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NITI Aayog: Redefining Federalism

The enduring legacy of the State is defined by numerous factors including political capital and will, administration and policing as well as hard and soft power. Of these, the State defines its role through the most important tool at its disposal – formal institutions. They reflect the approach of the State towards understanding and solving the socio-economic development challenges of the time. One such institution which exemplified India’s approach to development in the post-independence era was the Planning Commission. In 2015, this mantle was passed onto the NITI Aayog. However, the mandate and approach of the two institutions, with the same overarching goal of developing India, could not be more different.

This departure in approach is reflected in the Cabinet Resolution constituting NITI Aayog which includes a quote from Mahatma Gandhi – “Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.” The Planning Commission operated through the lens of Five-Year Plans, using financial resources as the primary lever for guiding development. NITI Aayog, on the other hand, is driven primarily through intellectual firepower as well as the mandate and capability of forging meaningful partnerships with State Governments, civil society organisations, the private sector, and innovators for accelerating the pace of India’s development.

While the Planning Commission acted as a fund disburser, NITI Aayog works as a thought partner with all stakeholders, especially the States, which are the principal agents for fostering economic development in the country. While the Planning Commission impinged on the fiscal sovereignty of the States, they are now empowered to decide how best to use their funds, without being mandated to follow a top-down direction. The Niti Aayog has replaced the Central Government’s practice of unilaterally designing the pan-Indian development strategy-while working with State Governments to jointly prepare development blueprints that are suited to and take into account the special circumstances of each State. It is likely to be a superior approach in as large and diversified a country like India with its continental dimensions.

Notably, the Planning Commission adopted a ‘onesize-fits-all’ approach towards the Indian States. NITI Aayog, on the other hand, is guided by a ‘States-first’ approach. Its founding principles include cooperative federalism (a collaboration between the Central and State Governments) and competitive federalism (spurring healthy competition among States). It is noteworthy that both pillars of the dual mandate are complementary and are being implemented in tandem for guiding the Centre and States towards shared objectives, albeit through customised approaches. Thus, instead of a straitjacket approach, NITI Aayog has adopted a decentralised and bottom-up strategy, to ensure that Central and State Governments work together as equal partners in Team India.

NITI Aayog has endeavoured to pursue its twin mandate of promoting cooperative and competitive federalism through partnerships with States for designing and reviewing development plans. NITI has also provided a platform for direct issue based interaction between State Governments and Central Ministries thereby helping quick resolution of outstanding issues. The NITI Forum for North East has been constituted and tangible sectoral proposals are being implemented by the States in partnership with the North East council, within the overall framework, with its five pillars, provided by the NITI Forum.

Further, NITI has designed some major initiatives for island development which are being implemented by relevant authorities under the overall guidance of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It is also envisaged that like the NITI Forum for the North East, other regional councils of contiguous States could be formed in the coming months. This will allow the inclusion of common regional issues and challenges in designing the development path for each of the constituting States. The first step has been taken by forming the Himalayan States Regional Council and forming a coalition of all thirteen central universities in these states. These universities are taking up research on issues common to all the thirteen Himalayan states.

NITI promotes competitive federalism principally through pushing its sectoral indices which are put out in the public domain. The indices on water, education, health, innovation, export preparedness, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have attracted significant positive attention. These indices are based on a detailed and rigorous analysis of technical parameters. The ‘Performance in Health Outcomes’ Index, for instance, captures the overall performance of States in health along with annual improvements in health outcomes, governance, and processes. Similarly, the Composite Water Management Index details how States have progressed on water related issues over time, including recognising the high- performers as well as identifying areas for deeper engagement and investment by all States. The ‘School Education Quality Index’ aims to institutionalise a focus on improving education outcomes (learning, access, equity) in India. The Index comprises a set of indicators that critically influence the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the school education sector.

