Cooperative Federalism in India

By Durga Prashanna Mishra|Updated : September 15th, 2022

Cooperative Federalism can be perceived as a collaborative effort between the central and the constituent/state legislature. In Cooperative Federalism, the Central Government, the state government, and the local Government share power and come together to work on a common problem for the benefit of the people.

In Cooperative Federalism, it is feasible to raise the accessible resources by the Government at various levels in a coordinated manner for use by ordinary individuals to benefit them. This expects a united relationship between the centre and the states.

Table of Content

What is Cooperative Federalism?

Cooperative Federalism is the combination of cooperation, interdependence, and stabilization between the Centre and the states to ensure the smooth administration of the country (which means solving problems of common interest).

  • In distinction to twin ideology, which sees governments as separate and coordinated entities, cooperative ideology sees 2 tiers of the state as reciprocally complementary components of one federal social group.
  • The system of cooperative ideology is predicated on internal offer and take between the federal and state governments.

Background of Cooperative Federalism in India

Though, the concept of Cooperative Federalism, might be contemporary to the world, India has been practising it since ancient times. India has enormous diversity, so the central authorities adopted a non-interference policy in provisional issues.

  • Nevertheless, the inclination to centralize influence was somewhat seen during some Mughal emperors' rule. However, after the Revolt of 1857, British colonialism dismissed the intervention strategy.
  • Again, Regulating Act of 1773 gained the concept of Cooperative Federalism in India. The idea of giving governing authority to local government in India was endorsed by the Crown rule of England, Herein, who also administered the East India Company.
  • Later, the idea of dual government in India was estimated under the Government of India Act of 1919, where the governing authority would be divided between local and British governors. However, it was attained under the Government of India Act of 1935.
  • Furthermore, during the 1980s, the idea of governing authority centralization became prominent. However, the thought of distributing authority from centre to state and panchayat was intensified later.
  • In this way, Cooperative Federalism in India retained the constitution's objectives of democracy, unity, and social justice

Cooperative Federalism in India: Articles of the Constitution

The Centre is provided with more certain powers to keep the essence of Cooperative Federalism.

7th Schedule

  • The power is distributed between has central and the state. the state has some extra residual power in the centre. In article 249(v) Indian parliament clearly mentioned subjects of the state list. for this state, the council has the majority with ⅔ per cent to make a change.
  • According to Article 248 of the constitution, the Union parliament has the exclusive right to make laws regarding any recognized matter. Indian state implements Cooperative Federalism with the help of the following structure in the political-economic framework.


  • It was formed to achieve the essential goals of Cooperative Federalism. It acts as a central platform for the Government of India to unite the states as the "India Team" and work towards national development. ;
  • Niti Aayog has taken numerous strides as a relevant technical advisor to Central and Uts states. It has also developed models and programs for infrastructure development and established public-private partnerships such as the Interstate Partnership and Union Territories.

All India Services

  • All India Services targets a unified court system to enact central and state laws. Article 312 of the Indian Constitution manifests this provision for integration work within the framework of Cooperative Federalism in India.

Full Faith and Credit Clause

  • It controls all the faith and credit whole records of a judicial and public act of all the proceedings conducted by the united states of the territory. The Full Faith and Credit clause depicted the value of any particular is the same for every state. Suppose a couple married in a state and they shifted to another state after marriage, then the couple is assumed to be married in another state too.

Zonal Council

  • To promote coordination, there are 5 zone councils for each zone Central, North, South, East, and West. The zonal councils are structured by the state reorganization Act of 1956 when the zonal council of the northeast was made by several acts.
  • Each and every zonal council has its own committee to resolve the issues which are happening in their respective zones. The Chairman of the zonal council is the union home minister of the countries and the Vice chairman of the zonal council is the chief minister of the state.


  • A Goods and Services Tax was implemented in India on July 1st, 2017. Firstly, our honourable former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has formed a committee to form GST law. The Finance minister of India revealed the introduction of GST in 2006, and in 2011constitution amendment was passed to enable the introduction of Goods and Services Taxes. After the effects of GST, the taxes collected by central and state government is compiled into one instead of they collected tax as different bodies.
  • Various organizations have tried unsuccessfully to resolve the disputes between the core states that are impeding Cooperative Federalism in India. Some ways to strengthen Cooperative Federalism may include legislative autonomy for countries, centre-based fiscal support, and decentralization of power.

