Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh): A two day national level seminar on the topic, “Contemporary context of changing Indian Federalism: Challenges and possibilities” was inaugurated at the MP Institute of Social Science Research (MPISSR), here on Thursday. Keynote speaker Rekha Saxena, department of political science, Delhi University and a renowned scholar on federalism said that the Indian Constitution is a combination of the Parliamentary System and the Federal System. She scientifically elaborated on the journey of federalism in the Indian context with several anecdotes. She said that the Constitution makers deliberately chose to make a centralised system. There has been a tendency to bring subjects of the State List to the Concurrent List. Article 356 was a safety valve but unfortunately mostly misused by the Central governments from time to time.
SR Bombai’s case was termed as a second Constitution dealing with Article 356 which restricted the use of this provision. Even Article 253 has also been misused by the Central governments time and again while making international treaties. Dr Saxena argued that asymmetrical federalism is witnessed in the Indian context. Federalism has several overlapping concerns. Unfortunately, we are moving in the direction of confrontationist federalism. Of course, the parliamentary system overshadowed the federal system. Inter-state council has been made but remained almost inactive. National parties have centralist tendencies. Fiscal federalism is hugely being discussed these days. There is a contemporary debate on developmental issues vis-a-vis ethno-religious issues in the federal context. The arrival of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation significantly played a role in defining the new centre-state relations. In the present context, the discourse is shifted to confrontationist federalism due to GST, NITI Aayog, CAA/NRC, river water dispute, agriculture issues, etc.
MPISSR president Dr Gopal Krishna Sharma in his presidential address highlighted the need for strong co-operative federalism. MPISSR director Prof Yatindra Singh Sisodia, gave the welcome address and introduced the theme of the seminar. Dr Pushpendra Kumar Mishra compeered the event while Dr Uday Singh Rajput proposed a vote of thanks. 38 delegates are participating in the seminar from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. The inaugural session was followed by three technical sessions later in the day. The sessions witnessed 18 paper presentations on the sub-themes of ‘Concept of Co-operative Federalism in India, Coordination, Co-operation and Confrontation’; ‘Philosophical Perspective and Current Context of Indian Federalism’ and ‘Centre-State Relations and Fiscal Federalism in India’. The seminar is being attended by teachers, scholars and students from various academic institutions.