The very concept of cooperative federalism implies a strong centre, and state governments are largely administrative agencies for central policies. Critically discuss.

There are several premises of an argument that in cooperative federalism, the state governments are largely administrative agencies of central policies. For example, Article 256 provides that executive power in every state shall be exercised so as to that ensure compliance with the laws made by the parliament. Similarly, the union government exercises its executive control over state though the All India Services under Article-321. It is mandatory for state government to obey the directions from the central government; failing in it may led to imposition of president rule. Parliament also has the power to make laws on state list in the context of international agreements and conventions without consent of the state. In matters of finance also, Central Government has upper hand.
However, despite these unitary features cooperative federalism may not necessarily result in state governments acting only as implementing agencies of centre. Each state has been given enough space (list of subjects) in the seventh schedule and parliament rarely encroaches upon the powers of the states in these subjects, that too either in national interest or upon request of the state themselves. In sum, states derive their power directly from constitution and not from centre.
In policy space, generally the broader policy guidelines are framed by centre with required support and states have almost complete freedom to implement and spend money on those schemes. The abolition of centrally sponsored scheme is one more step towards making them more independent of centre.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"The very concept of cooperative federalism implies a strong centre, and state governments are largely administrative agencies for central policies." Critically discuss.

Published: September 24, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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