Power Sharing Notes Class 10 | Civics Chapter 1 Summary NCERT

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Belgium and Sri Lanka


It is a small country in Europe with a population of a little more than a crore, and has an ethnic
problem that is highly complex. It has borders with Netherlands, France & Germany.

(A) Of the country’s total population, 59 % live in the Flemish region and speak the Dutch language.
(B) 40% of people live in the Wallonia region and speak French.
(C) Remaining 1 % of the Belgians speak German.
(D) In the capital city Brussels 80 % speak French while 20 % are Dutch-speaking.
(E) The minority French-speaking community was relatively rich and powerful.
(F) Dutch-speaking people received benefits of economic development & education much later & this led to
tension between the two groups.
(G) The conflict between the two communities was more severe in Brussels because the Dutch-speaking people
constituted a majority in the country, but a minority in the capital.

Sri Lanka

  • It is an island nation, just a few kilometres off the southern coast of Tamil Nadu.
  • It has a population of about 2 crores.
  • Sri Lanka has a diverse population. The major social groups in Sri Lanka are –
    • Sinhala speaking which is 74 %. Tamil speakers which are 18 %. Tamil is also divided in two groups –
      • I. Tamil natives of the country are called ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’ (13 %)
      • Indian Tamil (Whose forefathers came from India as plantation workers during the colonial period) are 5 %.
    • Srilankan Tamils are concentrated in the north and east of the country.
    • Sinhala speaking people are Buddhists.
    • Tamils are either Hindus or Muslims.
    • About 7 % are Christians who are both Tamil & Sinhalas.

In Belgium & Sri Lanka the majority community, i.e., Dutch speakers & Sinhalas could take advantage of their numeric majority & impose their will on the entire country.

Majoritarianism in Sri Lanka

The leader of the Sinhala community dominated the government & adopted a series of majoritarian measures.

  • Srilanka become independent in 1948.
  • In 1956, an Act was passed to recognise Sinhala as the only official language, thus disregarding Tamil.
  • Sinhala applicants were favoured for university and government jobs.
  • The constitution gives special protection to Buddhism.
  • The result of these policies makes the Srilankan Tamils feel that –
    • Leaders were insensitive to their language and culture.
    • Government policies deprived them of equal political rights.
    • They were discriminated against in getting jobs & other opportunities.

Demands of Sri-Lankan Tamils :

  1. Recognition of Tamils as an official language.
  2. For regional autonomy.
  3. Equality of opportunity in securing education & jobs.
  4. Demand was made for an independent Tamil Eelam (state) in the northern and eastern parts of Srilanka.
    The distrust between the two communities turned into widespread conflict. It soon turned into a civil war.

Accommodation in Belgium

Belgium’s leaders recognised the differences that existed in the regional & cultural aspects. So they amended
their constitution four times so as to enable everyone to live together within the same country. Some of the
elements of the Belgian model are –

  1. Constitution prescribes that the number of Dutch and French-speaking ministers shall be equal in the central
  2. Many powers of the central government have been given to state governments of the two regions of the
    country. The state governments are not subordinate to the central government.
  3. Brussels has a separate government in which both the communities have equal representation. The French
    speaking people accepted equal representation in Brussels because the Dutch-speaking community has
    accepted equal representation in the central government.
  4. A 3rd kind of government called community government is elected by people belonging to one language
    community no matter where they live. This government deals with language-related issues.

Why power sharing is desirable?

Comparison: In Belgium, leaders realised that by a mutual arrangement for sharing power unity in the
the country was possible.
In Sri Lanka, the majority community wanted to dominate & refused to share power. This hindered the unity
of the country.

Power-sharing is good because :

  1. It helps to reduce the conflict between social groups.
  2. It is a good way to ensure the stability of political order.
  3. Power Sharing is good for democracy. It is the spirit of democracy because people have the right to be consulted on how
  4. they are to be governed.
  5. The first point is called prudential because it states that power-sharing will bring out better outcomes.
  6. Moral reasons emphasise the very act of power-sharing as valuable.

Forms of power-sharing

Many people felt that if the power to decide is dispersed, it would not be possible to take quick decisions and enforce them.
One basic principle of democracy is that people are the source of all political power, & people rule
themselves. In a good democratic government, due respect is given to diverse groups that exist in a society. Everyone has a voice in the shaping of public policies.
In modern democracies, power-sharing arrangements can take many forms. Power is shared among different organs of the government

1)Horizontal distribution of power:

  1. In this form of distribution, power is shared among different organs of government such as the legislature, executive and judiciary.
  2. This type of distribution advocates separation of powers in which different organs of government at the same level exercise different powers.
  3. The separation of powers ensures a check over the unlimited powers of each organ. This results in a balance of power among various institutions.
  4. It is also called a system of “checks and balances”.

2)Vertical Distribution of Powers :

  1. Under this form of power-sharing arrangement, power is shared among governments at different levels. e.g. a general government for the entire country and a government at the provincial level.
  2. A general government for the entire country is usually called the Federal government. In our country, it is called as central government.
  3. In some countries like India & Belgium, the constitution clearly lays down the powers of the government at different levels. This is called the “Federal division of powers”.
  4. All such division of powers involving higher and lower levels of government is called vertical division of powers.

3)Power-sharing among different social groups :

  1. In another way, power may also be shared among different social groups, such as the religious and linguistic groups.
  2. This type of arrangement is meant to give space in the government and administration to diverse social groups who otherwise would feel alienated from the government.
  3. This method is used to give minority communities a fair share of power.
  4. Community government in Belgium and Reserved constituencies in assemblies and Parliament in India are examples of this type of arrangement.

4)Power-sharing among political parties and pressure groups :

Sometimes power-sharing arrangements can also be seen in the way political parties, pressure groups and
movements control or influence power because in a democracy the citizens must have a choice among
various contenders for powers.


  1. Ethnic: A social-based division based on shared culture people belonging to the same ethnic group believe in their
    common descent because of similarities of physical type or of culture, or both. They need not always have the
    same religion or nationality.
  2. Majoritarian: A concept which signifies a belief that the majority community should be able to rule a country
    in whichever way it wants is known as “Majoritarian”. In this type of rule, they disregard the wishes and needs
    of the minority.
  3. Civil war: A violent conflict between opposing groups within a country is known as a civil war. Some times it
    becomes so intense that it appears like a war.
  4. Prudential: Based on prudence, or on careful calculation of gains and losses. Prudential decisions are usually
    contrasted with those decisions, which are based purely on moral considerations.
  5. Moral: It is a set of reasons which emphasise the intrinsic worth of power-sharing.
  6. Community government: A type of government which is elected by people belonging to one language
    community is called community government.
  7. Federal government: It is a type of government in which powers are shared among the different levels.
  8. Power-sharing: It is the distribution of powers among the organs of the government at different levels.
  9. Checks and Balance: A system in which each organ of the government checks the others which results in a
    balance of power among various institutions.
  10. Sri Lankan Tamils : Tamil natives of Sri Lanka are called Sri Lankan Tamils.
  11. Indian Tamils: The Tamilians whose forefathers came from India as plantation workers during the colonial
    period and settled in Sri Lanka are called Indian Tamils.
  12. Horizontal Distribution of Power: A type of distribution in which power is shared among different organs of
    government such as the legislature, executive and judiciary. They are placed at the same level.

We hope that these notes of Power Sharing will help the students of class 10 for scoring good marks in their school exams.

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