2022 GS2 Answer

Q. While the national political parties in India favour centralisation, the regional parties are in favour of State autonomy.” Comment.

Question from UPSC Mains 2022 GS2 Paper

Model Answer: 

India is a diverse country with several linguistic, ethnic, and cultural groups. The federal structure of India allows the states to have a certain degree of autonomy. However, there has been a long-standing debate about the extent of autonomy that states should have, with the national political parties favoring centralization while regional parties supporting state autonomy. In this answer, we will discuss this debate in detail.

National Political Parties:

National political parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) support the idea of centralization. They believe that a strong center is essential for maintaining national unity and security. Some of their arguments include:

  • Uniformity: National parties believe that having a uniform policy across the country is essential to maintain consistency and avoid conflicts.
  • National interest: They argue that national issues like defense, foreign policy, and inter-state relations should be under the control of the central government.
  • Efficient administration: National parties believe that a centralized system is more efficient in decision-making and implementation of policies.

Regional Parties:

Regional parties, on the other hand, support state autonomy. They believe that states should have more power to make decisions about their own affairs. Some of their arguments include:

  • Cultural diversity: Regional parties believe that India’s cultural diversity should be respected, and each state should be allowed to preserve its unique identity.
  • Local issues: They argue that state governments are better equipped to address local issues like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
  • Decentralization: Regional parties believe that decentralization is necessary to reduce the burden on the central government and ensure that power is distributed more evenly.

Conclusion:

The debate between centralization and state autonomy has been ongoing in India for decades. National political parties favor centralization to maintain national unity and security, while regional parties support state autonomy to preserve cultural diversity and address local issues. The federal structure of India allows for a balance between the two, but the extent of autonomy that states should have is still a matter of debate.

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