It has also introduced a competition element in our ambitious ‘Aspirational Districts Program’ which aims to raise the human development indicators in these districts to the national averages by focusing on governance improvement and achieving effective convergence among Government agencies and organisations on the ground. These districts have shown significant improvement in indicators pertaining to health and nutrition, education, agriculture, and water management, financial inclusion, skill development, and basic infrastructure which NITI Aayog is monitoring on a real-time basis. Besides, several best practices in governance have emerged from these districts which are now being scaled up and replicated at the block level in some States.

NITI has made and is continuously engaged in providing fresh policy-related inputs for implementation by relevant Central Government Ministries in partnership with State Government agencies. Universal Health, agriculture sector modernisation, renewable energy, electric mobility, reforms of the mining sector, the campaign against women, and child malnutrition are some examples of areas where NITI has made substantive policy inputs during its six-year existence.

NITI was involved with the drafting of the National Medical Commission Bill and the Bills for reforming the education system pertaining to Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy. Both Houses of Parliament have passed all three Bills. Paving the way for building a world-class medical education system in the country. NITI has also been closely involved with the design and monitoring of Ayushman Bharat, perhaps the largest universal health initiative in the world. NITI has played a similar key role in the POSHAN Abhiyaan which the Government launched to provide an appropriate governance structure reflecting the many overlapping factors like access to sanitation and health services that affect the nutritional status of an individual or household. NITI has also implemented the SATH – ‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital’ program in 3 States, the best practices from which are being

replicated in other States as well. NITI shared a road Map for Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana with all States and Union Territories.

Several policy suggestions are contained in NITI’s document ‘Strategy for New India @ 75’. The preparation of this seven-year strategy, encapsulated in this document required extensive consultations with subject experts, State and Central Government ministries/departments, industry representatives, and civil society organisations. Overall, around 1,400 stakeholders, within and outside the Government, were consulted and several iterations were undertaken to ensure that the document reflected the whole-of-the- government approach.

One of NITI’s key tasks and important mandates is to develop an output–outcome monitoring framework and rigorously evaluate Central Government schemes and initiatives. The Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO) undertakes this. It completed the evaluation of 125 Centrally Sponsored Schemes to determine their continuation from the 14th Finance Commission to the 15th Finance Commission period. DMEO also supports the Department of Expenditure for preparing the outcome budget for over 65 ministries/ departments. DMEO reviews the progress of infrastructure departments of the Central Government for periodic review by the Prime Minister. It is further refining its methodology and strengthening its human resource base to improve the effectiveness of outcome-based performance evaluation.

To improve governance at all levels of government, DMEO is collaborating with State Governments for establishing similar capacity. Additionally, NITI has been closely monitoring the progress of SDGs across all States and engaging with them to set up real-time technology based monitoring capacities which will help mainstream SDGs in the development process in every State.

NITI Aayog is also focused on nurturing an innovation ecosystem across the country. The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative of NITI for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of the country, based on a detailed study and deliberations on the innovation and entrepreneurial needs of India in the years ahead. AIM has adopted a holistic approach towards establishing an integrated ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship at school, university, industry levels, linking NGOs, venture capital, and private industries. AIM promotes an innovative mindset in school students through Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) which feeds into start-ups fostered by the Atal Incubation Centres (AICs). Over 7,100 ATLs have been sanctioned thus far, covering 90% of districts in India, including 110 Aspirational Districts.

In the years to come, India needs to make similar persistent efforts wherein both the Central and State Governments work jointly to solve the country’s most complex issues and unleash growth. To meet the rising aspirations of our young population, India needs to achieve and sustain a high rate of GDP growth for the next three decades. In pursuit of this goal, continued structural reforms are crucial for laying new foundations to ensure sustained and inclusive growth. NITI Aayog has a key role to play in helping India undertake these reforms and implement policy initiatives in a scalable and impactful manner through partnerships with States.

