total States.

How is federalism practiced?

The policies adopted by India that ensured this success are:

  • Linguistic states: Many old states have vanished and many new states have been created. Areas, boundaries, and names of the states have been changed. This was done to ensure that people who spoke the same language lived in the same state. Some states were created to recognize differences based on culture, ethnicity, or geography.
  • Language policy: Indian constitution did not give the status of national language to any one language. Hindi was identified as the official language. Besides Hindi, there are 21 other languages recognized as Scheduled Languages by the Constitution. States too have their own official languages.
  • Center-state relations: Restructuring Centre-State relations have strengthened federalism in practice. After 1990, there was a rise of many regional political parties and it was the era of coalition governments at the center. This led to a new culture of power sharing and respect for the autonomy of state governments.

Decentralization in India

When power is taken away from central and state government and given to local government it is called decentralization.

The advantages of decentralization in a democracy are:

  • The basic idea behind decentralization is that there are a large number of problems and issues which are best settled at the local level. People have better knowledge of problems in their localities.
  • They know better where to spend money and how to manage things efficiently.
  • Besides, at the local level, it is possible for people to directly participate in decision-making. This helps to inculcate a habit of democratic participation.

Major steps were taken by Indian Government toward decentralization in 1992:

  • Constitution mandate to hold regular elections for local government bodies.
  • Reservation of seats in the elected bodies and the executive heads of these institutions for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other Backward Classes.
  • Reservation of at least one-third of all positions for women.
  • Creation of an independent institution called the State Election Commission in each state to conduct panchayat and municipal elections.
  • The state governments are required to share some powers and revenue with local government bodies.

Rural Local Government

Rural local government is popularly known by the name panchayati raj.

Gram Panchayat: This is a council consisting of several ward members, often called panch, and a president or sarpanch. It is the decision-making body for the entire village.

Gram Sabha: All the voters in a village constitute a Gram Sabha.

Functions of a Gram Sabha:

  • To approve the annual budget of the Gram Panchayat.
  • To review the performance of the Gram Panchayat.
  • To elect the members of the Gram Panchayat.

Panchayat Samiti: A few gram panchayats are grouped together to form what is usually called a panchayat samiti or block or mandal. The members of this representative body are elected by all the panchayat members in that area.

Zila Parishad: All the panchayat samitis or mandals in a district together constitute the zilla (district) parishad.

Urban Local Government

  • Municipalities are set up in towns.
  • Big cities are constituted into municipal corporations.
  • Both municipalities and municipal corporations are controlled by elected bodies consisting of people’s representatives.
  • Municipal chairperson is the political head of the municipality.
  • In a municipal corporation, such an officer is called the mayor.

Impact of local self-government on Indian Democracy:

  • Constitutional status for local government has helped to deepen democracy in our country.
  • It has increased women’s representation and voice in our democracy.


  • Elections are not held regularly and enthusiastically.
  • Gram Sabhas are not held regularly.
  • Most state governments have not transferred significant powers to the local governments.
  • Local governments are not given adequate resources.

Some Key Words

JurisdictionThe area over which someone has legal authority. The area may be defined in terms of geographical boundaries or in terms of certain kinds of subjects.
Coalition governmentA government formed by the coming together of at least two political parties. Usually, partners in a coalition form a political alliance and adopt a common programme.
Must Read: Federalism Class 10 Political Science Chapter 2 Important Questions & Answers
Must Read:
Class 10 Revision Notes
Class 10 Important Questions

Hope you liked these Notes on Federalism Class 10 Political Science. Please share this with your friends and do comment if you have any doubts/suggestions to share.

Spread the love
WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now
Instagram Follow Now

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *