Though the federal principle is dominant in our Constitution and that principle is one of its basic features, but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong Centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. Discuss.

India is neither wholly federal nor unitary; it is quasi-federal with more of a federal leaning than a unitary one. The Indian constitution provides for devolution of powers to the states, by under the purview of a strong central entity, thus combining the central characteristic of the both federal and unitary forms of government. The reason for this distinctive form of relations is derived from India’s history and its unique the post-independence scenario. India has rich diversity and houses various cultures and religions within itself. A democratic India would need to make a place for and protect all such interests. The British left Indians with control of swatches of land under rule of British India, while leaving the princely states to make their choice. If India was to evolve into one united nation, it required a strong centre that could hold together and act as a uniting force for the different states, which is why our constitution exhibits federal characteristics. On the other hand, in a vast country like India, a measure of decentralization was required for the government to function efficiently and effectively. This resulted in the devolution of powers to the states so that they may develop and implement policies suited to their region and people. This is why the Indian constitution, on the surface, seems to provide for a form of government with two contrasting systems.

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