How did the Constituent Assembly of India protect the powers of the central government? Explain.
The need of a strong centre was one of the heated debates in the Constituent Assembly. Jawaharlal Nehru argued for a strong centre along with Dr B. R. Ambedkar. K. Santhanam from Madras however favoured more powers to the state. But the Constituent Assembly realised the importance of having a strong centre. It protected the powers of the centre in the following ways:-
- The Drafting Committee provided three lists of subjects—Union, State and Concurrent Lists. While subjects of key importance such as defence, home and finance were placed under the Union List, subjects such as agriculture and irrigation were placed under the State List. Both union and state governments had the right to make laws in the Concurrent List. However, the union government was more powerful while making laws on the subjects included in the Concurrent List.
- The union government was given control over mineral and key industries.
- Article 356 gave the union government absolute power over the state government as it could then take over the administration of the state during an emergency.
- The central government had all powers while levying taxes such as custom duties and company taxes. The union government shared income tax and excise duties with the state governments.
Thus, the Constituent Assembly of India protected the powers of the central government.