Important History: Committees Constituted to resolve center and state problems

Center VS State: Committees that resolved their problems

There has always been a bone of contention between the Centre and State governments regarding the laws made on concurrent list items. To get rid of these issues the government  constitutes different commissions/committees from time to time. Among these there were four important commissions that gave their valuable recommendations for the betterment of Centre and State Relations. Let us take a look:

Setalvad Committee

It was appointed in 1966 by the Administrative Reforms Commission(1966-69) under the chairmanship of M.C. Setalvad to study and make recommendations with respect to various aspects of Centre-State relations.

One of the most important points about this committee was that it did not recommend for any constitutional amendments regarding giving more autonomy to the states rather it suggested, transferring of more financial resources and administrative powers to the states. The committee believed that these measures would not only reduce the tension areas between the Centre and the states but will also lead the economy and a sense of determination in the administration of the Union and the states.

Raja Mannar Committee

This committee was  appointed by the government of Tamil Nadu under the chairmanship of Raja Mannar on September 22, 1969 for the purpose of studying Centre-State relations in totality and making recommendations about granting more autonomy to the states.

The committee submitted its recommendations to the government of Tamil Nadu in 1971. It suggested for an Inter-state Council with all the chief ministers as members and headed by Prime Minister. It also suggested for dissolving the Planning Commission and replacing it through a statutory unit consisting of scientists, technical experts etc. Making finance Commission a permanent body, transferring certain subjects of Union and Concurrent list to State list.

Sarkaria Commission

It was appointed by the Union Government in 1983 under the chairmanship of Justice Ranjeet Singh Sarkarai to make an exhaustive study of the Centre-State relations and make suitable recommendations. The Commission submitted its report in Jan 1988 and made several recommendations but did not agree to the demand of amendments in the constitutions. Major recommendations are as follows-

1. An inter-state council should be constituted for resolving differences between union and states

2. The state should be given right to amend the subjects included in the state list Union Governments should consult the state government before enacting any law related to a subject included in the concurrent list

3. The commission accepted the demands of the states that an Expenditure Commission should be set up at the Union Level.

4. In totality the commission suggested that the union Government should exercise its power only in those matters which require a common policy and action in larger national interest.

Punchhi Commission

It was appointed in April 2007 by the Central Government under the Chairmanship of retired Chief Justice of India Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi in order to review the Centre State Relations and to make necessary recommendations. In totality the Punchhi commission provided 312 recommendations to the government. Some of the major ones are as follows-

1. Recommended procedures to ensure smooth co-operation of the states in terror investigations entrusted to NIA.

2. The commission recommended that the Communal Violence Bill should be amended to allow deployment of Central forces without the state’s consent for a short period.

3. The Punchhi commission also recommended that the person who is slated to be a Governor should not have participated in active politics at even local level.


The Setalvad Committee, the Raja Mannar Committee, the Sarkaria Commission and the Punchhi Commission can be called as the 4 pillars that provided a base through its recommendations to the Centre-State relations. There have always been the disputes between the state government and the central Government but these commissions tried their level best to resolve those issues through suggestive measures. They hold an immense importance in the history and polity of Indian Government. One of the most important points about these committees /commissions is that none of them asked for the direct amendment of the constitution.


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