Co-Operative Federalism in India: Did COVID-19 Change the Centre-State Relations?

Must Read

What is the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016?

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (“RERA”) is an Act of the Parliament. It seeks to protect...

Should the Exorbitant Amounts Charged for RT-PCR Tests be Refunded?

Introduction A plea has been filed in the Honourable Supreme Court of India seeking a refund of exorbitant amounts charged...

Should CCTV’s be Installed in the Police Station?

Introduction In a recent judgment, the bench led by Justice Nariman issued directions to both the state and Union Territory...

A Legal Analysis of the West Bengal Political Crisis on IPS Deputation

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently summoned three IPS officers of West Bengal (WB). The decision was...

Explained: Postal Ballot for NRIs

At the end of November 2020, Election Commission sent a proposal to the law ministry to amend the Representation...

Explained: Constitutional Provisions and Legislations With Regards to a Person with Disabilities

The world celebrates December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This day is also called World...

Follow us

India was among the first to constitute a governing body embracing co-operative federalism. It is an indicator of a harmonious separation of powers between the Centre and States. They share a horizontal relationship. It helps to bring out co-operative policies beneficial to the Centre and the State.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, India has been at the forefront, saving as many lives as possible. In the process, different policies have shaken the federal system on several grounds. This unique system was to allow for a swift and coordinated response to tackle the pandemic.

Conflict in Co-operation

Recent developments have unearthed a different opinion of federalism implemented by the lawmakers. The zone classification made by the Centre has not been a welcome move by the State governments. The classification into red, orange, and green zones has attracted mixed opinions. There has been a demand for autonomy while making such decisions. For a well- functioning country, it is necessary for the parts and the whole to function in tandem.

An Efficient National Plan

The idea of a national plan as per the Disaster Management Act of 2005 has taken a back seat. The act envisages the formation of a “National Plan” under section 11(2). It includes issuing of binding guidelines by the Centre to States, after consultation. Not only has the Centre ignored these guidelines, but also issued it themself. It has steered away from the legislative mandate of State consideration. However, as compared to federal countries such as the USA, India has done well. It has managed to minimise frictions and provide a sense of direction to the States. But this has come at the expense of a lack of sovereignty to the States.

Lack of Funds

The Central government declared CSR exemptions for corporations donating to the PM-CARES fund. Yet, those donating towards any State Chief Minister’s Relief Fund had no exemptions. The intelligible differentia used in this context is questionable. This move has directed all funds towards the Centre and left the States at the periphery. It also makes the States dependent on the Centre. It defeats the very purpose of a federal structure.

Revenue has plummeted for most States. It is due to the ban on the sale of liquor and insignificant sale of petrol and diesel. Further, the influx of migrants has added to the worries of the State government. This move is full of fallacies as it is only going to lead to more movement and thus further spread of the virus. The governments may not be able to address the immediate needs of the migrants.

Additionally, the agriculture sector, industrial establishments and construction have a reduction in workforce. It makes economic sustenance challenging. Economic activities have reduced, and there are delays in receiving GST dues. It results in an empty treasury for the State government.

Changes in Laws

In January 2020, the Centre invoked powers under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It is to enhance the preparedness and containment of COVID-19 at hospitals. Moreover, it enabled States to utilise the State disaster Response Fund on Covid-19. Additionally, India is a signatory to the International Health Regulations, 2005 (IHR). Establishment of appropriate public health response to the spread of diseases is essential. The Centre can enact a law, giving effect to the International Health Regulations. This is under Article 253 of the Constitution. It asks for setting up mechanisms to prevent and control the spread of the disease. The Centre must put in place the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP).

The Colonial government designed the Epidemic Diseases Act in 1897. This was when the Bubonic plague was at large—this tested government machinery where there was a considerable threat of an epidemic disease. The government implemented several measures to combat it. It includes compulsory detention of plague suspects and destruction of infected property. It was considered as an offence to disobey these laws. Public officers on duty received immunity. The government thus faced resistance from the Indian community. To change these, the government created awareness about sanitation. Medical research centres were set up as well. A lot of these measures are also seen in the present situation. Covid-19 has called for every State to have guidelines. The government authorises officers to admit and isolate a person. The current regulations allow States to act with less coercion.

The Way Forward

The States are the first to face the brunt of the pandemic. The nature of the disease, contagiousness and the treatment suggested requires localised solutions. Thus, States are best suited to handle this crisis by themselves.

