Failure of Indian Federalism

The Indian Federalism failed when these five states demanded for separate insurgencies: Kashmir and Punjab in North India and Mizoram, Nagaland and Assam in the Northeast, but after that no such case arise in which the secessionary revolt happened at the polity of two states as the ultimate purpose of Federalism in India to keep India as one nation as a whole.

Misuse of co-operative Federalism

Recently Jammu and Kashmir became a union territory which is a very landmark and appreciable step of the NDA government but every positive comes along with its negative, in the sense, as it does not have enough power to run along with other states in this ambiguous time and also does not have enough freedom to conserve its entity and this again is a call for the theory of centralized federalism where without the consent of the state legislature, the status of ineffectiveness is being given to Art. 370 which is directly the misuse of cooperative federalism by the central government[1]

Weakening of co-operative federalism

 Every state has its own preferences and the problems which centre misinterprets sometimes and take the undue advantage of cooperative federalism, in case of Kerala, where the financial freedom of the states are taken away in a very futile manner. The Chief Minister is Pinarayi-Vijayan who was denied appointment by Prime Minister as he wanted to discuss the unequal ration distribution in his state and other states are also demanding for 50% of loan waiver to be taken into consideration by centre, but the centre impulsive and incentive attitude towards all the demands of states leads to the weakening of cooperative federalism.

Cross-border terrorism

In the year 2008, November, when the terrorist attack held in Mumbai, seizing two grand hotel, killing up Indians, the whole India was asking for the unreasonable delay on the part of government and commandoes in providing security to the victims, the commandoes or central agencies are being trained to counter urban terrorism were at that time based in Delhi because they cannot enter into another state without permission of state police and state co-operation. After  various debates and interviews were held at that time, concluding that the loophole lies in the centre-state laws which is inviting a major threat and challenge to India as question arises why police action was prevented for so long, what orders from the system itself were given which let the life of innocent beings to be taken up?

 The division of 3 lists under Indian Constitution, according to which the government can act on the concerned subject-matter, “public order” was in the state list during attacks, and not in the other two lists.

 The case in which Indian Airlines flight was been diverted from Kathmandu to Kandhar as releasing the terrorist from Indian Jails was being appreciated by Minister of External Affairs and the flight was from Delhi, so it was a state based crime and not a federal crime which means crime at both national and state level, it is the concept of US and has not been evasive till yet in India.

The Central Bureau of Investigation is an ex-post investigating authority and not intelligence collecting agency unlike America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, state police has become corrupted and they close the matter without even looking into it but according to the structure, state police have to report first and the investigation cannot be taken up by CBI sou moto. To investigate it needs an order from the Supreme Court or High Court which takes a lot of time or it can grant permission from state police to investigate. The cooperation is not always forthcoming. The investigation by CBI is purely depend on the permission of State government initially and exclusively, exception being if PIL is filed in the Higher Courts, then the probability of investigation be handover to CBI increases unless there are no chances of state granting permission so easily because of mundane politics and this is the vulnerable part of India’s federal structure. The possible reason of CBI is not being trusted authority by the state government, as it has caught in political crossfire to give shed to the adversaries accused of any crime and are politician especially when the state government is coalition of the central government.

States absolute power over weaker states

IndianConstitution laid the framework of Federal Functioning of government in 1950, and there had been no such records as states challenging the central legitimacy, but on the account of Indira Gandhi who sought to believe and announced that more the states become powerful, more the nation will become weak, but in last some decades, it is the belief of leaders that making the state powerful will lead to less governance problems. States are not fully but hand-fully embraced towards competitive federalism to strengthen the environment of business in the fields of land and areas having the political line.[2] This kind of federalism generated a lot of spirits but only to economically strong states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh as every state has different economy patterns, so the dilemma is whether this will be a continuing process or not as India is a developing nation and majority of the states is under debt or financially incapable. States like Assam, Bihar, Orissa, and West Bengal are getting special funding from the centre and without that funding, these states cannot even think of taking part in competitive federalism. Some states have favourable factors like skilled labour, educational institutions, capital, and industries while other lagged due to the absence of all these factors. The main loophole in competitive federalism is altering the basic structure of the Indian Constitution, a need for super legislative majority to organize people in a multi-party system. Following are the cases where states has generated economically and developing by eradicating the ground reality problems by amendments and other ways

[1] Mark Tully, ‘Kashmir: The weakening of Indian Federalism’ (Hindustan Times, 10 August, 2019)  >accessed 17 October 2020

[2] Anjali Dhingra ‘What makes India a federal country’ (iPleaders, 27July ,2019)>accessed 18 October 2020

Aishwarya Says:

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