Question: The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Highlight the drawbacks in the existing structure and the extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the shortcomings.
Answer: Cooperative federalism is a concept of federalism in which federal, state, and local governments interact cooperatively and collectively to solve common problems, rather than making policies separately.
Problems in existing structure
- Imbalance between revenue and responsibilities
The current structure of federalism is divided into three lists viz Union, state and concurrent. The state has more responsibility with respect to the governance with major decisions at ground level taken by the state. But revenue structure is not in line with the responsibilities. State have very less revenues to carry out more works that concern public. This skewed structure has to be revised.
- Ground-level implementation
When it comes to governing at the lowest level, local bodies do not have independent powers to take decisions. They are dependent on legislative rules by respective states and cannot work on a universal principle. The revenue for the local bodies are also at the mercy of state government. It is thus necessary that more powers are delegated to local bodies.
Role of cooperative federalism in answering shortcomings
- Decentralisation of power
The power is distributed between only two entities under the 7th schedule but introduction of cooperative federalism will help to establish a third entity in form of local government, which is delegated with power to take decisions at local level.
- Establishing command structure
A command structure that will work similarly to any private organization can be created under cooperative federalism. This will help in passing on instructions from higher to lower structure effectively without active interference. The three bodies can work in their respective domain based on priorities.
Thus, cooperative federalism is a necessary change that is due for our political system. It has the capability to enhance efficiency of our governance structure.