West Bengal Memorandum

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A memorandum on relations between the Center and states was published and addressed to the Central government by the West Bengal Government (headed by the Communists) in 1977. The document, among other things, recommended The following changes should be made to the Constitution:

(i) The word “union” should be changed to “federal”;

(ii) The Center’s jurisdiction should be limited to defense, foreign affairs, currency, communications, and economic coordination;

(iii) All other subjects, including the residual, should be vested in the states;

(iv) Articles 356 and 357 (the President’s Rule) and 360 (the financial emergency) should be repealed; and

(v) The consent of the demands expressed in the memorandum were rejected by the central government.

Recommendations

The West Bengal Memorandum, a document produced by the Communist administration in West Bengal in December 1977, contained the following recommendations:

  • The word “federal” should be used in place of “union” in the constitution.
  • Only defense, foreign affairs, communications, and economic coordination will fall under the center’s purview.
  • Articles 356, 357, and 360 are deleted
  • Equal power to that of the Lok Sabha for the Rajya Sabha
  • Elimination of services across India
  • The states should receive 75% of the money the center collects in taxes.

National Commission to Review the Constitution’s Functioning (NCRWC)

Many of the recommendations made by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) were also made by the Sarkaria Commission. The following are a few of the novel recommendations:

  • According to Article 307, a statutory organization known as the Inter-State Trade and Commerce Commission should be created.
  • A committee made up of the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Minister of the relevant state should nominate the Governor.
  • The Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule should cover management of crises and disasters.
  • Before invoking Article 356 in the event of a political breakdown in a state, it is preferable to give the state a chance to clarify its position and make amends.
  • The topics that should be covered during discussions should be expressly stated in the Inter-State Council order from 1990.

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