- Art 263 contemplates the establishment of an inter-state council to effect coordination between the states and between centre and states
- The President can establish such a council at any time it appears to him that public interest would be served by its establishment. He is also authorized to define the nature of duties to be performed by such a council and its organization and procedure
Constitution also defines certain duties for the council
- Inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may arise between the states
- Investigation and discussing subjects in which the states or the centre and the states have a common interest
- Making recommendation on any subject for the better co-ordination of policy and action
Composition of the council
- PM as chairman
- CM of all the states
- CM of UTS having legislative assemblies
- Administrators of UTs not having legislative assemblies
- Governors of states under President’s rule
- Six Central cabinet ministers, including the home minister, to be nominated by the PM
- Five ministers of the cabinet rank are permanent invitees of the council
- The council meeting are supposed to be held thrice a year and its decisions on all questions are decided by consensus
- A standing committee of the council was setup in 1996 for continuous consultation and processing of matters for the consideration of the council. The chairman of this standing committee is Union Home Minister
Benefits of inter-state council
- The ISC is the only multilateral centre-state forum that operates directly within the framework of the Constitution (Article 263 (b) and (c)) where topics like the GST and contemporary issues like disaster management, terrorism and internal security can be taken up.
- The constitutional backing of ISC puts the states on more solid footing—an essential ingredient in building the atmosphere of cooperation needed for calibrating centre-state relations.
- The council will help bridge the trust deficit between the centre and the states. If not always a problem solver, it at least acted as a safety valve.
Limitations of the council:
- It is just a recommendatory body to investigate and discuss subjects, in which some or all of the states or the Central government have a common interest.
- The Inter-state council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the states and Central government. Rather, President can establish it at any time if it appears to him that the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a council
- The interstate council is proposed to meet thrice a year. Inter-State Council has had just 12 meetings since it was set up in 1990. There was a gap of a decade between the 10th meeting in 2006 and the 11th meeting in 2016, and the council met again in November 2017.
- The ISC also has to have a permanent secretariat which will ensure that the periodic meetings are more fruitful.