[Answered] ‘Combative federalism is anathema to the Constitution which prescribes cooperation and collaboration between the Centre and the States’. Analyse in the light of recent friction in Centre-State relations.

Introduction: Give a background of federal relations in India.
Body: Explain the friction between Centre and States in Legislative, administrative and financial domains giving examles.
Conclusion: Explain the need to achieve cooperative federalism and give a way forward. 

The constitution makers of India envisaged a federal structure for the Indian polity, where the States function in cooperation and collaboration with each other and Union. However there have been several recent instances where Center-State relationship has deteriorated especially the States ruled by opposition political parties. 

  • Legislative relations –  
    • Misuse of Article 356 to dismiss the State Governments. The expression ‘combative federalism’ was used by a former CM whose government was dismissed under Art. 356 in 2016.  
    • Partisan role of Governor in legislative affairs: In Rajasthan, the Governor refused to summon a session as desired by the Council of Ministers. In Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the Governor acting beyond his constitutional brief by invited parties and formations which did not have an adequate majority to form the governments.   
    • Encroachment of Centre on the subjects mentioned in the list: Many experts view the recent farm acts passed by the Union government as encroachment on the state list. 
  • Administrative relations 
    • The proposed amendments to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) (Cadre) Rules of 1954, attempt to alter the terms of central deputation in favour of the Union Government and many states have opposed the changes.   
    • Deployment of central investigative agencies in the States: States argue that the Deployment of central investigative agencies violate federal principles as law and order is a State subject e.g., the investigation of gold-smuggling case by the NIA has been opposed by Kerala. Various States have withdrawn the general consent for the CBI in their respective jurisdictions.  
  • Financial relations- 
    • Allocation of financial resources:  Although the share of states in central taxes has increased states have complained of discrimination in allocation of resources. Use of 2011 census for population data by the 15th finance commission, was criticized by southern states.   
    • GST Compensation cess: The Inability of the Union Government to pay compensation cess, during the Covid-19 created an issue between center and states. 

This present trend of combative federalism is antithetical to the vision of constitution makers that wanted to create a cooperative and collaborative Indian polity.  

The idea behind the concept of collaborative federalism is negotiation and coordination so that differences which may arise between the Centre and the State Governments can be ironed out. The Union and State Governments need to rise above partisan politics and utilize forums like Interstate council and GST council to arrive at solutions.  

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