• Federal structure refers to the establishment of independent government at central and state level with separate jurisdiction.
  • The authority is derived from separate power as given in the Constitution.
  • It is a kind of an agreement or treaty between different unit to create a political system known as Federation.
  • The concept of federation has various names in different countries – states in USA, cantons in Switzerland, provinces in Canada or republics in Russia etc.
  • Two ways to form federation are:

1) by way of integration (under which militarily or economically weak independent units/states come together to form a union, example -USA)

2) by way of disintegration (under which a big unitary state is converted into a federation by granting autonomy to the units/provinces to promote regional affairs, example – Canada)

  • Australia and Brazil also have federation structure.
  • In Indian Constitution, there is no mention of ‘federation’ word in it. But it is prevalent in the administration system to ensure better and smooth functioning of governance and to maintain such a large diversity.
  • As Article 1 of the Constitution says, India i.e., Bharat is a Union of States. It implies that, the union is not the result of any agreement between states and therefore can never be separated. This federal structure is a Union and indestructible in nature.
  • During British rule in India, the federal element was introduced by Government of India Act 1919 to divide powers between centre and provincial legislatures.



  • Dual Polity – The system of double government to maintain power at centre and state level.
  • Supremacy of the Constitution – The Constitution acts as the supreme law of the land. Judiciary ensures that basic structure of the Constitution is indestructible.
  • Written and Rigid Constitution – There is clear distinction between Constitutional law and ordinary law. The Constitutional part cannot be amended unlike the ordinary one.
  • Division of Powers – The jurisdiction has been divided among centre, state and local government under three lists i.e., Union, State, and Concurrent provided in Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Bicameralism – It means a state having two chambers of legislature. Just like Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at the centre, some Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, have two legislatures called as Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) and Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad).


  • Strong Centre – The Centre is provided with more powers with the Union List. The Parliament has right to make laws on some subjects under the State List and Concurrent List.
  • Destructible StateThe Federation is an indestructible Union of destructible states. It means the parliament has right to make laws to change or alter boundaries or change the names of a states.
  • Single and flexible constitution – There is only one Constitution as the rule of land. It has provision to amend ordinary laws by simple procedure.
  • Independent Judiciary – Establishment of an independent and integrated judiciary in India, with Supreme court at the Apex and high courts and district court at sub-ordinate level.
  • Single Citizenship – Our Constitution permits every individual, an equal and single right to citizenship irrespective of the state he or she is living.
  • Unequal representation of states in the Rajya Sabha – The basis of representation of the states in Upper House is the population of the state.
  • Governor’s appointment – the Union is responsible for the appointment of Governor of the states through the President.
  • Appointment in All India Services – Public service at centre and state level are separate but All India Service is common to both. Therefore, all the members of it are trained, recruited and controlled by the Union.
  • Integrated Machinery – Central machineries like CAG for audit, Election Commission are integrated and serves both Centre and State.
  • Emergency Provisions – It implies that the President has power to impose emergency rule in a state or even in whole country in case of any threat due to war, aggression or armed rebellion.

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