03 May Indian Federalism : An analysis regarding its future
Indian Federalism : An analysis regarding its future – Today Current Affairs
Context : India consciously adopted a version of federalism that made the Union government and State governments interdependent on each other (with latter more vis-a-vis the former) thereby violating the primal characteristic of a federal constitution i.e., autonomous spheres of authority for Union and State governments.
Today Current Affairs
India adopted federalism of a specific nature .After independence federalism is continuously strengthening . In fact, the objective of a welfare state can be achieved only through federalism . The structure of the Indian constitution seems sometimes quasi federalism , sometimes cooperative federalism and sometimes hybrid federalism where some features of federalism and some features of unitary can be seen . The Hindu Analysis
In fact our freedom fighters, mainly revolutionaries, wanted to establish federal governance in India . The HRA (Hindustan republican Association /Army) and HSRA (Hindustan socialist republican Association /Army) wanted to establish a federal Republic of the United States of India whose basic principle would be adult Franchise . However , J.L, Nehru was initially in the fever of extreme federalism before the partition. But as the partition was executed he supported unitary and gradually tending towards federalism . The contemporary discourse on federalism in India is moving on a discursive note across multiple dimensions, be it economic, political and cultural, to the extent that one is compelled to regard India to be at an inflection point vis-a-vis Center-State relations owing to increasing asymmetry. Without an active and committed citizenry a democracy can devour itself and, in this context, it is worth engaging with India’s federal ethos and the associated asymmetries.
Why India adopted centralized federal structure : The Hindu Analysis
In fact, In the Indian constitution, our constitution makers did not use the term federalism. Instead of it, they used the term Union which is indestructible . There are two types of government in India, the Union government and the state government . Both are mutually dependent over each other which is contradictory to the primary concept of federalism . In Indian constitution , big states has more representation in Lok Sabha and in Rajya Sabha . In fact in every manner of the constitution , big states are more powerful in comparison to small state .Article 3 of the Indian Constitution which allows the Union to alter the boundaries of a State without the latter’s consent, emergency powers, and concurrent list subjects of the Seventh Schedule wherein the Union possesses more authority than the State barring a few exceptions .
There are several reason because of which India had to adopt centralized federal structure : The Hindu Analysis
- At the time of partition of India , a threat of disintegration of India emerged because of the formation of Pakistan . Our leaders never wanted to accept any further disintegration of India . Therefore they advocated for the strong center. However they knew this fact very well that in such huge diversity extreme centralization could be survived for long time therefore they promised for proving federalism to India in future (Gradually states would provide more autonomy in future and ) and in the Directive Principles of State Policy , the federalism was promised to provide (Article 40 – More autonomy up to the lowest unit of the administration/ establishment of Panchayati raj System ). And hence our supreme court considered federalism as a fundamental structure of the constitution and in the case of S.R. Bommai vs Union of India case(1994) it was declared . However initially our leaders like J.B. Kripalani too spoke in favor of maximum autonomy to the States and regarded centralization to be at odds with liberty.
- We had not developed as a nation (Common feelings/ unanimous interest). Therefore, through extreme centralization we wanted to develop ourselves as a nation. therefore, initially through strong centralization, first, we wanted to unite us politically , then through common programme, we want to create common feelings and then we decided to provide autonomy gradually. The Hindu Analysis
- In such a diverse culture any central government policy could not be implemented . therefore we advocated extreme centralization
- The final reason involved the alleviation of inter-regional economic inequality. We could not resolve such problems without extreme centralized rule
Futuristic nature of the federalism : The Hindu Analysis
In diversified and pluralist countries , extreme centralism can not survive for a long time . The public welfare state can be established only through federalism or decentralization . However at the time of independence of India , extreme centralization was our compulsion but now the nationalism of India has been strengthened and the binding elements of the center and state have become more strong , so therefore we should provide autonomy at the lowest unit of the administration gradually. Now , in future , the federalism would be stronger . linguistic reorganization would not have been possible if India followed a rigid or conventional federal system.
Today Current Affairs
As per the above discussion , presently, the Indian constitution is not the federal constitution in its true means. It is quasi federal but it is tending towards federalism . In future the federal elements of the constitution would be stronger and it is true and should be accepted that federalism is only a tool to provide the public welfare state in a pluralistic country like India . federalism is the strength of India . Indian federalism is non destructible union of the state . the concept of the federalism is not new for India . we have been practiced federalism for thousands of the years . hence , for Indian context , the federalism would be intact .
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Source : The Hindu
GS Paper II