How the Seventh Schedule affects delivery of public goods

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 246

Mains level : Paper 2- Need for review of the Seventh Schedule

Context

Without delegation of funds, functions and functionaries, local governments are unable to respond to pressure from citizens who demand greater efficiency.

Background of the Seventh Schedule

  •  Article 246 of the Constitution mentions three lists in the Seventh Schedule — union, state and concurrent lists.
  • The present Seventh Schedule and union (at that time Federal) list, state (at that time Provincial) list and concurrent lists are inherited from that 1935 piece of legislation.
  • It states that “Notwithstanding anything in the two next succeeding subsections, the Federal Legislature has, and a Provincial Legislature has not, power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List I in the Seventh Schedule to this Act.”

Delivery of public goods

  • Ignoring that narrow and technical definition of public good, loosely, we understand “public good” as something that must be delivered by the government.
  • It cannot, or should not, be delivered by the private sector.
  • Notwithstanding the use of private security guards, most people will agree “law and order” is a public good.
  • Most public goods people will think of are efficiently delivered at the local government level, not Union or state level.
  •  There is a Seventh Schedule issue that is thus linked to the insertion of a local body list.
  • Countervailing pressure by citizens increasingly demands efficient delivery of such public goods.
  • But without delegation of funds, functions and functionaries, presently left to the whims of state governments, local governments are unable to respond.

Need for the review of the Seventh Schedule Lists

  • No local body list: Most public goods people will think of are efficiently delivered at the local government level, not Union or state level.
  • There is a Seventh Schedule issue that is thus linked to the insertion of a local body list.
  •  But without delegation of funds, functions and functionaries, presently left to the whims of state governments, local governments are unable to respond.
  • The Rajamannar Committee — formally known as Centre-State Relations Inquiry Committee suggested constitution of a High Power Commission to examine the entries of Lists I and III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and suggest redistribution of the entries,”.
  • Changes in the past led to greater centralisation: Items have moved from the state list to the concurrent list and from the concurrent list to the union list.
  • Such limited movements have reflected greater centralisation, such as in 1976.
  •  N K Singh, Chairman of 15th Finance Commission has also often made this point, in addition to scrutiny of Article 282.

Conclusion

For the sake of better governance, it’s not an issue that should be ducked and the basic structure doctrine doesn’t stand in the way.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments