Federalism is in the air

New Delhi's attempt to completely centralize the regulation of higher education in all the states seems to have met its match, with many states actually calling the attempt as non-federal. Writes Aditi Tandon in the Tribune on May 29, 2010:
The proposed overarching regulator for higher education in India will not be “all-powerful” and “centralised.”

Following stiff opposition from the state governments, some of which (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Gujarat) rejected the old draft of the National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill 2010 as anti-federal, the Centre-appointed taskforce working on the draft law today finalised its “federal” version, allaying the concerns of states.
Note that, of the major south Indian states, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are glaringly absent from the list of opposing states. While Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Gujarat at least the ability to decode Kapil Sibal's dictatorial moves, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have some ground to cover here. They have apparently failed to realize that the states' right to rule themselves is basically being usurped by New Delhi.

Although the issue of higher education is not completely resolved and the new "solution" not completely satisfactory, the move towards federalization of the Indian polity, in general, is clear. It is high time Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh wake up and join the league of states leading India towards true federalism.


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