How the Seventh Schedule affects delivery of public goods
- Recently there is a Seventh Schedule issue related to the inclusion of a local body list.
- Citizens are increasingly demanding efficient delivery of such public goods as a countervailing force.
- Local governments, on the other hand, are unable to respond without delegation of funds, functions, and officials, which are currently left to the whims of state governments.
Delivery of Public Goods
- Leaving aside the restricted and technical definition of ""public good,"" we understand ""public good"" to be something that the government must provide.
- It can't or shouldn't be accomplished by the private sector.
- Regardless of whether private security guards are used, most people think that ""law and order"" is a public good.
- The majority of public goods that people conceive of are efficiently given at the local government level, rather than at the federal or state level.
The Basics of Seventh Schedule
- The seventh schedule under Article 246 of the constitution deals with the division of powers between the union and the states
- There are three lists in this document: Union List, State List, and Concurrent List.
- The union list: It specifies the topics on which Parliament may pass legislation (100 Subjects).
- The state list: It includes those who are governed by state legislatures (61 Subjects).
- The concurrent list: It includes topics that are governed by both Parliament and state legislatures.(52 Subjects).
- In the event of a conflict, the Constitution grants federal supremacy to Parliament on concurrent list items.
Why does the Seventh Schedule need to be reformed?
- Obsolete: The concepts of the 7th Schedule were derived from the Government of India Act of 1935, and the current version is identical to the one in 1950.
- Greater centralization: Items have been moved from the state list to the concurrent list and from the concurrent list to the union list. Rather than moving towards power decentralisation.
- Optimal service delivery: Every public good is delivered optimally at a specific degree of government. Both above and below that level, delivery becomes suboptimal.
- The majority of public goods that people conceive of are efficiently given at the local government level, rather than at the central and state levels.
- Effective delivery of services: Citizens are increasingly demanding that public goods be delivered in an efficient manner. Local governments, on the other hand, are unable to respond without delegation of funding, functions, and officials, which is now left to the discretion of state governments.
Supportive Arguments to bring reforms.
- Constituent Assembly Debates: former chief minister of Odisha emphasised the importance of incorporating broad principles into the selection of items for the Union, Concurrent, and State lists. Such ideas will greatly assist us in comprehending the lists. It was, however, rejected.
- The Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy has published a paper on how the Seventh Schedule should be improved. This is something that N K Singh, the Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, has repeatedly stated.
- A state administration formed the Rajamannar Committee to address the issue of growing centralization.
- However the Sarkaria Commission in 1983 and the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution in 2002, on the other hand, avoided this issue.