The Takshashila Institution hosted a book discussion with Madhav Godbole on his latest book ‘‘India: A Federal Union of States’’ on August 13th, 2021. Mr. Godbole is the former Union Home Secretary of India and a former IAS officer having authored over 8 books in his career.
The event began with Nitin Pai, Director, The Takshashila Institution mentioning how the Indian republic is a historically unprecedented political entity which is so pluralistic in nature and how Mr.Godbole’s book is a testament to it. When asked on why he wrote the book, Mr. Godbole mentioned how during the last couple of years, actions taken by the Union government were said to infringe over the federal structure of the country and the rights of the states and how he wanted to set the facts right. He argued how India was never a federal state and was always only a union of states mentioning how the states in India are a creation of the Constitution and not the other way around.
Mr. Godbole further went into the recent issues which needed to be addressed such as the separation of religion from the state and how the current Constitution is largely based on the colonial Government of India Act 1935. He also mentioned how the current status of Kashmir post the abrogation of Article 370 along with the role and powers of the office of the Governor must be re-looked at in the current situation.
When asked on his recommendations for cooperative federalism, Mr. Godbole mentioned how the creation of a constitutional division of the Supreme Court can resolve federal issues and disputes. He also emphasized that the Inter State Council, created in 1990 by VP Singh, must be given additional responsibilities and how GST can serve as a model towards cooperative federalism.
The conversation came to a close with Mr. Godbole answering a number of audience questions ranging from the level of constitutional literacy in the country, the potential implications in increasing the number of parliamentary seats in both the houses of Parliament and the role of the Supreme Court in protecting federalism in India.
You can watch the full event here: