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Symbiotic Federalism

The federal government should be the manifestation of the principle of fairness towards the states.

With the re-emergence of the central governments led by a party with full majority, the federal principle of the Indian Constitution has been receiving a continuous jolt that seems to have become more serious in the present ruling dispensation. It, in the historical sense, would not be disproportionately wrong to say that this principle has been put on trial even more brazenly than was the case during the earlier stage of the one-party dominance system. In recent times, the ruling party at the centre has actively sought to ensure that governments in the states are either led by it or are forced to toe its line. While the centre actively contributes to undermine the federal principle, those state governments that toe the line of the centre passively contribute to the problem of the dilution of the principle.

The federal principle would expect the central government to make fairness towards the states as a consistent practice that is, therefore, above any discrimination. But this does seem to manifest in the approach that the central government is adopting towards those governments that are in opposition to the central government. As the thrust of the principle, the central government has to not only be fair in terms of the distribution of resources but be tolerant and patient towards the state governments in opposition. But one notices the growing impatience towards these state governments. This impatience is evident in the attempts to unsettle and, at times, subvert legitimately elected governments in the states. Among the larger states, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Rajasthan are the only states where the governments are led by opposition parties. The confrontational or heavy-handed approach of the centre in dealing with these states has been evident. Among these state governments, which are facing the ire of the centre, Maharashtra, perhaps, is one state that has been confronting the central interference that seems to be quite unwarranted. The central government is perceived to be intensifying its efforts to destabilise the Government of Maharashtra.

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Updated On : 28th Sep, 2020

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