To achieve the goal of rapid, sustained, and clean growth that generates employment for all, investing in the right physical and social infrastructure, is a prerequisite. NITI Aayog, with its intellectual breadth and depth, is well placed to help India achieve these goals. Over the last six years the Central Government has

undertaken many bold reforms. The Central Government. It is now for States to implement these reforms in letter and spirit and help the country reach the next frontier of growth

For instance, the Central Government has passed important legislation in the agriculture sector. The onus is now on the States to implement this reform and pave the way for significantly enhancing productivity and doubling farmers’ income. In this process, States can count on NITI Aayog as a partner for customising and implementing these pathbreaking reforms, including reducing compliance burden, weeding out archaic legislations, and unleashing the full potential of private sector participation. Ultimately, the onus of putting India on a high-growth trajectory and ensuring that the benefits of growth are equitably distributed rests with both the Centre and States. NITI Aayog will continue to work towards strengthening cooperative federalism in the country, thereby enabling the Centre and States to work in tandem as equal partners for ensuring India’s success.

Growth Story of Gujarat

It has been over 60 years since the State of Gujarat was established on May 1, 1960. Gujarat has created its prominent identity by working effectively in good governance, people-oriented administration, holistic development, peace-security, and public welfare, which enhanced the pride of six and a half crore Gujaratis in India and the world. After promoting ‘Ease of Doing Business, Gujarat is now focusing on ‘Ease of Living.’ The State has become the ‘Role Model State’ and ‘Growth Engine’ of India. (Gujarat) has become synonymous with development.

Gujarat’s identity resides in its geography, art, cultural heritage, education, literature, politics, pilgrimages, saints-savants, great men, traditions, customs, food, festivals, hospitality, tourism, language- dialect, ancient and historical places, peace and security, social security, law and order, industries, employment, agriculture, animal husbandry, modern infrastructure, etc. Hardworking, visionary, and fearless leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, and Narendra Modi have become Gujarat’s hallmarks.

Dr. Jivraj Mehta was the first Chief Minister of the State. After that, Balwantrai Mehta, Hitendrabhai Desai, Ghanshyambhai Oza, Chimanbhai Patel, Babubhai J. Patel, Madhavsinh Solanki, Amarsinh Chaudhary, Chhabildas Mehta, Sureshchandra Mehta, Shankarsing Vaghela, Dilipbhai Parikh, Keshubhai Patel, and Narendra Modi had worked to take the development journey of Gujarat ahead

Gujarat’s illustrious son Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi took oath as the youngest Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001 and served Gujarat as Chief Minister for 14 consecutive years.

The country-wide popularity of Shri Modi, his hard work, and recognition as Gujarat’s ‘Vikas Purush’ gained a clear majority for National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Subsequently, he took charge as the Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014.

Shri Modi implemented various schemes in Gujarat. Prominent among these are the launch of the tallest statue, i.e. ‘Statue of Unity at Kevadiya, Kranti Tirth Mandvi, Krushi Mahotsav, Garib Kalyan Mela, Chintan Shibir, Jyotigram Yojana, Charanka Solar Park, Mahatma Mandir – Gandhinagar, Kanya Kelavni

– Shala Praveshotsav, Gunotsav, Uttarardh Mahotsav at Modhera Sun Temple, Vibrant Gujarat Investment Summit, Sabarmati Riverfront at Ahmedabad, Van Mahotsav – Creation of Cultural forests, Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana for tribals, and Sagarkhedu Sarvangi Kalyan Yojana for Sailors.

Many universities were established during his tenure. These include Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gujarat National Law University, National Forensic Sciences University, Raksha Shakti University, Lakuliesh Yoga University, Gujarat Technological University, i-Create, Indian Institute of Teacher Education University, Children’s University, Shri Govind Guru University, etc.

Smt. Anandiben Patel succeeded Shri Narendra Modi as the first female Chief Minister of Gujarat. She gave priority to women empowerment by providing a Gender Budget. Smt. Patel started various schemes to ensure that the children of Aanganwadis get adequate nutrition. A State-wide ‘Maa Annapoorna Yojana’ was launched during her tenure.

