A Federal Governing system is one in which the powers of government are divided between a central government and several local governments. An authority superior to both the central and local governments makes this division of powers on a geographic basis; and that division cannot be changed by either the local or national level acting alone. Both levels of government act directly on the people through their own sets of laws, officials, and agencies. In federalism, there is a written constitution which formulates this power sharing arrangement between the state and its units.
These units, referred to as the provincial or regional governments, have the power to act independently in certain areas of governance. The power is shared between the national and regional or state governments. The local governments have exclusive powers to issue licenses, provide for public health, conduct elections and form local governments, look after the intrastate trade, to mention but a few. This political system is usually adopted to ensure greater safety and autonomy against any internal and external threats. India is the country of focus in this regard.
The federal system of India is governed in terms of the Constitution of India. The country of India is also referred to as the Sovereign, Secular, and Democratic Republic and has a Parliamentary form of government. The nation is basically a Union of 28 states and 7 Union Territories that work according to the Indian Constitution, which was adopted on the 16th of November 1949. In the Federal System of India, the head of the Executive Union is the President of the country. The real political as well as social power, however, resides in the hands of the Prime Minister, who in turn heads the Council of Ministers.
According to the Federal System of India, it is clearly stated in the Article 74(1) of the Indian Constitution, that the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers will advise and help the President. The Council of Members is answerable to the Lok Sabha or the House of People, as per the Federal System prevailing in India. The Indian Constitutionissubjecttochange;however,thischangecan only occur afterthebill is passed with a majority of votes in the Parliament House. Legislative powers are shared between the State Legislatures and the Parliament, while the rest of the powers are in the hands of the Parliament of India.
The Federal System in India conveys that the President, the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers and the Vice-President, together form the Union Executive. Federalism is followed not only in First World countries like the United States of America, Australia and Canada but also in developing countries like Mexico, India and Brazil. As true to every phenomenon, there are always advantages and disadvantages. The following are the advantages of the federal system of government. Localized Governance is an advantage to begin with. Every province in India has political, social and economic problems peculiar to the region itself.
Provincial government representatives live in proximity to the people and are usually if not always from the same community, this enables them be in a better position to understand these problems of a particular state or province and offer unique solutions for it. Attention is immediate and there is easy access to assessing the issue at hand. For example, traffic congestion in Shantipath, New Delhi is a problem that can be best solved by the local government in New Delhi, keeping local factors in mind, rather than by the local government in Mumbai. Secondly, local Representation is another advantage. Federalism offers representation to different populations.
Citizens of various provinces may have different aspirations, ethnicity and follow different cultures. The central government can sometimes overlook these differences and adopt policies which cater to the majority. This is where the regional government steps in. While formulating policies, local needs, tastes and opinions are given due consideration by the state governments. Rights of the minorities are protected too. For example, in states like Arizona where there is a large Hispanic population and therefore, a large number of schools provide bilingual education. Additionally, there is freedom to form policies.
State governments have the freedom to adopt policies which may not be followed nationally or by any other state. For example, same-sex marriages are not recognized by the federal government of USA but they are given legal status within certain states like Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Massachusetts. Furthermore, there is also optimum utilization of resources. Division of work between the central and the regional governments leads to optimum utilization of resources. The central government can concentrate more on international affairs and defense of the country, while the provincial government can cater to the local needs.
In addition to the above, another advantage is the scope for innovation and experimentation. Federalism has room for innovation and experimentation. Two local governments can have two different approaches to bring reforms in any area of public domain, be it taxation or education. The comparison of the results of these policies can give a clear idea of which policy is better and thus, can be adopted in the future. On the other hand, federalism no doubt has many positives as shown and highlighted above. The following points give the disadvantaging side of the federal system of government.
To begin with, a prominent disadvantage of federalism is the conflict of authority. Sharing of power between the center and the states includes both advantages and disadvantages of a federal organization. Sometimes there is overlapping of work and subsequent confusion regarding who is responsible for what. This Can Lead to Corruption. It can lead to duplication of government and inefficient, over-lapping or contradictory policies in different parts of the country Pitches State vs State. Federalism leads to unnecessary competition between different regions.
There can be a rebellion by a regional government against the national government too. Both scenarios pose a threat to the country’s integrity. Adding on, there is uneven Distribution of Wealth. It promotes regional inequalities. Natural resources, industries, employment opportunities differ from region to region. Hence, earnings and wealth are unevenly distributed. Rich states offer more opportunities and benefits to its citizens than poor states. Thus, the gap between rich and poor states widens.
For example, Conflicts in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are each the result of centralized power operating in a predominantly heterogeneous society. Although tensions in the two states have important historical roots, they have been fueled by controversy over the policies of India’s central government. Opposition is built upon the feeling that political power in New Delhi is inaccessible and unresponsive to local needs. Furthermore, in each case, the Congress (I) leadership has attempted to intervene in the conflicts to advance its partisan interests only to have its intervention backfire and aggravate regional tensions.
Further, the federal system of government also promotes regionalism. It can make state governments selfish and concerned only about their own region’s progress. They can formulate policies which might be detrimental to other regions. For example, pollution from a province which is promoting industrialization in a big way can affect another region which depends solely on agriculture and cause crop damage. In further addition, another disadvantage of this system is the states interference in local government affairs.
