Cooperative, Competitive and Confrontational Federalism


  • The Constitution of India, being federal in structure, divides all powers (legislative, government and financial) among the Centre and states. However, there is no department of judicial power as the Constitution has mounted an incorporated judicial system to implement both the Central laws in addition to the state laws.
  • Though the Center and states are supreme in their respective fields, the maximum concord and coordination among them is critical for the powerful cooperation of the federal system. Hence, the constitution carries tricky provisions to regulate the diverse dimensions of the relation between the Center and the states.

Cooperative Federalism

  • Cooperative federalism implies States and Centre cooperating with each other to recognize the developmental dreams of the country. 
  • It demands a joint cognizance on the national development desires by the Centre and States, and the advocacy of issues and issues of States and Union Territories with Central Ministries. 
  • The idea of competitive federalism, however, promotes competition between Centre and States in addition to States for financial benefits. 

Competitive Federalism

  • In cooperative federalism, the connection between States and Centre is horizontal, and in competitive federalism, it is vertical between States and Centre and horizontal among states.
  • In Cooperative federalism the Centre and states percentage a horizontal courting, in which they “cooperate” for countrywide development and fulfill social dreams together.
  • In such federalism the resources and information of each Centre and state are shared to gain a common aim of development.
  • It enables participation of states within the formula and implementation of welfare regulations.
  • Union and the states are constitutionally obliged to cooperate with each other on the subjects specified in Schedule VII of the constitution.
  • It ensures that convergence between the federating systems i.e. Centre and states.
  • In Competitive federalism the connection among the Central and state governments is vertical and between nation governments is horizontal
  • In early years of Independence, states have been dependent on significant presents allotted by the Finance Commission and Planning Commission.
  • This concept of Competitive federalism gained significance in India since 1990s financial reforms.
  • In a free-market economy, the endowments of states, available resource base and their comparative benefits all foster a spirit of competition. Increasing globalisation, but, elevated the present inequalities and imbalances among states.
  • In Competitive federalism States want to compete among themselves and additionally with the Centre for benefits.
  • States compete with each other to draw funds and funding, which helps performance in administration and enhances developmental activities. Eg: Investor summits in various states.
  • The investors opt for more developed states for investing their money. The Union government devolved funds to the states on the basis of usage of previously allocated funds.
  • Healthy competition strives to enhance physical and social infrastructure in the nation.

Confrontational Federalism

  • In confrontational federalism, principal Govt. Attempts to transgress into the powers of state Govt.
  • It is a highly new phenomenon as compared to cooperative and aggressive federalism.
  • The unilateral revocation of the special reputation conferred on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) under Article 370 of the Constitution has been criticized by many professionals as against the spirit of federalism.
  • As per Constitutional experts, the central government’s decision of using a concurrent List to make laws on state list subjects is a form of confrontational federalism.
  • Passing of farm legal guidelines, notwithstanding agriculture being a state problem.
  • The partisan function of governor in lots of states has emerged as a case of confrontational federalism. For example, the position of Governor in Tamil Nadu has become controversial.
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