On August 7, 2016, I took charge of the Chief Minister of Gujarat to serve the people. As the Chief Minister, I am committed to making Gujarat ‘Uttam thi Sarvottam’ (From Better to the Best) with the cooperation of six and a half crore Gujaratis. My government has served the people by taking over 1700 public welfare decisions in the last five years.

‘Saat Pagala Khedut Kalyan na Yojana’ aims to make the farmers and cattle breeders of Gujarat selfreliant. Other schemes include the purchase of farm produce from the farmers at the support price of over Rs. 17000- crores in the last four years, implementing India’s first Kisaan Suryoday Yojana worth Rs. 4500 crores to provide electricity in the day time to the farmers for irrigation. It has benefitted farmers of 4000 villages in the first phase. Other schemes include Zero percent crop loan to more than 15 lakh farmers and financial assistance of Rs. 6000 to the farmer families under Pradhanmantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana.

In 2019, the government announced assistance of Rs. 3795 crore to the farmers for damaged crops due to unseasonal rain, and in 2020, a relief package of Rs. 3700 crore was announced which benefited 56 lakh farmers. Recently, Sagarkhedu Sarvangi Kalyan Yojana-2 worth Rs. 50000 crores was announced for fishermen and sailors’ welfare.

More than 400 mobile veterinary clinics and Tollfree number 1962 for 24×7 veterinary facilities have been made functional to help animals. Assistance of more than Rs. 246 crore to 514 Panjarapols and Gaushalas and assistance of more than Rs. 185 crore for 6 lakh animals in drought-stricken areas has been provided

The State government strictly implemented Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) – PESA Act from the year 2017 for the upliftment of tribal people, and more than 90 lakh tribals obtained land and forest produce rights. Tribals received more than 13 lakh acres of forest land under the Forest Rights Act. In these areas, 41 Eklavya Model Residential Schools have been constructed to provide education to the tribal children. Accommodation, meals, and education have been made available to more than 1,35,000 students in around 765 Ashram Schools, Aadarsh Residential Schools, and Eklavya Schools. A Tribal National Museum highlighting the tribal culture will be set up soon on 70 acres of land at the cost of Rs.100 crore.

Food grain worth Rs. 2000 crore was distributed free of cost to 68.80 lakh Ration Card Holders under the National Food Security Act and 61 lakh Card Holders under Above Poverty Line-1 of the State in April and May 2020 during the Corona pandemic. In the last year, 7500 acres of land has been given to the deprived and low-income families in the form of Santhni. Besides, 27,330 hectares of surplus land have been allotted to 11,692 beneficiaries under Farm Land Ceiling Act.

As against a target to provide houses to 7,64,000 families in the urban area by 2022 under Pradhanmantri Awas Yojana, more than 5 lakh houses have been constructed.

Essential documents like Certificate of Income, Caste certificate, 7/12 and 8-A have been made available to the citizens at their doorstep through Seva Setu Program. Around 52 services and certificates have been made available online under Digital Seva Setu, which was launched with the mantra of Digital India- Gujarat and ‘Jya Manvi tya Suvidha’ (to provide facilities where there are people).

Mukhyamantri Apprenticeship Scheme has been launched with the innovative idea of Learning with Earning, under which students get a stipend from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 4500 per month along with their study. In the last two years, more than 2,30,000 youth have benefited. More than 2 lakh young men and women have been appointed in Government services in Gujarat in the last four years. Assistance in the fees is also provided to the youth of Gujarat for training and preparation for competitive examinations like UPSC, GPSC, Gujarat Secondary Service Board, etc. Therefore, Gujarat has the lowest unemployment rate in India, i.e., 3.5%.

