Book Review: S. K. Jain (Ed.), Indian Federalism: Emerging Issues

Published date01 July 2018
Date01 July 2018
Subject MatterBook Reviews
282 Book Reviews
makes a valuable contribution to diaspora studies successfully bringing out how
women have been far from passive recipients of their diasporic contexts.
Bhaswati Sarkar
Professor, School of International Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
S. K. Jain (Ed.), Indian Federalism: Emerging Issues. New Delhi: Kalpaz
Publications, 2017, 309 pp., `900.
DOI: 10.1177/0020881718804362
Federalism is best understood as a method of promoting self-rule and shared rule
and of balancing the interest of a nation with that of a region. A federal system is
the constitutional arrangement that provides institutional form to federalism.
India’s federal democracy has developed through successive phases, combining
centralism and federalism in varying degrees. The political process of Indian fed-
eralism has accommodated bargaining and co-operative federalism with many
challenges from one-party dominant systems to multi-party coalitions.
The book under review comprises 14 well-researched chapters with a fresh
look on emerging issues in Indian federalism. S. K. Jain argues that Indian democ-
racy and federalism in its working of more than six decades, though suffered
numerous shortcomings, has nevertheless remained the most successful and sta-
ble democratic federation among post-colonial states. With the exception of the
Emergency (1975–1977), India has been governed by democratic institutions
with routine and peaceful electorally mandated transfer of power. In the context
of Indian federalism, he discovers some terms, namely administrative federalism,
parliamentary federalism, accommodative federalism and electoral federalism.
The author narrates development of federalism in India from the Nehruvian era to
the present.
Subhash Kashyap highlights fresh balance of power in centre–state relations
and points out that Indian federalism is passing through a critical phase. He
focuses on the importance of conflict resolution in centre–state relations. Conflict
resolution mechanism, however, is not an easy approach while tackling issues in
India where the constitution finally favours the centre over states. Prakash Singh
identifies one of the most important emerging issues in the Indian federal system
related to police reform and its impact on insurgency. Law and order is the state
subject but police reform depends on the wishes of the central government.
Deployment of paramilitary forces has not fully ensured combating insurgency.
However, its colonial-structured police is not easy to replace by another system.
Political leadership perceives it as a tool to misuse the police power in the Indian
federal system.
Indian democracy is world’s largest and one of the most successful experi-
ments. In the era of globalization, democracies are coming closer to each other in
the pretext of commerce, cultural cooperation, diplomatic relationships, education

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