Did Indian federalism fail Punjab?
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The question of federalism has been a constant topic of debate since India’s independence. This continuing debate about centre-state relations in India is dueto the fact that Indian federalism is unlike the American federal structure, despitebeing a Union of States (but not federation of states) which have their uniquesocio-culture, economic and political history and aspirations. In fact, the Indian constitution is popularly described as ‘federal in structure, but unitary incharacter’. Therefore, the division of powers/subjects between the Centre/Union and the States/Provinces under the Constitution provided for under the threelists: the Union list, the State list and the Concurrent list is always an issue ofdebate and the question of centralisation v/s decentralisation for developmenthas continued to be debated for a long time now. The governments at the unionand state level are constitutionally authorised to make laws on subjects in theUnion and the State list respectively. It is only in the Concurrent list that bothcan make laws but the Union law will prevail over state law in case a conflictarises. However, in practice, there is a plenty of subjects in the State list onwhich Union Government has been running ministries and departments to carryout development activities, besides regulation, over the decades.
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