Gujarat became the first State to implement 10% reservation for the non-reserved population as per the Central Government guidelines. Loan facility up to Rs. 10 lakh at the interest rate of 4% was provided to the non-reserved students for their college studies and up to the year 2020. More than 70,000 families have benefited from this scheme. A loan up to Rs. 15 lakh at the interest rate of 4% is provided for studying abroad.

As a part of Digital Gujarat, modern facilities were provided in 16,000 classrooms through Gyankunj Project. 10,000 tablets at the token price of Rs. 1000 were distributed to the students. After passing the 12th Standard, more than 9.50 lakh students have been gifted Modern Tablets for higher technical education in the college. Under SHODH Yojana, an assistance of Rs. 15,000 per month for two years is provided to the students for research.

Kala Mahakumbh was initiated for the first time in the State to provide a stage to the artists and highlight art and culture. State Yoga Board and Sanskrit Board have been set up to promote Yoga and Sanskrit language. Gujarat is the first State to establish the State Yoga Board. From only nine universities in 2001, Gujarat boasts 83 universities in 2021.

Under Mukhyamantri Mahila Utkarsh Yojana, a group of 1 lakh women will be formed, which combines 50,000 women from rural and urban areas each. 10 lakh women will benefit from an interest-free loan from the State Government. A provision of Rs. 1000 crore has been made for the loan purpose. Under Vahali Dikari Yojana, families with an annual income of Rs. 2 lakh will benefit from Rs. 4000 during admission in 1st standard and Rs. 6000 during admission in 9th standard for the first two daughters. At the age of 18, assistance of Rs. 1 lakh will be provided during the marriage. So far, more than 6000 families have benefited from the scheme. Under Ganga Swarupa Arthik Sahay Yojana, the monthly assistance provided to widows has been increased to Rs. 1250, benefitting more than 10 lakh women so far.

Under Ma Amrutam-Ma Vatsalya Yojana beneficiaries now receive a health shield of Rs. 5 lakh instead of Rs. 3 lakh. More than 3 crore 50 lakh beneficiaries belonging to 70 lakh families have been enrolled in the scheme. During the ongoing Covid pandemic, more than 1700 Dhanvantari Raths are in operation at more than 3300 places. More than 2 crore 50 lakh people have received OPD facility at their doorstep so far. The Government of India and the World Health Organization have appreciated the work done through Dhanvantari Rath. Prioritizing the health of the people, 2170 medical seats have been increased in the last five years. New medical colleges have been opened in the last five years. With advanced medical facilities, All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Rajkot is being developed on 201 acre land at the cost of Rs. 1195 crore with the facility of 750 beds.

A lifetime imprisonment provision has been made under the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Act from 2019 to curb terrorist activities. The State Government has enforced Gujarat Land Grabbing Prohibition Act 2020 to curb land grabbing activities.

A Cyber Ashwasta Project has been started, and the first Cyber Crime Prevention Unit of India has been created in Gujarat. Under Project Vishwas, a CCTV network of 7000 cameras has been brought up in 41 cities. Citizens of 33 districts are getting various securities against cybercrime through Netram Command Control Center

Gujarat is committed to providing water to every home with the given target under the Nal Se Jal program. In the last two years, water has been made available to 2 crore 31 lakh homes 100% target has been achieved in five districts under Nal Se Jal. A water grid has been made in Gujarat’s urban areas to make polluted water useful through the Reuse of Treated Waste Water Policy. Gujarat is second after Tamil Nadu to set up Desalination Plant to make seawater potable.

SAUNI Yojana was made operational to make the Saurashtra region green and provide potable water of the Narmada River to 80 lakh people. With SAUNI Yojana, an irrigation facility has been provided to 1,66,000 hectare area covered under 22 reservoirs of Saurashtra in the first phase.

Under Sujalam Sufalam Jal Abhiyan, 41,488 works related to water conservation have been done, increasing 42064 lakh cubic feet water storage capacity. It has provided employment which amounts to a total of 130.47 lakh human days.

