Day 8 – Q 1. Do you think federalism resonates well with the idea of a welfare state? Critically comment. (10 Marks)

  • IASbaba
  • February 7, 2022
  • 0
GS 2, Indian Polity, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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1. Do you think federalism resonates well with the idea of a welfare state? Critically comment. 

क्या आपको लगता है कि संघवाद कल्याणकारी राज्य के विचार से अच्छी तरह मेल खाता है? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।


Candidates need to write about the federalism in introduction. Then explain with examples how federal structure creates roadblocks for welfare policies also as question demands to critically comment candidates have to present counter arguments how federalism with local government helps to implement welfare ideas. 


Federalism is a system of government in which powers have been divided between the centre and its constituent parts such as states or provinces. It is an institutional mechanism to accommodate two sets of politics, one at the centre or national level and second at the regional or provincial level.


Federal structure restricts the welfare policies & there implementation various sectors like:

  • Health Sector: Central government’s initiative of Ayushman Bharat to provide Universal health coverage is also hindered by some states refusing to join the centrally sponsored scheme
  • New Education Policy: Central government wants Uniform standards of education across the country so as to ensure accessibility and equity in access to education across the country.
  • Agricultural marketing Sector: Lack of unified agricultural market along with state’s reluctance to adopt Model APMC Act and their lack of enthusiasm to join e-NAM platform has restricted Centre’s capabilities to objective of doubling farmer’s income by 2022.
  • Pandemic policy:  There has been accusations and counter accusations by states and Centre in the efficacy of national lockdown, who should be accountable for the second wave of covid, deficiencies I oxygen and hospital infrastructure in overall it impacts welfare of people. 

Federalism resonating with idea of welfare state:

  • The federalism phase also witnessed further decentralisation of Indian politics as the 73rd and 74th Amendments. This strengthened the ground for the Welfarism and empowerment the people at the grassroots.
  • After initial challenges, the Union government ceded adequate space and autonomy to the states for strengthening their healthcare facilities, managing the localised lockdowns, and implementing social security measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
  • The core objectives of Indian federalism are unity in diversity, devolution in authority, and decentralization in administration. Through federalism, the State pursues the goal of common welfare in the midst of wide diversity in socio-cultural, economic spheres.
  • In Cooperative federalism the Centre and states share a horizontal relationship, where they “cooperate” in the larger public interest. It is an important tool to enable states’ participation in the formulation and implementation of welfare policies. For example Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) MGNREGA, NFSA, National Health Rural Mission. 
  • While all policy-makers and economists believe that “true” cooperative federalism is the way forward, they underline the need for the Centre to include states more aggressively in the decision-making process to strengthen welfare state idea. 


What is seldom recognised is that the degree of federalism in India has depended largely on two variables: the nature of political coalitions at the Centre and role of States in such coalitions (the period 1996 to 2014 for example), and the cultural diversity of regions. Hence, what is needed is a federal coalition that looks beyond the legal-constitutional aspects of federalism to preserve the idea of a plural India in terms of both culture and politics.

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