How is federalism practised in India ? Explain.
(i) Linguistic States : After independence, in 1950, the boundaries of several old states were changed in order to create new states. This was done to ensure that the people who spoke the same language, share common culture, ethnicity or geography could live in the same state.
(ii) Language Policy : The Indian Constitution did not give the status of national language to any one of the languages. Though Hindi was identified as the optional language, but the central government has not imposed Hindi on states where people speak a different language. Besides Hindi, there are 22 other languages recognised as Scheduled Languages by the Indian Constitution.
(iii) Centre-State relations : Improving the Centre-State relations is one more way in which federalism has been strengthened in practice. Though Indian Constitution has demarcated the powers of the Union and the state governments but still the Union government can have influence over the state in many ways.
In the past, the Central government has often misused the Constitution to dismiss the state governments that were controlled by rival parties. This undermined the spirit of federalism, and that of democracy.
The judiciary has played a major role in improving the autonomy of the state governments because many a time, it has rescued state governments which were dismissed in an arbitrary manner.