Under Mukhyamantri Gram Sadak Yojana, works of 10399 roads of 27064 km length have been completed at the cost of Rs. 6835 crore. 17843 villages and 16402 suburbs have been connected with concrete roads.

With dedicated policies, Gujarat has become a policy-driven state. New policies are introduced in sectors such as Ports, Tourism, Solar, Aerospace and Defence, Information Technology, Industry, Startup, Agriculture and Commerce, Garment and Apparel, Electronics, Heritage Tourism, Wind Energy, General Incentive, Production, BioTechnology. It also includes New Solar and Hybrid Policy, Bagayat Mission (to provide land on lease for horticultural and medicinal plants).

In 2019-20, Gujarat was considered the Best Destination for Foreign Direct Investment in India. Foreign Direct Investment worth more than 43,000 crores has been received in Gujarat during the financial year 2019-20. It has increased 3.5 times in comparison with 2018-19.

With the ‘Production first, Permission later’ policy in the State, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises industries have considerably benefitted. Industries are exempted from obtaining a No Objection Certificate and approvals for the first three years. A special commission rate has been created for more than 30 lakh MSME units, which has resulted in employment opportunities for more than 1 crore 25 lakh youth.

Auction of mines and minerals is done online, and transparency has been brought up with Trinetra Drone Surveillance Technology. The State Government has made an income of more than Rs. 1633 lakh. 13 Industrial Parks and three logistics parks will be constructed on more than 70 hectares of land.

During the ongoing Covid pandemic, the Gujarat government released the Aatmanirbhar Gujarat Package worth Rs. 14000 crore. The package provides a loan of Rs. 1 lakh at the interest of 2% and a loan of more than 1 lakh (upto 2.5 lakh) at the interest of 4% to small vendors, shop owners, workers, etc.

The first Ro Ro ferry service began from Ghogha in Bhavnagar to Dahej in South Gujarat. It has reduced the road distance from 360 km to 31 km. To reduce pollution and conserve the environment, a subsidy of Rs. 48,000 has been provided to purchase e-rickshaw. The assistance of Rs. 12000 is offered to students from 9th Standard to colleges for buying battery operated two-wheelers.

Gujarat is on the top of the list in the installation of Solar Rooftops. More than 1.27 lakh solar rooftops have been installed, which generate 886 megawatts of power. Under solar power policy, there has been an increase of 1925 megawatts capacity in the last four years. The installed capacity of the Solar Rooftop Project is 611.46 megawatts which is the highest in the country. Among the total installed capacity of Gujarat, 37% contribution comes from renewable energy. World’s largest hybrid Renewable Energy Park, coming up at Kachchh, has 30,000 megawatts capacity.

Out of more than 2300 CNG stations in India, more than 926 are active in Gujarat. In the coming days, the Government of Gujarat has planned to set up more than 900 CNG stations. The world’s first CNG Terminal is being set up at Bhavnagar in Gujarat, operating 6 million tonne cargo annually.

Agriculture (NA) approval was taken from the district panchayat and given to the collector. With maps and layout plans available online, the process has become more easy and fast. More than 35,000 applications have come through an online portal.

In the last three years, 311 town planning (TP) schemes and 40 development plans (DP) schemes have been approved for cities’ holistic development. It has provided citizens with more facilities. For the first time in the State, Online Development Permission System (ODPS) has been introduced. Under ‘Shravan Tirth Yojana,’ elders with more than 60 years of age are taken to Yatradham Darshan in Gujarat.

Nadabet Seema Darshan in Banaskantha of Gujarat has proved to be the best destination for border tourism after the Wagah-Attari border in Punjab. More than 6 lakh tourists enjoyed Seema Darshan in 2020. Girnar Ropeway helps complete a climb of 6-7 hours within 6-7 minutes.

