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Tags Current Affairs

Use of ‘Union’ and ‘Centre’

Date: 02 July 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


A controversy has erupted in Tamil Nadu over the state government’s referring to the Prime Minister’s government as the Union government instead of central government.



Article (1) of the constitution refers to India as a Union of states. The Indian political structure is Federal with several unitary characteristics.



  • The controversy was earlier present only on social media but later became stronger after a BJP MLA demanded to know the reason behind the use.

  • The Chief Minister has said that there was no bad motive behind the use but it was in line with the principles of federalism.


Reasons for clashes

  • There has been no official translation of the constitution into Tamil language. There are some instances where ‘centre’ and ‘union’ words are used interchangeably.

  • Experts have said that the original constitution mandated the use of ‘union’ as more appropriate to refer to the government at the centre.

  • As the union government started getting powerful, the use of the word ‘union’ has been reduced to just symbolic.

  • Dr Ambedkar had justified the use of the word ‘Union’ because he envisioned India not as a ‘federation between states’ but rather a single country divided into units for easy administration.


Language controversy in Tamil Nadu

  • Tamil Nadu has made efforts to give precise translation from English to Tamil for political words. There have also been efforts to change some words.

  • Since the 1990s, many Sanskrit words in the translation have been replaced with appropriate Tamil words.

  •  The word ‘sabha’ used to determine assembly in the state has been replaced with satta peravai, since ‘sabha’ was a sanskrit word.

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