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CBSE Class 10 Power Sharing Notes


Power is shared to ensure a stable and fair democracy.

Belgium and Sri Lanka

Challenges of Ethnic Diversity Shows Importance of Power-Sharing in Democracies

that you can understand with the examples of Belgium and Sri Lanka because both have Different Contexts, and Similar Tensions

Ethnic Composition of Belgium:

Belgium, a small European nation, has a ethnic diversity centered around language:

  • Flemish (Dutch) – 59% (North)
  • Walloon (French) – 40% (South)
  • German – 1%
  • Capital Brussels (Bilingual):
    • Tensions (French 80% / Dutch 20%)

It Challenges for:

  • Majority Imposing Will on Minority
  • Risk of Internal Conflict/Partition

This language distribution reflects the underlying ethnic composition of Belgium.

Ethnic Composition of Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka, a island nation, has a ethnic diversity centered around language:

  • Sinhalese (Buddhist) – 74% (South)
  • Tamils (North & East): (Hindu or Muslim) – 18%
    • Sri Lankan Tamils (13%)
    • Indian Tamils (5%)
  • Christians – 7%

It Challenges for:

  • Majority Imposing Will on Minority
  • Risk of Internal Conflict/Partition

This language distribution reflects the underlying ethnic composition of Belgium.

Majoritarianism in Sri Lanka

1948 Sri Lanka emerged as an independent country. Sinhala Community (majority) Seek Dominance:

Majoritarian Measures

  • Language Policy (1956): Sinhala Only (Tamil Marginalized)
  • Preferential Policies: Favoring Sinhalese in Jobs and Education
  • Constitutional Changes: Buddhism favoured, Other Religions Downplayed

Impact on Sri Lankan Tamils

  • Alienation and Exclusion
  • Political Discrimination: Denied Rights and Opportunities
  • Strained Relations: Sinhala-Tamil Divide Widens

Tamil Response

  • Political Activism: Parties and Movements Emerge
  • Demands: Language Rights, Autonomy, Equal Opportunities
  • Separatist Movement: Calls for Independent Tamil Eelam (state)

Escalation of Conflict

  • Distrust and Tension
  • Civil War: Eruption of Violence and Casualties (1983-2009)
  • Humanitarian Crisis: Thousands Killed, Displaced, and Refugees

Accommodation in Belgium (Belgian Model of Power-Sharing)

  • Belgium noticed Need for Accommodation: Changes to Include Diverse Communities
  • They changed their constitution four times between 1970 and 1993.
  • They came up unique solution with 4 Key Element

Belgian Model of Power-Sharing

Equal Representation

Central Government:

  • Equal Number of Dutch & French Ministers

Special Laws:

  • Require Support from majority
    of members of each Linguistic Groups


  • Transfer of Power from Central to Regional State Governments
  • State Governments Independent of Central Government

Brussels Governance

  • Separate Government with Equal Representation for
    Dutch & French
  • Concession by French Community (as majority) for Dutch Representation in
    Central Government

Community Government

Third Level:

  • Elected by Language Communities (Dutch, French, German)
  • Authority Over Culture, Education, and Language Issues

Why power sharing is desirable?

Here are reason why power sharing is desirable

Reduces Conflict:

  • Prevents Violence and Political Instability
  • Promotes Social Harmony and Stability

Long-Term Unity:

  • Fosters Lasting Cohesion Within Nations
  • Avoids Short-Term Unity at the Cost of Long-Term Division

Prevents Tyranny of the Majority:

  • Protects Minority Rights
  • Ensures Long-Term Stability for All

Democratic Imperative:

  • Power Sharing Reflects the Spirit of Democracy
  • Citizens Have a Right to Participate in Governance

Legitimate Government:

  • Citizen Participation Creates a Stake in the System
  • Enhances Legitimacy of Government Institutions

Two Approaches:

  • Prudential: Focuses on Better Outcomes Achieved Through Power Sharing
  • Moral: Emphasizes the Intrinsic Value of Power Sharing as a Just System

Forms of Power Sharing

Old Ideas (Authoritarian Rule):

  • Concentration of Power
  • One ruler or small group holds all power.
  • Benefit: Quick decisions (perceived).
  • Drawback: Unrepresentative, potential for abuse.

Modern Ideas (Democracy):

  • Power-Sharing
  • People have a say through government institutions.
  • Everyone can participate in decision-making (laws, rules).
  • Benefits:
    • More representative government.
    • Reduces risk of abuse.
    • Builds a sense of ownership among citizens.

Forms of Power Sharing

Horizontal Division of Power

Shares power among government organs at the same level

  • Legislature (Makes laws)
  • Executive (Implements laws)
  • Judiciary (Interprets laws)


  • Creates checks and balances
    to prevent abuse of power.

Vertical Division of Power

  • Shares power between different levels of government
  • Central Government (National focus)
  • State/Provincial Governments (Regional focus)
  • Local Governments (Community focus)


  • Allows for addressing national and local needs effectively.

Division of Power among Social Groups

Shares power based on social identities

  • Power-sharing agreements (e.g., Belgium’s community government)
  • Reservations for disadvantaged groups


  • Promotes inclusion and reduces social tensions.

Division of Power among Political Parties & Pressure Groups

Shares power through competition and influence

  • Competition between parties representing different ideologies
  • Pressure groups influencing policy decisions


  • Ensures power doesn’t concentrate in one group and reflects diverse viewpoints.

Examples for each forms of Power Sharing

Horizontal Division:

  • Legislature: Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) makes laws.
  • Executive: President, Prime Minister, and Council of Ministers implement laws.
  • Judiciary: Supreme Court and High Courts interpret laws and ensure they are constitutional.

Vertical Division:

  • Central Government: Handles national issues like defense, foreign policy, currency.
  • State Governments: Manage regional issues like education, healthcare, agriculture.
  • Local Governments (Panchayati Raj): Address local needs like sanitation, water supply, primary education.

Social Group Division:

  • Reservations in government jobs and education for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
  • Religious and Linguistic Minority Rights: Protected by the Constitution.

Political Parties & Pressure Groups:

  • Multi-party system: Different parties (BJP, Congress, etc.) compete in elections, representing diverse ideologies.
  • Pressure groups: NGOs, trade unions, social movements influence policy through protests and lobbying.

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