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Tensions over centralisation in certain spheres of governance has adversely affected centre-state relations in the recent past. Do you agree the view that there has been a rise of unitary tendencies? Critically analyse.

Topic: issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure

3. Tensions over centralisation in certain spheres of governance has adversely affected centre-state relations in the recent past. Do you agree the view that there has been a rise of unitary tendencies? Critically analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the centralising tendency witnessed in India and suggests steps to overcome it.

Directive word: 

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining federalism.

Body:

First, write about the various tensions in the centre-state relations in the recent past. Cite examples to substantiate.

Next, mention the centralising tendencies witnessed in India prior to the pandemic – monetary share of the States in Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission, imposition of demonetisation without adequate consultation with the States, institutionalisation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), outsourcing of the statutory functions under the Smart Cities Mission, a delay in transfer of GST compensation, ‘One Nation One Ration’,

Next, write about the other side. Mention the various facets that have promoted federalism in the recent past.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a balanced opinion.