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Day 7 – Q 4.Many important reforms have been stalled due to the compulsions imposed by India’s federal polity. Do you agree? Substantiate your views with the help of suitable examples.

4. Many important reforms have been stalled due to the compulsions imposed by India’s federal polity. Do you agree? Substantiate your views with the help of suitable examples. 

भारत की संघीय राजनीति की मजबूरियों के कारण कई महत्वपूर्ण सुधार नहीं हो पाए हैं। क्या आप सहमत हैं? उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से अपने विचारों को प्रतिस्थापित करें।


A federal government is one in which powers are divided between the national government and the regional governments by the Constitution and both operate in their respective jurisdictions independently. The Indian model of federalism is called quasi-federal system as it contains major features of both a federation and union. 


Despite having federal polity and clear demarcation of the subject there arises conflict in much legislation for reforms initiated in centre or state.

Legislation initiated in the centre:

There are three areas which cause hindrance in the legislative process due to the federal structure.

  1. Regional parties pressurizing centre government in Lok Sabha due to answerability in their respective regions.
  2. Constitutional amendment Bills passed by Lok Sabha are opposed and rejected in RS which is representative of states.
  3. Some Constitutional amendment bills need ratification of half of the states.

Reforms include political, social, financial and administrative reforms. Some of the examples of reforms which are pending or being stalled due to federal polity:

  1. Labour law reform.
  2. Land acquisition (amendment) bills.
  3. All India Judicial service.
  4. Electoral reform ex. Simultaneous elections.
  5. Interstate water dispute redressal which advocates for Permanent tribunal.
  6. Triple talaq bills.
  7. National education policy is pending because it is in concurrent list and States have their own systems.
  8. Agriculture market lack uniformity. Very few states implement NAM Act as agriculture is in the state list.

Legislation initiated in State:

Reforms initiated in states can be stalled by centre using executive machinery as many bills are reserved by centre nominated governor for the consideration by the president.

Ex. President withheld his assent to three anti-migrant bills passed by the Manipur Assembly which are aimed at regulating the entry and stay of migrants in the state.

Moreover, due to financial distribution and tax sharing mechanism, states lack financial autonomy.

Another side of the coin:

This hindrance is least or absent when single party majority is there in parliament and moreover most of the states having a government of party in the centre. 

Secondly, a consonance can be developed between the centre and states for the larger good and national interest. Ex: GST in the field of taxation reforms.

In the same manner, national bodies are formed with representation from states and local level. Ex. NMCG for Ganga cleaning. 

Along with these, other features of India’s federal polity such as Written Constitution, Supremacy of the Constitution and independent Judiciary also function as check and balance for any arbitrary action of centre and state and also avoid the misunderstandings and disagreements between the two.


Niti Ayog is providing new platforms for cooperative federalism for better administration and maximum governance. Both the union and states must follow principles of co-operative federalism and inculcate a spirit of mutual accommodation on matters of national and regional importance for stability and growth and development of country as a whole.

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