How is Federalism Practiced in India?

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : January 4th, 2023

Federalism is practiced in India in three major ways, including allowing the formation of states based on their linguistic characteristics, language policy, and restructuring of centre-state relations. Federalism in India refers to the relationship between the central government and the state governments of India. The Constitution of India establishes the structure of the Government of India.

Federalism Practice in India

India is not a true federal government as it combines the characteristics of a federal government and a unitary government which can also be called a quasi-federal government. The federal structure of the Indian Constitution has the following features:

  • Two sets of government - Union and States
  • Division of powers between the State and the Central Government under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India
  • A written constitution
  • The Constitution of India is considered to be the supreme law of the country.
  • The Supreme Court of India is considered the highest court in the country.
  • In the practice of a bicameral legislature, there are two houses, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

Major Way to Practice Federalism in India

Federalism Practiced in India is practiced in three major ways, which are:

  • Formation of Linguistic States: The creation of linguistic states was the first and major test of democratic politics in India. The regions, boundaries, and names of states have been changed from 1947 to 2019.
  • Center-state relations: Restructuring of center-state relations is another way in which federalism is practiced. If no single party gets a clear majority, the major national parties may form alliances with several parties, including several regional parties, to form the government. This has created a new culture of power sharing and respect for the autonomy of state governments.
  • Language Policy: Hindi was recognized as the official language of the Union of India, with 21 other languages recognized as scheduled languages by the Constitution. States also have their own official language, and official work is done in the official language of the respective state.

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FAQs on Practice of Federalism in India

  • Federalism is practiced in India in the formation of states based on their linguistic features, the language policy, and restructuring the Centre-State relations. Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of government that combines a general government with regional governments in a single political system, dividing the powers between the two. 

  • The distribution of powers between the union and state governments is what makes India a federal country. In India, there are three lists divided between the center and state governments, i.e. Union List, State List, and the Concurrent List.

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