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Day 8 – Q 5.Has India’s federal polity been successful in addressing regionalism? Critically assess.

5. Has India’s federal polity been successful in addressing regionalism? Critically assess. 

क्या भारत की संघीय राजनीति क्षेत्रवाद को नियंत्रित करने में सफल रही है? समालोचनात्मक आकलन करें।


To be sure, regionalism is rooted in India’s manifold diversity of languages, cultures, tribes, communities, religions and so on, and encouraged by the regional concentration of those identity markers, and fueled by a sense of regional deprivation. For many centuries, India remained the land of many lands, regions, cultures and traditions. 


Different Forms of Regionalism

  1. a) Demand for State Autonomy: Regionalism has often led to the demand by states for greater autonomy from the center. Increasing interference by the Centre in the affairs of the states has led to regional feelings. 
  2. b) Secession from the Union: This is a dangerous form of regionalism. It emerges when states demand separation from the Centre and try to establish an independent identity of their own.
  3. c) Demand for Full statehood: In India, Most of the Union Territories were not in favor of 14th amendment of the constitution. Therefore, as consequence, the Union territories of Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya and Goa were granted the status of full statehood and the remaining union territories are demanding full statehood.
  4. d) Inter-State Disputes: Today, many states are making demands for the merger of territory of belonging to other states and for just division of river waters. Disputes between states over the sharing of river water, primacy given by the states to the language of majority and to people of their own states in job opportunities have also given rise to feelings of regionalism. Migration of people from backward state to a developed state for employment opportunities have often resulted in a hostile attitude against the migrants for example, problems going on in Karnataka and A.P. 

Yes, India’s federal polity has been successful in addressing regionalism

  • Provision of autonomy within 5th Schedule and 6th Schedule.

  • Linguistic reorganization of states with passage of States Reorganization Act of 1956.
  • Three language formula, special grants to backward states.
  • Federal institutions like Inter-State Council, NITI Aayog, and GST Council.
  • Creation of new states like Telangana and Uttarakhand.
  • Initiatives like ‘Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat’ to promote the spirit of national integration through a deep and structured engagement between all Indian States and Union Territories through a year-long planned engagement between States.
  • Incentives for Promoting Investment in Backward Regions like Income Tax Concession and tax Holiday in order to give stimulus to new industries in backward regions.

 No, India’s federal polity has not been successful in addressing regionalism

  • Regionalism was deliberately encouraged by many with the result that the people of each region thought more in terms of their region rather than that of India as a whole Bengalis, Gujaratis, Marathis, Punjabis and what not were made conscious that they were the sons of the soil and that they should care for the development of their own region rather than that of the country as a whole.
  • All India Services and a strong central government, was envisaged though India was made a federal polity. In addition, in the constitution every step was taken to ensure that the feelings of regionalism were cut down from the very roots. But with the passage of time, it has become very clear that regional feelings very much thrive in India.
  • Local leaders, in order to maintain or rather strengthen their leadership, very much exploit regional feelings. They talk of regional imbalances and regional backwardness and try to exploit the feelings of the people of the land by pleading that central authorities are deliberately maintaining regional imbalances and trying to keep an area in state of backwardness.
  • They are made to feel that new industries are knowingly not being established in the area and thus the state is being economically as well as socially kept backward. Without caring for the realities and difficulties of the people these leaders exploit their sentiments make efforts to convince them that in the state means of transportation are not being developed, no educational centers being established and so on.


  1. Doing away with regional imbalance: If the national resources are distributed in a balanced manner, the problem of regionalism will be mitigated.
  2. Top priority to the economic development of deprived zones: if top priority is given to economic development of those areas where the people have developed the feeling of relative deprivation, the situation will improve and they can be drawn into the national mainstream. 
  3. Developed means of Transport and Communication: Most of the backward regions of the country do not have proper link with the rest of the country through transport and communication system. Due to this reason their interaction and contact with other regional groups become restricted and they develop a, feeling of alienation. 


While regionalism highlights regional issues and provides an opportunity to address them, it also has negative impacts like instability, internal security challenge, affects national politics. Uniform development of all regions should be taken up so that no region feel isolated and left behind. Government needs to come with innovative solutions so that problems of regionalism are meaningfully solved.

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