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United We Stand

When did the concept of federal structure change in recent times?

1. A few decades ago Federal Structure had a unidimensional with Centre on top of all the States.

2. It was rarely seen as a synergy between the states, and a common strategy to develop and grow together.

3. New age Federal Structure is based on cooperative and competitive federalism. It is defined and re-emphasised with the formation of NITI Aayog.

What is Federalism?

1. Federalism is an institutional mechanism to accommodate two sets of politics – one at the regional level and other at the national level.

2. The Indian Constitution provides federalism with a strong centre by describing India as a “Union of States” which implies the ‘cooperative’ nature with certain unitary features.

3. The Union, State and Concurrent lists demarcate responsibilities and functions of the two.

Which are the objectives of federalism?

1. It has to continuously maintain a balance between the Centre and the States and decentralisation of resources.

2. Strengthening them by bringing the weaker leg forward and creating healthy competition among the states in the form of Health, Sanitation Rankings, etc.

3. Develop a culture and a set of values like mutual trust, and a spirit of cooperation among the people and policies.

4. Acknowledging and celebrating unity and diversity, respecting the boundaries as well as transcending the boundaries.

Where is the analogy for a federal structure?

1. The analogy for a federal structure is ‘the brain’ and ‘the body parts.’ They work in tandem with perfect synchronization.

2. Each organ is dependent on the other for smooth functioning and growth of the entire body.

Why is cooperative federalism necessary?

1. National unity cannot be built by streamlining differences.  The differences will only generate greater social strife and alienation.

2. A responsive polity sensitive to diversities and the demands for autonomy can alone be the basis for a cooperative federalism.

How has the pandemic taught lessons for cooperative federalism?

1. Due to the recent pandemic, all the resources have culminated in a single fight with the virus.

2. The states and centre have to get through this crisis together and work in a harmonic manner.