Every country has a central government to look after the entire territory, while the country is divided into smaller administrative units called states or provinces. The central government handles foreign policy, currency, and defense, while the state governments are responsible for the welfare and development of their territories and populations. There are governments in place at both the central and state levels, and this article aims to highlight the differences between them.
- A state or provincial government is necessary because it is not possible for a single government at the center to administer large areas, and they can better address the hopes and aspirations of people in remote areas.
- Division of powers and revenue sharing is clearly demarcated between central and state governments, which helps maintain harmonious relations between them.
- Central government is more powerful than state governments and is responsible for the security of the whole country, while state governments focus on the developmental needs of their people and territory.
State governments are needed because it is not possible for the central government to manage large areas on its own. Delegation of powers to a subnational entity is crucial since the central government cannot fulfill the hopes and aspirations of people in remote areas. Moreover, there are cultural and linguistic differences within a country, which necessitate local governance. In fact, developmental works are often carried out more efficiently by local governments than if they were carried out at the federal level.
However, development is not the only responsibility of a government, and there are many subjects over which control is retained by the center. In some countries, such as India, there are subjects under central control, subjects under state control, and those where both governments can make laws, but central laws have an upper hand whenever there is a clash between them.
Typically, foreign relations, diplomacy, defense, homeland security, and currency systems are subjects that are overseen by the central government, while law and order, development, education, medical facilities, and healthcare are managed by state governments. Division of powers and revenue sharing is clearly demarcated between the central and state governments, thus reducing major problems when it comes to relationships between the center and states.
There are various systems in place in different countries pertaining to revenue sharing through tax collections and power sharing between state and central governments, but the upper hand is always with central governments, as they are more powerful than state governments. In India, for example, the central government has the power to dismiss a state government if it feels that law and order have broken down in the state and the state machinery has become ineffective. As far as relations are concerned, more harmonious relations exist when the same party governments are in place at the center and state level.