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Q 86- India's Neighbourhood First' approach is negatively influenced by constitutional crises in the country's immediate neighborhood. Discuss recent occurrences. (250 words)

  • Paper & Topic: GS I à Indian Society


  • Model Answer:


  • Introduction:


  • India is a federal republic, with the Centre and the States as the polity's cooperating subdivisions.
  • Nonetheless, India has an asymmetrical federalism, with the balance of power skewed toward the center.
  • Article 256 addresses the Union-state relationship and the State's obligations, whereas Article 365 requires state governments to respect and implement the Central government's directives.
  • The trajectory of Federalism is shifting from cooperative to confrontationalist as the dynamics of the party system change.


  • Body:


  • Strengthening India's federal polity:


  • Legislative/Administrative:


  • Separation of Powers: Schedule 7 of the Constitution establishes a clear division of powers between the federal government and the states.
  • (With the exception of emergencies, which are subject to court scrutiny.)
  • The Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear matters between states and the Centre under Article 131 of the Constitution. g.: In January 2020, Chhattisgarh filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the NIA Act.
  • Coalition administrations have improved the bargaining power of states.


  • Political:


  • Federalism is significantly more advanced when it comes to the imposition of President's rule under Article 356 of the Constitution.




  • Financial:


  • GST Council: The passage of GST is a beautiful example of cooperative federalism, in which the states and the federal government have sacrificed their taxing authority and created a single tax system to fulfill the dream of a single Economic India with 'One Nation, One Market.'
  • Until date, majority decisions have been made by consensus, with states casting two-thirds of the votes.
  • Since the 10th FC, the state's share has been steadily increasing until the 14th FC, when it devolved 42 percent.


  • Other Subjects:


  • NITI Aayog: The Aayog, which has taken over from the old Planning Commission, is promoting a bottom-up approach to development planning.
  • Sabka Saath is a Hindi film. Sabka Vikas involves states as equal development partners. There is a shift between collaboration and competition.


  • Indian federalism's limitations:


  • The Union is obligated under Article 355 to "... ensure that the government of each State is carried on in line with the provisions of this Constitution."
  • When state governments objected to the NPR, the Union argued that states have a constitutional obligation to carry out laws established by Parliament.
  • Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are the most important part of the Central Assistance to State Plans (CASP) program, which gives governments limited flexibility.
  • International Treaties and Agreements are enforced. This clause allows the federal government to meet its international obligations (Art. 253). Through the terms of this article, the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, was tabled in Parliament.
  • Article 200: Governor's reservation of state bills for President's assent.
  • Article 256 states that each state's executive power shall be exercised in such a way as to ensure compliance with Parliament's laws and any existing laws that apply in that state, and that the Union's executive power shall extend to the giving of such directions to a state as the Government of India deems necessary for that purpose.
  • Several difficulties hamper Centre-State interactions, including a trust imbalance and the shrinking of divisible pools. They make entire cooperation impossible when they work together.
  • On the one hand, the Centre has increased the states' portion of the divisible pool, while states are receiving a smaller amount in reality.
  • Many southern states, for example, are losing their share of tax revenue as a result of the 15th FC proposals.
  • The amount of money allocated to various social assistance initiatives has also decreased, hurting the health of the states.
  • Inter-state water disputes, such as the Mahadayi issue between Goa and Karnataka, and the Mahanadi water issues (between Odisha and Chhattisgarh), necessitate cooperation from all parties involved (centre and riparian states).




  • Federalism must be strengthened:


  • Multiple committees have advocated strengthening the Interstate Council, where the concurrent list of subjects can be debated and discussed, balancing the powers of the Centre and the states.
  • Because there is a scarcity of institutional space to resolve inter-state disputes, a constitutional organization like the ISC may be a viable option.


  • States should have autonomy: The center should draft model legislation that give states room to maneuver.
  • To avoid budgetary burdens, the Centre should provide sufficient budgetary support to states. In the state topics, there should be as little involvement as possible.
  • Democratic In genuine spirit, decentralization of administration and strengthening of governments at all levels. The notion of subsidiarity should be used to decentralize power.


  • Conclusion:


  • While increased powers for the Union may be justified in some areas (defense, currency, etc.), the Centre should respect the autonomy of the other two levels of government on the development front (education, health, etc.) and avoid the propensity to centralize authorities and functions.
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