Chapter 7: Federalism • The very existence of a State including its territorial integrity is in the hands of Parliament. The Parliament is empowered to ‘form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States…’. It can also alter the boundary of any State or even its name. The Constitution provides for some safeguards by way of securing the view of the concerned State legislature. • The Constitution has certain very powerful emergency provisions, which can turn our federal polity into a highly centralised system once emergency is declared. During an emergency, power becomes lawfully centralised. Parliament also assumes the power to make laws on subjects within the jurisdiction of the States. • Even during normal circumstances, the central government has very effective financial powers and responsibilities. In the first place, items generating revenue are under the control of the central government. Thus, the central government has many revenue sources and the States are mostly dependent on the grants and financial assistance from the centre. Secondly, India adopted planning as the instrument of rapid economic progress and development after independence. Planning led to considerable centralisation of economic decision making. Planning commission appointed by the union government is the coordinating machinery that controls and supervises the resources management of the States. Besides, the Union government uses its discretion to give grants and loans to States. This distribution of economic resources is considered lopsided and has led to charges of discrimination against States ruled by an opposition party. • As you will study later, the Governor has certain powers to recommend dismissal of the State government and the dissolution of the Assembly. Besides, even in normal circumstances, the Governor according to our needs. Chapter 7: Federalism after Independence Pakistan and India fought a war over Kashmir. Under such circumstances the Maharaja of Kashmir acceded to the Indian union. Most of the Muslim majority States joined Pakistan but J&K was an exception. Under these circumstances, it was given much greater autonomy by the Constitution. According to Article 370, the concurrence of the State is required for making any laws in matters mentioned in the Union and Concurrent lists. This is different from the position of other States. In the case of other States, the division of powers as listed through the three lists automatically applies. In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the central government has only limited powers and other powers listed in the Union List and Concurrent List can be used only with the consent of the State government. This gives the State of Jammu and Kashmir greater autonomy. In practice, however the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir is much less than what the language of article 370 may suggest. There is a constitutional provision that allows the President, with the concurrence of the State government, to specify which parts of the Union List shall apply to the State. The President has issued two Constitutional orders in concurrence with the Government of J&K making large parts of the Constitution applicable to the State. As a result, though J&K has a separate constitution and a flag, the Parliament’s power to make laws on subjects in the Union List now is fully accepted. The remaining differences between the other States and the State of J&K are that no emergency due to internal disturbances can be declared in J&K without the concurrence of the State. The union government cannot impose a financial emergency in the State and the Directive Principles do not apply in J&K. Finally, amendments to the Indian Constitution (under Art. 368) can only apply in concurrence with the government of J&K. Many people believe that a formal and strictly equal division of powers applicable to all units (States) of a federation is adequate. Therefore, whenever such special provisions are created, there is some opposition to them. There is also a fear that such special provisions may lead to separatism in those areas. Therefore, there are controversies about such special provisions.