This can be seen in the Kashmir crisis of the 1990s. It is reflective of trends occurring throughout the Indian polity: the increasing intervention of the central government in local affairs, the resort to coercion to resolve social conflict and maintain social order, and the increasing political assertiveness of the Indian public. The National Conference government, which had been elected in 1983 under the leadership of Farooq Abdullah, , was brought down in 1984 after leaders of the Congress (I) supported Ghulam Mohammad Shah’s split of the National Conference and formation of a separate government. The Congress (I) switched its support back to Farooq in 1986, and the National Conference under Farooq’s leadership participated in the 1987 state elections in alliance with the Congress (I).
The alliance served to discredit Farooq and the National Conference in the eyes of many Kashmiris, and the coalition faced stiff competition from an alliance of Muslim activists under the banner of the Muslim United Front. The National Conference-Congress (I) coalition won the election, but only after creating a popular perception of widespread election rigging. Farooq’s government proved to be inept and corrupt, further alienating the Kashmiri public. The activists, feeling that they had been electorally defrauded, incited an increasing number of demonstrations, strikes, bombings, and assassinations.
Advantages of federal government are the following: (1) It ensures that government remains close to the people because the state government argue that they are more in tune with the daily needs and aspirations of people especially relevant to small and isolated places. (2) It encourages development of the nation in a decentralized and regional manner and allows for unique and innovative methods for attacking social, economic and political problems. (3) It provides a barrier to the dominance of the majority. It can lead to inequality between the states and lead to unhealthy competition and rivalry between them.
Since the 1970s, the federal government has promoted Indian “self-determination,” but tribes still receive federal subsidies and are burdened by layers of federal regulations. In addition, the government continues to oversee 55 million acres of land held in trust for Indians and tribes. Unfortunately, Indians who live on reservations are still very dependent on the federal government. In one prominent case during the 1960s, the BIA gave a major coal company a long-term mining lease on Navajo and Hopi lands and set the royalty rate at far below the market rate.
That was bad enough, but when the contract came up for renewal in the 1980s, the Secretary of the Interior ignored a higher rate proposed by the tribes and secretly cut a deal with the company at a lower rate. The case was only recently settled after a lengthy court battle. 54 One of the more disturbing sagas in BIA’s history is the century-long mishandling of hundreds of thousands of trust accounts for individual Indians. The saga may be finally coming to an end with the $3. 4 billion settlement in 2009 of the Cobell v. Salazar class-action lawsuit.
106 However, it is worth reviewing because it reveals the BIA’s severe mismanagement and it sheds light on problems in the land-tenure system of Indian reservations. The trust-fund scandal began with the 1887 General Allotment Act, which aimed at assimilating Indians by allotting tribal lands to individual tribe members. The Act ultimately led to the division of about 10 million acres of Indian lands into 40- to 320-acre parcels that were assigned to individual Indians. The government didn’t give control of the lands to individuals, but instead held the parcels in trust for them. The fractionation of land ownership has had at least two damaging effects on Indian welfare.
The first is that it has reduced the productivity of Indian lands because it has made the leasing and selling of lands very difficult. The second is that it has made accounting for land interests increasingly difficult, with the result that individual Indians have lost billions of dollars of income over the years. REFERENCES Bakshi; P M (2010). Constitution Of India, 10/e. Universal Law Publishing Company Limited. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-81-7534-840-0. Retrieved 10 May 2012. Oldenburg, Philip (31 August 2010). India, Pakistan, and Democracy: Solving the Puzzle of Divergent Paths. Taylor & Francis. p. 71.
ISBN 978-0-415-78018-6. Retrieved 3 May 2012. http://www. buzzle. com/articles/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-federalism. html 2 Bureau of Indian Affairs, “Who We Are,” http://bia. gov/WhoWeAre. 6 Russel Lawrence Barsh and Carole Goldberg, “The Legal Significance of U. S. Indian Treaties,” in The Native North American Almanac, ed. Duane Champagne, (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2001), p. 485. 7 Stephen J. Rockwell, Indian Affairs and the Administrative State in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 6. 8 The Institute for Government Research issued the Meriam Report in 1928.
16 Roger Walke, “Federal Indian Elementary-Secondary Education Programs: Background and Issues,” RL34205, Congressional Research Service, January 16, 2008, p. 2. 17 Stephen J. Rockwell, Indian Affairs and the Administrative State in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 151. 18 Stephen J. Rockwell, Indian Affairs and the Administrative State in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 29, 58, 151, 267, 270, 315. 9 These numbers include only people who self-identified as Indians alone, not those with mixed heritage.
Data from the 2010 Census is in this map: www. census. gov/geo/www/maps/aian2010_wall_map/aian_wall_map. html . 10 Government Accountability Office, “Indian Issues: Observations on Some Unique Factors that May Affect Economic Activity on Tribal Lands,” GAO-11-543T, April 7, 2011, p. 1. 11 Government Accountability Office, “Indian Issues: Observations on Some Unique Factors that May Affect Economic Activity on Tribal Lands,” GAO-11-543T, April 7, 2011, pp. 1, 2. 12Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012, Analytical Perspectives.
(Washington: Government Printing Office, February 2011), Tom Hoffman and Gwen-Torges Hoffman, “Bureau of Indian Affairs,” in George T. Kurian, ed. , A Historical Guide to the U. S. Government (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1998) Tom Hoffman and Gwen-Torges Hoffman, “Bureau of Indian Affairs,” in George T. Kurian, ed. , A Historical Guide to the U. S. Government (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1998) Quoted in Robert McCarthy, “The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Trust Obligation to American Indians,” BYU Journal of Public Law 19, no. 1 (Fall 2004): 6.