Article 263 of the constitution provides for the establishment of an Inter-State Council (ISC). The Commission under the Chairmanship of Justice R. S. Sarkaria in its report in 1988 recommended that:
A permanent Inter-State Council called the Inter Governmental Council (IGC) should be set up under Article 263. The IGC should be charged with the duties set out in clauses (b) and (c) of Article 263, other than socio-economic planning and development. Thus, in 1990, Inter-State Council was established.
Composition of ISC
- Prime Minister as the Chairman
- Chief Ministers of all the States
- Chief Ministers of Union Territories having Legislative Assemblies
- Administrators of the Union Territories not having Legislative Assemblies
- Governors of the States under the President’s rule
- Six Central Cabinet Ministers, including Home Minister, to be nominated by the PM.
Significance of ISC:
Constitutional Backing– Unlike other platforms for Centre State cooperation, ISC has constitutional backing which puts the states on more solid footing.
Platform for Dialogue- In times of different political parties heading the Centre and various states the need for dialogue assumes a greater importance. Thus, ISC provides a platform for states to discuss their concerns.
Decentralized decision making– If the goal of a more decentralised polity, which needs interaction between various levels of government, is to be achieved, Interstate Council is a crucial first step.
Makes governments more accountable– Given its status as a platform for dialogue and discussion, it makes the governments, both at Centre and state level, more accountable for their actions.
A safety valve- The council helps to bridge the trust deficit between the centre and the states. If not always a problem solver, it at least acted as a safety valve