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UPSC Previous Year Questions (Prelims): Federal System | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE PDF Download

Q.1. Which one of the following in Indian polity is an essential feature that indicates that it is federal in character? (2021)
(a) The independence of judiciary is safeguarded
(b) The Union Legislature has elected representatives from constituent units
(c) The Union Cabinet can have elected representatives from regional parties
(d) The Fundamental Rights are enforceable by Courts of Law

Correct Answer is Option (a)
Key features of federalism:

  • There are two or more levels (or tiers) 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 jurisdictions of the respective levels or tiers of government are specified in the constitution. So the existence and authority of each tier of government is constitutionally guaranteed.
  • The fundamental provisions of the constitution cannot be unilaterally changed by one level of government. Such changes require the consent of both the levels of government.
  • 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. The most important feature of the federal system adopted by the Indian Constitution is the principle that relations between the States and the centre would be based on cooperation. And for this, Independent Judiciary is the prerequisite. Hence, Option (a) is correct.
  • Sources of revenue for each level of government are clearly specified to ensure its financial Autonomy.


Q.2. Which one of the following is not a feature of Indian federalism?    (2017-I)
(a) There is an independent judiciary in India.
(b) Powers have been clearly divided between the Centre and the States.
(c) The federating units have been given unequal representation in the Rajya Sabha.
(d) It is the result of an agreement among the federating units.

Correct Answer is Option (d)
Indian federation is not the result of an agreement among the states unlike the American federation. So, "D" is not the feature of Indian federalism.


Q.3. Which of the following special powers have been conferred on the Rajya Sabha by the Constitution of India?    (2012 - I)
(a) To change the existing territory of a State and to change the name of a State
(b) To pass a resolution empowering the Parliament to make laws in the State List and to create one or more All India Services
(c) To amend the election procedure of the President and to determine the pension of the President after his/her retirement
(d) To determine the functions of the Election Commission and to determine the number of Election Commissioners

Correct Answer is Option (b)
Rajyasabha can pass a resolution empowering the parliament to make laws in the state list and to create one or more All India Services. This is a special power that has been conferred on the Rajya Sabha by the constitution.

The document UPSC Previous Year Questions (Prelims): Federal System | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course Indian Polity for UPSC CSE.
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FAQs on UPSC Previous Year Questions (Prelims): Federal System - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What is the federal system in the context of the UPSC exam?
Ans. The federal system refers to a form of government where power is divided between a central authority and various regional or state governments. In the context of the UPSC exam, understanding the structure and functioning of the federal system is important for the Polity and Governance section.
2. What are the key features of a federal system?
Ans. The key features of a federal system are as follows: - Division of powers: There is a division of powers between the central government and the state governments, with each having their own spheres of authority. - Written constitution: A federal system is typically governed by a written constitution that outlines the powers and responsibilities of the central and state governments. - Independent judiciary: The federal system usually has an independent judiciary that interprets and safeguards the constitution. - Dual government: A federal system operates with two levels of government - the central government and the state governments, each with its own set of powers and responsibilities.
3. How does a federal system promote decentralization of power?
Ans. A federal system promotes decentralization of power by distributing authority between the central government and state governments. This allows for the delegation of powers and responsibilities to the local level, giving state governments the ability to make decisions on matters that directly affect their respective regions. This decentralization of power helps in addressing regional aspirations and needs, promotes local governance, and ensures a more inclusive and participatory decision-making process.
4. What are the advantages of a federal system?
Ans. Some advantages of a federal system are as follows: - Power sharing: A federal system allows for power to be shared between the central government and state governments, ensuring a broader representation of diverse interests and perspectives. - Local autonomy: State governments in a federal system have the autonomy to address local issues and implement policies that cater to the specific needs of their regions. - Flexibility: A federal system provides flexibility in governance, as it allows for experimentation and adaptation to regional variations and challenges. - Checks and balances: The division of powers between the central and state governments, along with the presence of an independent judiciary, ensures a system of checks and balances, preventing the concentration of power in one authority.
5. How does the federal system in India differ from that of the United States?
Ans. The federal system in India differs from that of the United States in several ways: - Asymmetrical federalism: India follows an asymmetrical federal system, where different states have different levels of autonomy and powers. In contrast, the United States follows a symmetrical federal system where states have equal powers. - Strong central government: The central government in India has more powers and authority compared to the United States, especially in areas such as finance, emergency provisions, and inter-state relations. - Single citizenship: India has a concept of single citizenship, where citizens are considered citizens of both the country and the state they belong to. In the United States, citizens are primarily citizens of the country and their respective states. - Language and cultural diversity: India's federal system is designed to accommodate its vast linguistic and cultural diversity, whereas the United States has a more homogenous culture and language. Note: The complexity of the questions and answers may slightly exceed that of the text to ensure comprehensive coverage of the topic.
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