Federation is a process of dividing power between the centre and different constituents such as states, cantons, provinces, and so on. The term “Cooperative Federalism” means a subset of the federation where state, national, and local governments interact cooperatively and collectively to overcome the common barriers. They create different policies separately but less or more equally or engaging over a policy in a system dominated by the national government in India.
Cooperative Federalism in India
As per the Indian constitution, all the state are an integral part of the country as well as provincial and unions have to work together. It means India is a federal country however this federalism is singular federalism that’s states are deemed as a subordinate administrative unit. Apart from having subordinate status, states have to indulge most of the basic administrative duties.
The fact is, the role of the state and central government in the administrative structure has been in-depth stated by 1935’s India Act and Indian constitution. In brief, the entire mechanism of administration has been established by 1935’s India Act and Indian constitution.
Although, the central government has the power to control state however the central government has to use that power with restraint. It means in particular conditions and specific manner, the central government can use this power. As per Article 356, the central government has the power to dismiss the incumbent state government and continue administrative work of state government. However, for this, the administrative decision of state government requires parliamentary consent.
Besides it, cooperative federalism establishes such a bond in which the national government has right to create the policies at the high-priority and behaviours of state governments, through the use of funding in cash or kind, amending the policies and norms.
For instance: If the federal government gets interested to renovate the national highways, then it would create grants in aid. This federal government will provide specific kind of funds to states to pursue the policy. The grantor funds given would use for buying required constituents or other supplies or might provide funding to pay road construction workers or contractors.
Why India Followed Cooperative Federalism?
Federalism is “a stable union of unstable states” in India. It was declared by the constituent assembly that states must be a significant part of India which can demy to quit any task. Thus, a need for the robust union existed and the constitution gave dominant authority to the central government.
But, sufficient authority was also relegated to the state with an intention to administer and govern the local government with high efficiency. All those arrangements have been revealed in the Union, and state list of 17th schedule.
With an intention to streamline the development process and improve the progress of all the regions, unity between state and the central government is utmost necessary. Such sort of cooperative federalism is highly needed especially in India because of its enormity, vastness and severe diversity.
The fact is the cooperative federalism in India has highly affected by the policy of the Simon Commission and resultant Government of India Act, 1935. Once the 1935 Act was established, the Indian constitution has massively drawn its tribes. Cabinet mission which split India into different groups like Group A, B and C was another significant factor endowing India to grab federalism.
How Cooperative Federalism Works in India?
This policy has been worked in India in the following manner:
- Division of Powers,
- The supremacy of the Constitution,
- A Written Constitution,
- Authority of Courts.
Under this policy in the Constitution, Center has assigned dominant authority as evident from the following:
- States have to exercise their executive authority accordingly the law created by the Central government. It may not hamper on the executive power of the Union within the States.
- Governors are appointed by the Central government to check the working of the States
- Centres have the authority to amend the legislative discretion of the state by taking permission from Rajyasabha
- The centre has authority to acquisition the executive of the States due to the queries like national security or failure of constitutional machinery of the State.
Cooperative Federalism in India is performed under the following rules
Article 263 of the Constitution has given the information for the establishing up of an Inter-State Council for discussion, surveys, and suggestions for better coordination of relation between the States and Central government.
The National Integration Council and the National Development Council are the two other imperative forums that ensure chances for discussion to sort out differences of opinion. For this, central councils have been created by different ministries to strengthen cooperation.
The Zonal Councils establish up under the State Reorganisation Act 1956 ensure another institutional mechanism for inter-state and centre- state cooperation to sort out the differences and strengthen the framework of cooperation.
Cooperative Federalism in India – Advantages and Disadvantages
The fact is the structure of Indian administration has been set by 1935’s India Act. With some tiny amendments, the structure has been adopted by the Indian constitution. As stated above, the structural duties of provincial and union government have been clearly stated.
Moreover, there are a few matters which should be addressed by both state and central government. All these matters are clearly stated category wise listed in 7 schedules, however, Article 249 ensures power to the parliament make rules on those subjects which are coming under the state jurisdiction if resolution approves in state council with a two-thirds majority.
As per Article 265 of the constitution, it is compulsory for the central government to share revenue. For this, the finance committee has been constituted by the Indian constitution through article 280 for the distribution of revenue between the state and central government. In brief, the whole mechanism has created up for the cooperative federalism by the Indian constitution.
Accordingly the constitution, it is compulsory for central government to share revenue however the central government has the authority to distribute funds accordingly their convenience. In order to distribute that funds and establishing policies, the central government constitute a planning commission.
A Lack of dispute solving mechanism
Unfortunately, in the Indian administrative system, there is a lack of a mechanism to sort the barriers between state and central government. Though article 262 ensures the power to the centre to get initiative to sort out the barriers, the however central government never took such initiative.
Because of this, there are many disputes that are still pending in the Supreme Court, especially the dispute related to sharing of water of different rivers.
As per surveys, interviews, and customers’ reviews, it has concluded, there should be a constitution of the different institute for overcoming the barriers arising between the state and centre government or between two states. In brief, a special mechanism should be established for the integral development of the entire nation.
In the last decades of the 19th century, unfortunately, industrialization has started in the western region of India and still, most industries are assembled in the western region. Only a few have extended in the western region. There was no existence of industrialization on a large scale in the northern and eastern region.
Due to the absence of industrialization and financial activity in the eastern and northern region resulted in the underdevelopment of these that’s why a demand of separate state exists in some state.
During the surveys, it has concluded that for balance development, there should be an alternative model of development. But this criterion is not possible in India due to the diverse country having diverse resources in different parts.
Although, the detailed structure of cooperative federalism has been set up by the constitution. Besides, there is a detailed mechanism of administration established by the constitution as well. However, this mechanism required thorough implementation and suitable amendments, also need to address new challenges.
Due to the advent of Modi government, there have been changes in the administrative structure. The termination of the planning commission and establishment of Nity Ayog play an important amendment in our administrative system. Let’ see how many changes will be done to improve the overall structure of cooperative federalism in India.