The red lines of federalism

More devastatingly, the competitive nature of Indian federalism has changed in the last few years. A decade ago, the states were competing to make themselves attractive to business and private investment but now they are competing for bigger bailout packages and handouts from the Centre. The examples of Chandrababu Naidu in the NDA government and Mamata Banerjee in the UPA-2 are instructive for noting this contrast.

It is nobody’s case that India doesn’t need stronger states. But these stronger states can’t be at the cost of a weak Centre. India must have a stable equilibrium between strong states and a strong Centre, each exercising its powers effectively in its own domain.