INDIA – A FEDERAL UNION OF STATES
Fault Lines, Challenge and Opportunities
Authored by Dr Madhav Godbole, Former Union Home Secretary & Secretary, Justice
Size: 23.5cm X 16cm
Page Count: 384
Genre: Political Structure & Process
Pub. Month: September 2021
IN THE LAST 70 YEARS SINCE THE ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION, India has transitioned into a multi-party democracy with a greatly polarised polity. It is time to take a closer look at how successful India has been in working its unique model of a Federal Union of States. Born amid the Partition, the emphasis in the Constitution on a strong Centre was understandable. But, that is no longer enough.
Some fault lines are now evident. Nonseparation of religion from politics, irritants in Centre-state relations, the institution of state Governor, division of legislative powers between the Union and the states, the official language dilemma, and the rising tide of sub-nationalism are clamouring for attention. India has single citizenship, but increasing state domiciliary restrictions are legalizing discrimination and undermining fundamental rights, more particularly, equality of opportunity in public employment. Even after the abrogation of Article 370, the ‘Kashmir problem’ continues to haunt.
Ways have to be found for strengthening cooperative federalism and creating a common market with greater economic, commercial and trade integration. Setting up of a constitutional court, and a trade & commerce authority of India require urgent attention. With the ineffectiveness of the Inter-State Council, alternate mechanisms need to be explored. India is sui generis in its wide diversity. The new strategy must be a cementing force.
The book comprehensively analyses these complex, sensitive issues from a policy perspective. The future of India’s federalism will depend on their resolution.
About the Author
DR MADHAV GODBOLE took premature voluntary retirement from the Indian Administrative Service in March 1993 when he was Union Home Secretary & Secretary, Justice. Previously, he was Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Secretary, Urban Development, in the Government of India. He has also been Chairman of the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, and Principal Finance Secretary, Government of Maharashtra. He was chairman of several government committees, including the Enron Power Project, and Management of India’s International Borders.
Godbole has written 26 books on public policy issues in English and Marathi. Of these, 15 are in English. Several of his English books have been translated into Marathi. The Hindi translation of his book, Secularism: India At A Crossroads, was published in 2018.
He has written over 500 articles in leading newspapers, journals and periodicals. He wrote a weekly column for two years in
Marathi daily Loksatta.
Godbole has an MA and PhD in Economics from Bombay University and an MA in Development Economics from Williams College, Mass., USA.
He and his wife Sujata live in Pune.
This is an erudite and timely study… Shri Godbole has rightly emphasized the need for putting in place correctives to bring about a structure of cooperative federalism that would ‘require a complete change in the mindset of the Centre and the States’.
—HAMID ANSARI, former Vice President of India
Madhav Godbole belongs to the vanishing tribe of civil servants who, in the words of Sardar Patel, represented the ‘steel frame’ of administration… [The book] is thoughtprovoking, and impels right-minded members of the public to seriously introspect about the several issues discussed therein… the book puts forward several out-of-the-box ideas for stemming the downslide.
—JUSTICE B. N. SRIKRISHNA, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India
An extremely valuable book… It is a comprehensive study touching on both political and economic dimensions of the structure as it has evolved… He also offers several interesting suggestions to make the structure truly federal. A must-read book by all policymakers, political parties and political analysts.
—DR C. RANGARAJAN, former Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, & Former Governor, RBI
An issue as urgent as fire rushing towards us. An author, both by his experience and erudition, uniquely able to guide us through treacherous pitfalls. Solutions that are as practical as they are suited to our immense diversity. A must for our times.
—ARUN SHOURIE, former editor, The Indian Express; former Minister,
Government of India; and a leading intellectual
Deeply thought-provoking and insightful. India’s federalism decoded—a must-read for every citizen who believes in a better future for India.
—DEEPAK PAREKH, Chairman, HDFC Bank, and a leading financial expert