Modi’s federalism project: A work in progress

Complaints against the UPA government’s discriminating attitude and step-motherly treatment of the states of the Indian Union, particularly of those where the non-Congress parties ruled, and the promise to usher in cooperative federalism if voted to power was one of the main planks of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s electoral agenda in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Now that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has been in command of India for over seven months, it is time to have a look at the progress that the country has made in this direction.
Barely months after the announcement, the prime minister has delivered on his promise as the Planning Commission has been replaced with a new think tank-like body, NITI Ayog, which is expected to set the policy agenda for the government. The new body’s Governing Council will comprise state chief ministers and Lt. Governors of Union Territories.
The next few months are going to reveal the government’s strategy for the implementation of its federalism project. It is a work in progress and appears to be going in the right direction, but the next Union Budget and the 14th Finance Commission report would offer concrete evidence of the prime minister’s commitment.

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