Prof. Balveer Arora is renowned among academicians studying Political Science for his insights and remarkable work on federalism over the years. He is currently the Chairman of Centre for Multilevel Federalism, and has served as a professor and rector in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has authored and co-authored several books and articles, and has addressed conferences across the world.
Addressing a gathering of professors, research scholars, M. Phil. and M.A. students, Prof. Balveer Arora delivered a lecture on “Indian Federalism: Diversities, Disparities and Sustainable Solutions.” He pointed out that federations vary in size and type. However, all federations are similar in that they are based on certain principles that are manifested and articulated along certain lines. He stated that the notion of a true / genuine / pure federation is a myth – there are as many adaptations of the idea of federation as there are countries.
During the course of his lecture organized by the Department of Political Science, Prof. Arora took his listeners through the journey India as a nation undertook on the path of federalism, the challenges it overcame and those that are still problematic. India, like every other federal system, moves on a continuum of centralization and decentralization.
The disparity in power at the Centre during the reigns of various Prime Ministers, federalism within polity-wide parties, and the fluctuation of INC and BJP in electoral performances over the years were also discussed. While single-state and multi-state parties have been recorded to have performed consistently from 1996 to 2014, the performance of BJP and INC notably varied.
The question and answer session that followed gave rise to interesting discussions. Asked if the Centre’s decision to impose Governor’s Rule in Hyderabad could be considered overstepping on its part, Prof. Arora said that a Governor’s role has been dynamically described in the Constitution. The decision to hand over power to the Governor is constitutional, though the ways in which this power is used can be debated.
Another issue discussed was the extent of RSS’ role as advisor for the current Central Government. Prof. Balveer simply pointed that it was too early to determine the extent of RSS’ inputs and agendas on the government, and the dynamic of this party-government rule.
-By Harika Vankadara, MA-Communication, UoH