Union of States: A Comprehensive Guide to India's Federal System


Union of states: The constitution of India Defines the structure of Indian Federal system and its key specialties as Union of States. This is why, in Indian competitive examinations, “The Union of states” is a very important topic for candidates.

In this article, we are going to inform and educate you almost everything about Union of states such as Meaning of Union of States, Constitutional Provisions related to Union of States & why India is Union of States.

So, let’s start-

What is Meaning of Union of States?

To understanding it in a smooth way, the Union of States in India refers to the federal system of government in which the country is divided into states and union territories. The Union of India is the central government that governs the entire country as a single political entity, while the states within India have their own governments, constitutions, and legislatures with certain powers and responsibilities that extend across their respective regions.

The Union of India and the state governments share powers and responsibilities in a distribution that is outlined in the Indian Constitution.

Why India is a Union of State?

According to the Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Amedkar (Father of Indian constitution), there are two main reasons why the phrase “Union of India”, preferred as “Federation of India”:

  • American Federation was the result of an agreement among all the states of it, but this was not the case for India.
  • In the Indian federation, States do not have any right to secede (to leave) Indian federation.

This is the best way to understand why India is a Union of States.

What Are Features of Indian Federal System?

We have listed a few of most important Features of Indian Federal system that shows the Nature of Indian Federalism with its Unitary tilt-

Features Explained
Dual Government India has a dual government system with a central government at the national level and state governments at the regional level.
Written Constitution The Indian Constitution is a written document that defines the powers and responsibilities of the central and state governments.
Division of Powers The Constitution divides powers between the central government and state governments, with the central government responsible for national-level issues and state governments for regional issues.
Supremacy of Constitution The Indian Constitution is the supreme law of the land and all levels of government are bound by its provisions.
Independent Judiciary The Indian judiciary is independent of both the central and state governments and plays a vital role in resolving disputes.
Bicameral Legislature The Indian Parliament consists of two houses, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, to represent the interests of the central government and states respectively.
Emergency Powers The Constitution provides for emergency powers that can be invoked during times of national or state-level crises, giving greater powers to the central government.
Fiscal Federalism India practices fiscal federalism, where financial resources are shared between the central and state governments.
Single Citizenship Every citizen of India is a citizen of both the central government and state governments.
Cooperative Federalism India practices cooperative federalism, where the central and state governments work together to solve common problems and share resources.

Constitutional Provisions for Union of States

Article 1-4 are the provisions that is added to the constitution of India which talk about “Union of States” specifically. Articles 1-4 of the Indian Constitution, deal with the territorial extent of the Union of India. We have mentioned the content of each article below:

Article 1: Name and Territory of the Union

This article declares that India shall be a Union of States and defines the territory of India, which includes the states, Union Territories, and any territory that may be acquired by India in the future.

Article 2: Admission or Establishment of New States

This article gives the power to the Parliament of India to admit new states into the Union or establish new states by reorganizing the existing states.

Article 3: Formation of New States and Alteration of Areas, Boundaries, or Names of Existing States

This article provides the procedure for the Parliament to alter the areas, boundaries, or names of existing states or form new states by separating territories from existing states.

Article 4: Laws Made Under Articles 2 and 3 to Provide for the Amendment of the First and the Fourth Schedules and Supplemental, Incidental, and Consequential Matters.

This article specifies that laws made by Parliament under Articles 2 and 3 can also provide for the amendment of the First and Fourth Schedules of the Constitution and for any supplemental, incidental, or consequential matters.


Q1. What is the Union of India, and how is it different from the states within the country?

Ans: The Union of India is the central government that governs the entire country while the states are semi-autonomous regions with their own governments.

Q2. How many states is currently part of the Indian Union?

Ans: There are 28 states and 8 Union Territories in the Indian Union.

Q3. What are some of the major powers and responsibilities that are held by the central government in India?

Ans: The central government has powers over national policies, laws, regulations, and represents India internationally.

Q4. How does the Indian Union deal with issues related to linguistic and cultural diversity among its citizens?

Ans: The Indian Union recognizes and accommodates diversity through measures such as recognizing multiple official languages and providing minority protections.

Q5. What are some of the major challenges that the Indian Union is currently facing?

Ans: The Indian Union is currently facing challenges related to economic development, social inequality, environmental sustainability, and regional tensions.

Updated on: 15-May-2023


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