Former vice-president Mohammad Hamid Ansari said on Tuesday that discontent with the functioning of India’s cooperative federal structure has existed for several decades and the institutional correctives put in place have not been sufficient.
“This, in the context of the ground reality of political parties of different persuasion coming to power in the states, has the potential of tensions that would not be conducive for smooth functioning of cooperative federalism and may, in fact, result in unforeseen developments,” Ansari warned in his keynote address on ‘Furthering the Federal Structure’ at the Conversations of the Constitution seminar organised by the State government.
Ansari pointed out that proceedings of the Inter-State Council remain confidential and their “purpose and potential clearly remain underutilized.”
He highlighted concerns raised by states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on the 15th Finance Commission.
“The terms of reference have been criticised by some of the states alleging that these are against the spirit of ‘fiscal federalism’ since the decision to use the census data of 2011, instead of 1971 data weights against the states where growth of population has slowed down to below 16% and give undue benefit to some others where it ranges between 20-25%,” Ansari said adding that this will have wider implications.