In India, there has been a historical tradition of centralisation of power and authority, and a
government is considered efficient and effective if it is able to bring about
social transformation. Hence, very consciously the overwhelming share of
powers and responsibilities has been kept with the Union. But good governance
is no substitute for self-governance. Federal sharing of responsibilities
does not mean that the Union has what it has and shares in the powers that
the State have.
It is not correct to just say that there is too much of centralisation
because it is not the same level of centralisation or decentralisation in
all subjects. Structural changes have been introduced in the system. Yet,
some questions remains un-answered: Are the federal units institutions of
empowerment or are they institutions of governance? In the absence of fiscal
autonomy, how can these units be considered effective means of 'shared
governance, institutions of empowerment, or tiers of federal democracy?
There are federal dimensions to issues that, at first, appear to
constitutionally belong to one or the other tier of governance. Another
paradigm shift is because of economic opening up and 'liberalisation'.
Discourses on our federalism have high lighted union-states relations, and
issues of inter-states conflicts have remained neglected. All the existing
formulations need to be re-interpreted in the light of contexual changes and
new political-economic realities.
Manak Publications, New Delhi, 2004
ISBN No.81-7827-092-7, Rs.400/-.
1. Introduction - Akhtar Majeed
2. Understanding Indian Federalism: A Reading into the Content, Intent and Working of the Distribution of Responsibilities - Ajay Kumar Singh
3. Debating Emergency Provisions in Federal Governance
- Arshi Khan
4. Autonomy and Group Accommodation in India - Kumar Suresh
5. Thorny Issues of Intervention in the Sub-Federal Units - Akhtar Majeed
7. Further Readings