Indeed, it reached a point where the management of the pandemic has become a centre versus states issue. There is little doubt that the pandemic has exposed the Union Government’s commitment to a federal constitutional republic to a degree unmatched since its birth. This has become possible because the foundational framework of federalism and its design as laid out in the Constitution of India is not just weak but outdated.
In this essay, it is suggested that the current federal framework, which is colonial in its moorings, unionist in its ideology and patriarchal in its operations needs a complete rethink. Its instrumentalities which have evolved in the context of a closed command economy have to be redesigned to suit the needs and open regulated economy. The scope and remit of federalism has to be widened to include the newer forms of government intervention, which are aligned to the new economic structure.
THE NEW FRAMEWORK
In the new framework, the Centre should exercise leadership instead of control, and economic support instead of dominance. It is this that should form the basis of the new federal compact of the Union with states.
This is all the more important in the context of a distinct move from a republican democracy to a majoritarian one, which has far-reaching implications and consequences for the Indian nation and the nation-state; be the social compact with the people across the country or the politicaleconomic compact with states in the Union. This new compact should be based on the following four pillars:
The demise of the old control and command state has seen the rise of the new regulatory state in India;equally centralised, more pervasive and all-powerful. Post-1991, there has been a proliferation of “autonomous” regulatory institutions set up under Acts of Parliament in various sectors and spheres of the national and state economies. To a large extent, the direct ministerial and bureaucratic control has been replaced by indirect regulatory diktat. This regulatory state, as it is today, is nothing but an extended arm of the central government; not only in terms of the control but even in their design, the regulatory bodies are extremely Union-centric.
The states have very little role in this crucial area of public policy. The authority to set the regulatory standards rests with the Centre, while the state governments have to just report or at best monitor compliance. They don’t even have the authority to choose the combination of policies to meet the set standards. It is a wellestablished research finding that this form of delegation tends to be the least efficient form. In fact, the reverse form of delegation, in which state governments choose their own individual standards which the central government then decides how to collectively adhere to is seen to be the most efficient.
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As non-local mining concerns bagged most of the mining works across Kashmir, tendered at the peak of internet shutdown, thousands of people have been rendered jobless, reports Umar Mukhtar
With the Covid-19 pandemic dictating a new regime, most of the activities of life are getting into virtual mode. Owing to the communication blockade, Kashmir has finally managed its hiccups and is trying to manage the digital deficit. Shakir Ashraf reports about Kashmir’s new online stores
Successive governments have mindlessly “hired” people on an ad-hoc, provisional and temporary basis. They keep the government’s service delivery show going on at almost half of the daily wage guaranteed by law. Merely surviving on a hope that one day their services will be regularised, these more than 60,000 families are dying almost on daily basis. They are at the core of a social crisis, reports Yawar Hussain
THE VERSATILE: VICE-CHANCELLOR
Exactly this was a time of the year, 13 years ago in 2008, spring officially sprung, that I was finally a graduate. Out of college, I was looking forward to pursuing my further education outside the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. My family, however, wanted me to stay back.
Halt to sugar-cotton imports from India has not stalled the India Pakistan peace process. While the two sides are engaged in back-channel diplomacy, they do have differences on key issues as per the reports appearing in Pakistani media, reports Tahir Bhat
‘THE FEAR, THREAT AND SHRINKING SPACE FOR DISSENT IS A KEY FACTOR THAT MARKS WINS AND LOSSES IN KASHMIR'
Rajani Patil is a third-generation politician. Her grandfather, Ganesh Pingle, a member of the Gadar Movement, was hanged in Lahore by the British in 1915. Her mother, Shantabai Pingle married her father, Baram Patil while they were imprisoned by the British. The former Congress MP is now in-charge General Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir. Ms Patil to Tarushi Aswani about recent developments and challenges that shape party politics and mainstream politics in a post 370 Jammu and Kashmir.
SHOULD THERE BE A NEW FEDERAL COMPACT BETWEEN THE CENTRE AND STATES?
In the book, Beyond Covid’s Shadow: Mapping India’s Economic Resurgence, Haseeb A Drabu makes a case and suggests an alternative. Here is an abridged version of a chapter
FOR PEACEFUL SUMMER
Like Kashmir weather and politics, Indo-Pak relations are also unpredictable writes Zahoor Malik
Free-roaming dogs in Kashmir bite thousands every year. Though the authorities assert that they have been sterilising the dogs and managing the waste food, the availability of lot of free food is a key factor in the dog population surge, reports Syed Samreen
One of Srinagar’s oldest craftsmen, Ghulam Nabi Dar’s designs on the wood remain unmatched for their intricacy and detail, reports Khalid Bashir Gura
Reincarnation And Realpolitik
China, India, and the U.S. are vying to influence the selection of the next Dalai Lama
An Exclusive Interview With Nandakumar Narasimhan
The Little Red Train
A Room for Dad
Before Mom passed, I made a promise to her
THE DANGAL IN THE JUNGLE, PART 1
YOU KNOW YOU’RE SOMEBODY WHEN YOU’VE APPEARED ON AN INDIAN DANGAL POSTER — IN OTHER WORDS, IN A WRESTLING ADVERTISEMENT.
WOUNDS AND THE WOMB
JULIE PETERS explores how to heal a relationship with the sacred womb, a place of death, life, and possibilities.
Giant squirrels, giant lessons? Animal chaplain SARAH BOWEN explores what squirrels can show us about mindfulness.
E8 Caste and the Indian Tech Ivies
IIT grads are highly sought after in Silicon Valley. Are they bringing deep-rooted prejudices with them?
I was happily married, happily employed, just plain happy. Until the accident
IN SEASON Chickpeas (GARBANZO BEANS)
Chickpeas appear in early recordings in Turkey well over 5000 years ago. India produces the most chickpeas worldwide but they are grown in more than 50 countries. An excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, B vitamins, and some minerals, they are a nutritious staple of many diets. The name chickpea comes from the Latin word cancer, referring to the plant family of legumes, Fabaceae. It is also known by its popular Spanish-derived name, the garbanzo bean. Kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, and peanuts are other familiar foods found in this legume family.
When the Signal Goes Out
Government-ordered internet shutdowns are becoming more frequent