Public health and sanitation fall under the purview of the States. It is under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. The acts in place may not be the final solution to the crisis at hand. It is essential to look at a broader, more inclusive perspective. It will help the States and the Centre function hand in hand. There has to be a national plan which will divide funds to all the States, need-based. Further, it is necessary to take into consideration the States opinions on decisions. CSR exemptions should be there for corporations donating to the State Relief funds. This would be a progressive step.

The Centre’s intervention and guidance are necessary to tackle the crisis. The Centre must aid States in handling the financial crunch with scalable solutions. The Covid-19 pandemic has served as a wake-up call to the Indian polity and governance.


Libertatem.in is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgements from the court. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can also subscribe for our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

Parents of Road Accident Victim Entitled To Compensation: Delhi High Court

Justice JR Midha said, “Even if parents are not dependent on their children at the time of an accident, they will certainly be dependent, both financially and emotionally, upon them at the later stage of their life, as the children were dependent upon their parents in their initial years.”

Plea Challenging the AIBE Rules Framed by BCI Filed in the Supreme Court

A Writ Petition was presently filed in the Supreme Court by a newly enrolled lawyer challenging the All India Bar Examination Rules 2010 which have been framed by the Bar Council of India which mandates that an advocate has to qualify for the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) to practice law after enrollment.

Bombay High Court: Mere Presence at the Crime Scene Not Enough for Punishment

The Bombay High Court ruled that it cannot be considered a crime if a person is merely present at the crime scene which falls under the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels and Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women Act 2016. It also quashed two First Information Reports (FIR) against two individuals who were arrested in a raid at a dance bar by the Santacruz Police, in 2017.

CAIT Files a Plea Against WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy in the Supreme Court

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has filed a petition against WhatsApp’s new privacy rules in the Supreme Court. The petition says that WhatsApp which is known to render public services by providing a platform to communicate has recently imposed a privacy policy that is unconstitutional, which not only goes against the fundamental rights of citizens but also jeopardizes the national security of our country.

RTI Activist Files a Plea in Bombay High Court Against Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin

On Saturday, a plea has been filed before the Bombay High Court by an activist stating that Bharat Biotech Covaxin had not been granted full approval but a restricted use in clinical trials according to the Drugs Comptroller General of India. The Company's phase 3 trials are ongoing and the DGCI has not made any data available in the public domain for peer- review by independent scientists.

WhatsApp Emails Delhi HC Judge Asking Her Not To Hear the Plea Challenging New Privacy Policy

The Delhi High Court raised strong objection to an E-mail sent by WhatsApp asking a judge not to hear the plea which challenges its new privacy policy. Justice Pratibha Singh said that the e-mail that was withdrawn later was totally unwarranted as she was anyway going to recuse from hearing the plea which was filed by Rohilla Chaitanya who contends that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp provides 360-degree access to a customer’s virtual activity and is against the fundamental right of privacy.

TRP Scam Case: Bombay HC Extends Protection To Arnab Goswami and Other Employees Till the Next Hearing

On Friday, the Bombay High court extended the protection that was given, to Republic TV’s Editor in Chief Arnab Goswami and other employees of ARG Outlier Media Private Limited till January 29th in the alleged case of Television Rating Point manipulation. A status report was submitted by the police to the division bench of Justices S.S.Shinde and Manish Pitale by the Police on the ongoing case.

Plea Seeks FIR Against Maharashtra Minister Dhananjay Munde in Bombay HC for False Info

A plea has been filed in Bombay High Court seeking an FIR against Maharashtra minister Dhananjay Munde who is undergoing times of trouble due to his extra-marital affair. Recently, an FIR had been lodged against Munde by a woman, accusing him of raping her sister. Munde clarified that he was actually in a relationship with that woman and had two children. He accused the two women of blackmailing him.

Writ Petition for Compensation Accepted by Calcutta High Court 

Introduction The Petitioner Purna Ch. Biswas filed a Writ Petition with the complaint that their claims for a higher quantum of compensation have not yet...

No Members Could Be Disqualified Without Authorisation by Political Party: Gujarat High Court

Excerpt The dispute application no.7 of 2020 filed by respondent no.2 before designated authority. Thereafter the designated authority order dated 28.10.2020 disqualified the petitioner and...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -