Holding India Together: The Role of Institutions of Federalism
40 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2017 Last revised: 20 Sep 2017
Date Written: March 31, 2017
India is a large, heterogeneous and complex nation, with multiple languages, religions and ethnicities, and over one billion people. It stands out in having held together while sustaining a working democracy for over six decades, at relatively low levels of income. An important institutional aspect of managing heterogeneity to preserve national unity is the structure of Indian federalism. This chapter traces some of the features of Indian federal institutions, focusing on their contribution to this ‘holding together.’ It reviews the conceptual and analytical underpinnings of the role of federal structures in sustaining unity, and summarizes historical developments and current institutional structures of the Indian case. It assesses the role of federal dimensions of political, administrative and judicial structures in the holding together function. It also separately focuses specifically on the special treatment of what may be characterized as India’s periphery.
Keywords: Federalism, political economy, transaction-cost politics
JEL Classification: H11, H50, H77, P26
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation