India's non-central non-government

R Jagannathan of the DNA argues that the Indian Constitution needs some serious re-sculpting in order to rectify the "inverted pyramid of power" which gives the states so little power that some of them resort to dirty tactics at the Centre in order to lay their hands on power, thereby rendering the the Central Government neither central nor government:
Thus we have a Lalu Prasad running the railways to impress voters in Bihar; we have a telecom ministry that is run from Chennai.
Jagannathan proposes "serious constitutional amendments" in order to "end this charade" and have state-level leaders "be happy running states rather than using central ministries to run local agendas":

[...] sooner or later we have to build a truly federal India. We are currently a union of states rather than a real federation, and this is simply unworkable. While political power has devolved to the states, economic power is at the centre. To send state politicians back to the states and keep central politics central, economic power has to be substantially devolved. There is no alternative to serious constitutional amendments for the same.
He echoes the thoughts of BANAVASI BALAGA on how to run India, and how power must be divided between the Centre and states:

First, we need to invert the economic pyramid by making states the primary entities of taxation and economic policy. All taxation, barring customs, should be state-led, and the finance commissions should decide what share of state revenues should go to the centre and not the other way around. The centre should control defence, currency and monetary affairs, communications, citizenship and national assets (highways, waterways, etc). The states would thus run their own economies, much like the countries of the European Union.
Jagannathan goes on to argue that article 356 of the constitution (which allows the central government to sack state governments) can be "safely abolished", and that the states must be empowered to sack the central government. Article 370 (which grants special status to J&K) can also be safely abolished according to Jagannathan, since all states would have powers over and above what this article grants J&K today.

It is heartening to see mainstream media come out of the rut and make attempts to understand the problems ailing India from a fresh and scientific point of view. The question which now needs to be asked is - how do we make sure that these most sensible thoughts echo in the parliament at Delhi ...errrr.... the Vidhana Soudha at Bengaluru?

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Anonymous said...

what can you expect when central govt sends "fact finding" commissions to karnataka to probe "church and pub attacks" inspite of law & order being a state subject.

Anonymous said...

ಕರುಣಾನಿಧಿ ಹಿಂದೆ ಒಂದು ಟೀವಿ ಇಂಟರ್‌ವ್ಯೂಅಲ್ಲಿ ಪೂರ್ತಿ ಫೆಡರಲ್ ಸಿಸ್ಟಮ್ ಬೇಕು ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಿದ್ದರು. ಅವರ ಹೋರಾಟದ ಗುರಿ ಅದೇ ಅಂತೆ. ಆದರೆ ಅದು ಆಗದ ವರೆಗೂ ಒಂದೇ ಲೋಕಲ್ ಪಾರ್‍ಟಿಯನ್ನು ಗೆಲ್ಲಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಸೆಂಟ್ರಲಿಂದ ತಮಿಳು, ತಮಿಳುನಾಡಿಗೆ ಬೇಕಾದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಸವಲತ್ತು ಪಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ.

ಗಮನಿಸಿರಿ, ವಾಜಪೇಯಿ ಸರಕಾರದಲ್ಲೂ ಡಿಎಂಕೆ ಮಂತ್ರಿಗಳಿದ್ರೂ, ಈಗಲೂ ಇದ್ದಾರೆ, ಒಟ್ಟು ಹತ್ತು ವರ್ಶ ಎಡೆಬಿಡದೆ ಎಂಟೆಂಟು ಮಂತ್ರಿಗಳು ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ.

ಹಿಂದೆ ಉ.ಪ್ರ. ಬಿಹಾರದಿಂದ ಹತ್ತಿಪ್ಪತ್ತು ಮಂದಿ ಮಂತ್ರಿಗಳು ಇರ್‍ತಿದ್ರೇನೋ.

ಫೆಡರಲ್ ಸಿಸ್ಟಮ್ ಬರದಿದ್ರೂನೂ ಇರವ ಸಿಸ್ಟಮ್ಮಲ್ಲೇ ಲಾಭ ಪಡೆಯೋದನ್ನೂ ನಾವು ಕಲಿಯಬೇಕಲ್ವ!

ಬರಹ ಚನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ

Sri Sai Skanda said...

Very valid points put forth by R.Jagannathan of DNA. One would have expected this fundamental line of questioning to have figured in Nandan NiLekani's "Imaging India in the 21st century" but this is sadly amiss.Not that it was something new.....but it would have been the one genuine idea that could have triggered a debate at many levels considering the publicity the book has got. And more importantly the very success of the other safety net of ideas is heavily depndent on making this one basic idea work.

The fall out of such a federal setup is eventually the rise of strong regional parties ( who understand the handicap of the current set up )that fight hard to protect the interests of their respective states, when in the true spirit of federalism, each state should have had enough powers to take care of its own and the strong regional identity of each state would have been a given. Maaysa avarE, you are bang on target here when it comes to TN's approach here.

Thanks Banavasi BaLaga for this wonderful article and also the other articles along these lines that have come out earlier.Hope this debate gathers steam across a majority of the states and we see some fundamental changes in Centre state power sharing in the near future.

Phantom said...

Jaganath's argument is in congruence with many, who have a penchant for a Federal India. Win-Win situation is only possible through this system where power rests with each state, and arm twisting is reduced to minimum.

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