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Day 11 – Q 1.How does the scheme of constitutional federalism differ in India vis a vis the USA? Examine.

1. How does the scheme of constitutional federalism differ in India vis a vis the USA? Examine.

भारत में संवैधानिक संघवाद की योजना संयुक्त राज्य अमेरिका से भिन्न कैसे है? जांच करें।


Constitutional federalism is a scheme under which constitution provides for dual polity and division of power among them.  


The difference in Indian constitutionalism and American constitutionalism are as follows

  1.  Origin – While India has holding together federation where power is shared among various state and they derive their power from Indian constitution. USA has coming together federation where independent states come together to form a big unit and sacrifice some powers
  2. Citizenship – In India, there is single citizenship i.e. no separate citizenship of states but in USA, there is a dual citizenship states i.e. citizenship of states as well.
  3. Representation of upper house – In India, it is based on the population of states for eg UP has 31 members while Sikkim has only 1. But, in USA, equal representation is given to all states irrespective of population.
  4. Head of the state – In India, it is nominal and appointed by the centre while in USA, head of state is real and elected by the people.
  5. Judicial system – In India, there is integrated judiciary while in USA, state and union level has separate jurisdiction.
  6. Federation – In India, there is federal polity with union bias whereas in USA,  there is equal federal with rigid division of power.
  7. Flexibility – Indian constitution is flexible in term of amending federalism power for eg. Renaming state, redefining state boundaries while USA constitution is rigid.
  8. Residual powers – In India, there are vested to centre while in USA, same are given to states.
  9. Constitution – In India, there is single constitution while in USA, every state has their own constitution.
  10. In India, there is indestructible union with destructible states while in USA, there is indestructible union with indestructible states.

However, critics argue that Indian federalism is not pure federal but quasi-federal (K.C. Wheare). Ivor Jennings has described it as federation with strong centralising tendencies.


Our federation is established and evolved based on history, culture and societal problems. We are also moving towards true federalism through GST council, National development council etc. But we also need to understand the socio – cultural difference between the two countries. Our federation promotes unity in the diversity which needs strong centre to avoid conflicts like water, migration etc.

Best answer – Isaac Ali

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