India has adopted a federal structure. In a federation there are two distinct levels of governments. There is one government for the whole country which is called the Union or Central Government. Also there is government for each Unit/State.
The United States of America is a federation whereas the United Kingdom (Britain) has a unitary form of government. In a unitary structure there is only one government for the whole country and the power is centralised. The Constitution of India does not use the term ‘federal state’.
It says that India is a ‘Union of States’. There is a distribution of powers between the Union/Central Government and the State Governments. Since India is a federation, such distribution of functions becomes necessary.
There are three lists of powers such as Union List, State List and the Concurrent List..
On the basic of this distribution, India may be called a federal system. The supremacy of the judiciary is an essential feature of a federation so that the constitution could be interpreted impartially. In India, the Supreme Court has been established to guard the constitution.
However, in case of Indian federalism, more powers have been given to the Union Government in administrative, legislative, financial and judicial matters.
In fact, The Indian federal set up stands out with certain distinctive unitary features.
The makers of our constitution while providing for two sets of government at the centre and in the states provided for division of powers favouring the Central Government, appointment of the Head of the State government by the Central Government, single unified judiciary, single citizenship indicate the unitary nature of our federalism. Therefore, it is said that India has a quasi-federal set up.