Cooperative Federalism in India

In India, Federalism is an "indestructible union of destructible states."On the floor of the Constituent Assembly, it was recognized that the states were an integral part of India and that any right of secession must be denied.

  • Therefore, the need for solid unions was anticipated, and the Constitution gave the central government ruling power. However, states are also given appropriate powers to effectively manage and govern local governments. Accordingly, such orders have been issued on the Union concurrent and state list of the Seventh Schedule.
  • Core country cooperation is paramount to streamlining development and fostering regional progress.
  • In the case of India, this form of Cooperative Federalism becomes increasingly necessary due to its vastness, enormity, and extreme diversity.
  • However, the Simon Commission report greatly influenced Cooperative Federalism in India. However, Cooperative Federalism in India was greatly influenced by the Simon Commission report and its resulting Government of India Act, 1935.
  • The Indian Constitution draws heavily on its features from this Her 1935 Act. And its resulting Government of India Act, 1935.

Cooperative vs Competitive Federalism

Below, we have differentiated cooperative and competitive federalism.

Cooperative Federalism

Competitive Federalism

It proposes a horizontal central and state government relation in which they cooperatively work for the public interest.

It proposes a vertical central and state government relation.

It allows the state government to participate in the forming and implementing of national policies.

In this, state governments compete against each other and even the centre to attract funds and investment.

The centre and the state government are mended to cooperatively work on the subjects described in Indian Constitution's Schedule VII.

The constitution of India does not have any structure for Competitive Federalism; it is the procurement of executives.

Strengthening Cooperative Federalism

Cooperative Federalism can be strengthened in the following ways:

  • Autonomy to states
  • Strengthening of Inter-State Council
  • Strengthening of Inter-State Council

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Cooperative Federalism

There are both advantages and disadvantages of Cooperative Federalism which we have discussed below.

Advantages of Cooperative Federalism

  • One of the biggest advantages of cooperatives is their support through grants. States may not be able to obtain sufficient funding from local governments to implement required programs. In this case, states can apply for grants and receive funding.
  • Another major benefit of Cooperative Federalism is the promotion of conservation and conservation through environmental programs and resources.

Disadvantages of Cooperative Federalism

  • Given the long history of disagreements between state and federal governments, one might think that Cooperative Federalism limits the powers of the states. Depending on the circumstances, the federal Government limits the powers of the states. However, this is not the primary purpose or intention of Cooperative Federalism. Restrictions on rights may result from certain laws and regulations in force.

Cooperative Federalism Examples

Examples of Cooperative Federalism can incorporate different projects, laws, and regulations that states and the central Government cooperate in executing.

  • The taxes given to the state government by the Central Government to finance the infrastructural development in the respective state could be one example of Cooperative Federalism.
  • The states are permitted to oversee the development per the Central Government's objectives. Apart from the scheme of distribution of power, there have been several steps taken to support/unify the concept of Cooperative Federalism in India, such as the introduction of bodies like Inter-State Councils, Zonal Councils, and the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, National Development Council and the National Integration Council, etc.

Cooperative Federalism UPSC

Cooperative Federalism is an essential topic in the UPSC Exam. It is an important section of the Indian Polity subject and is comprehensively covered in Polity Books for UPSC and notes. UPSC aspirants must have a robust knowledge of this topic for excellent preparation for both UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains exams. Candidates can take a look at the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to find out the types of questions asked on this topic.

>> Download Cooperative Federalism UPSC Notes PDF

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Crown Rule in IndiaCode of Criminal Procedure


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FAQs on Cooperative Federalism

  • Granville Austin is called the Indian Federalism of "Cooperative Federalism" because he explained the Indian federation as a new revolution in India for specific needs. He was awarded the Padma Shri award in 2011.

  • The term "federation" is not mentioned anywhere in the Indian Constitution. However, India has had a quasi-federal structure since independence. Therefore, the Indian model of Government is similar to the Canadian model of political structure.

  • The concept of federal Cooperative Federalism is to maintain a stable relationship between the central government and state government. By Cooperative Federalism, the government shares the power to deal with a common problem which constructs a poor recognition of the country. Cooperative Federalism fills the spaces between government for a good change and implements instant action for local peoples.

  • We need Cooperative Federalism because by this government amends laws easily. Instant action will be taken for any common issue which causes problems in law and order. Implementation of any law will take less time and gives effective results within the time. The main agenda of Cooperative Federalism is National development along with resolving the issues of state and Union territories. Cooperative Federalism is creating a good image of India with respect to global aspects.

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