The Commission made extremely significant recommendations in this régard: It recommended that Article 356 should be very sparingly, in extreme cases as a last resort used. All attempts should be made to resolve the constitutional crisis at the state level before taking recourse to Article 356. Before taking action under Article 356 any explanation given by the State should be normally considered.
In a situation of political breakdown, the Governor should explore all possibilities of having a government enjoying the majority support in the Assembly. The Governor’s report on the basis of which a proclamation under Article 356 clauses (1) is issued should be given wide publicity in all the media and in full.
There should be a system of interchange of the officers of the State Armed Police Forces with those of the Central Reserve Police Forces, the Border Security Force and Union Army Forces. They should also have common regional training centres so as to facilitate better exchange of techniques and information and also a more integrated system of operations when the Union Armed Forces are deployed in aid of the Civil Power in a State.
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All India Services are considered necessary and are to continue to be one of the Premier institutions for maintaining the unity of the country. Any move to disband the All India Services must be regarded as retrograde and harmful to the larger interests of the country. Therefore the All India Services should be further strengthened by way of well-planned improvements in selection, training deployment development and promotion policies and methods. Every all India Service Officer whether he is a direct recruit or a promotee officer should be required to put in a minimum service under the Union Government. 19. The Union Government may dissuade the State Governments from using the powers of transfer, promotions, posting and suspension of All India Service Officers in order to ‘discipline’ them. 20. There should be regular consultations on the management of All India Services between the Union and the State Governments. For this purpose, an Advisory Council for Personnel Administration of All India Services may be set up with the Union Cabinet Secretary as its Chairman.
Inter-Government Council (Article 263)
21. A permanent Inter-State Council called the Inter-Governmental Council should be set up under Article 263. The separate identity of the National Development Council should be maintained. However, its status should be formalised and its duties are reaffirmed through a Presidential order passed under Article 263. It should also be renamed as the ‘National Economic and Development Council. The five present Zonal Councils should be constituted afresh under Article 263. The Chief Minister may be elected as Chairman annually by rotation. The Zonal Council may meet at least twice a year in the State of which the Chief Minister is the Chairman.
Recommendation regarding Financial Relations
The Commission has made the following recommendations regarding the financial relations between he-Centre and the State. It has accepted the major role of the Finance Commission. However, the suggestion has been made that the terms of reference of the Finance Commission should be drawn up after informal consultation with the States. The Commission has recommended that the Constitution should be amended to enable the Parliament to provide for the sharing of the Corporate tax. It has also suggested an amendment of the Constitution to enable levying taxes on an advertisement on broadcasting, in the media, to be distributed to the state under Article 269 of the Constitution.
The Commission has made some suggestions about the sharing of Income-tax and Excise duty. It has also suggested that surcharge on Income should be levied for specific purposes and for limited periods. Similar suggestions have also been made about the special cess, The Commission has suggested that grants should be given to the states in lieu of railway passenger fare tax as recommended by the Finance Commission.
The Commission has suggested a review of royalty rate of minerals etc. once every two years, as against the practice of reviewing it every four years. In regard to the assistance for natural calamities, it has been suggested that the State should be given the discretion to make some suggestions for the use of relief funds. Strict penalties should be imposed for diversion and misappropriation of funds.
The Centre should give consent to the State for borrowing from banks etc. for a period of less than one year. The system of Municipal Bonds should be introduced to enable local bodies to raise resources. The Commission also suggested setting up an expert body to recommend taxation and resource mobilisation of the Union and the State. It has also suggested the preparation of comprehensive and proper plans on the special government subsidy and the setting up of an official body to evolve steps for co-ordination of economic policing and to ensure consensus.
The General reactions of the State Governments ruled by opposition parties towards the report of the Sarkaria Commission has not been very enthusiastic. Most of them have viewed the recommendations of the Commission as totally inadequate. They probably desired a complete overhaul of the provisions concerning Centre-State relations.
The demands of the States are:
- Power of the Central Government to impose President’s rule should be severely curtailed.
- State Governments should be free to operate within their areas of legal and territorial jurisdiction.
- These State Governments desired that the Union List should be severely curtailed and should include only defence, foreign relations, general communications, currency etc. and all other powers should be vested in the States.
- The Commission has, however, rejected this demand on the ground that this would weaken the Centre to the extent of threatening the integrity of the country.
- The State Governments desired that they should have the greatest share in the Revenues out of taxation.
- They feel that at present they are too much dependent on the Centre for running and carrying out even limited functions assigned to them in the Constitution.
- The States also desired that the discretionary grants of the Centre should be totally abolished.
- They should get their share of resources as a matter of right this should be enshrined in the Constitution itself.
Some of the States have gone to the extent of suggesting that the institution of Governor should be abolished. According to them, the Governors have been used as agents of the Centre to create trouble for the opposition ruled states. On this point, the Commission has argued that most of the problems can be got over if good persons are appointed as Governors in consultation with the Chief Ministers of the concerned States. The Commission has suggested the development of healthy conventions to guide the actions.
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