Apart from Gir and Devalia Safari Park, Ambardi Safari Park has been opened in Amreli, which hosts Asiatic Lions – India’s pride. Located 12 km from Dwarka, Shivrajpur Beach is being developed as a world-class tourist destination. It is among eight beaches of India, which has been given a tag of Blue Flag Beach. The only Dinosaur Fossil Park of India has been constructed in Rayioli village of Balasinor. It is India’s largest and the world’s thirdlargest dinosaur fossil site.

To connect the locations related to Mahatma Gandhi’s life, a Gandhi Tourist Circuit is being developed at the cost of Rs. 93 crore. It includes Dandi Kutir – Gandhinagar, Kirti Mandir – Porbandar, Mahatma Gandhi Museum (Alfred High School) – Rajkot and National Salt Satyagraha Memorial (Dandi Smarak) – Navsari.

The first Sea Plane service started between Sabarmati Riverfront Ahmedabad to 182-meter tall Statue of Unity at Kevadia. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the service. In 2020, more than 43 lakh

tourists visited SoU and set up a new record. The number of visitors. at SoU is more than footfalls at the Statue of Liberty in the US, which is a matter of pride for all of us.

In-house CM DASHBOARD has been made operational in Gandhinagar to review administration works live. With more than 3000 performance indicators, the Chief Minister can observe districtlevel public interest activities through digital platforms. The Chief Minister interacts with people of deprived and minority communities at his residence in Gandhinagar in a program called ‘Mukhyamantri Sathe Moklaa Manne.’ After listening to their grievances, he takes decisions and actions to meet their needs and demands.

The first Budget of Gujarat for the years 1960-61 was introduced in the Legislative Assembly on 22/09/1960. The total budget amount was Rs. 114,92,86,000. The total budget amount of the 77th Budget of Gujarat in the current financial year 2021-22 is Rs. 2,27,029 Crore, which showcases the economic prosperity of Gujarat.

Due to the State government’s tireless efforts, Gujarat, which contributes a significant eight per cent to the country’s GDP, received a substantial amount of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) of Rs. 1,19,000 crore from April 2020 to September 2020. This amount of FDI is 53% of the total capital investments made in the country during this period. Gujarat accounts for more than 23% of the country’s total exports, and the State ranked first in the ‘Export Preparedness Index 2020’ released by NITI Aayog. Gujarat has also been getting the first position in startup rankings and logistics rankings for two consecutive years.

The first bullet train service in the country between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will commence in the time to come. India’s first smart city is being set up at Dholera. It has been included in the list of six smart cities by the Central Government. World-class Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave is being set up at Ahmedabad, which can host Asiad and Olympic. Recently, the world’s largest cricket stadium ‘Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium’, has been inaugurated, which has a capacity of 1.25 lakh spectators. UNESCO has declared Champaner and Rani Ki Vav, Patan as heritage sites, and Ahmedabad has been included as the first heritage city. Gujarat’s Surat, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, and Vadodara have been added to the world’s 25 top developed cities.

According to the Forest Survey of India report of 2019, the tree cover area has increased by 10,000 hectares in the last two years, and the green area, apart from the forest, has seen an increase of 3,96,000 hectares in the last two years.

I can proudly say that many Gujaratis have contributed to the growth of the State from its foundation. We are reaping the benefits of their hard work. We have to take this development journey forward together, and we have to make Gujarat ‘Uttam thi Sarvottam’ for the upliftment and development of every citizen of Gujarat.

Transformation of a State

The State of Gujarat received the highest FDI worth INR 1.58 lakh crore (USD 21.24 Bn) during Apr-Dec 2020 and during the first six months of 2020-21, it has registered a growth of 550% over the previous year. In FY 2019- 20, Gujarat saw the highest national increment of 240% in FDI inflows from the previous year. It has constantly progressed into a developed economy by focusing on proactive governance, transparent and investor-friendly relations, robust infrastructure, and conducive policies. These factors have immensely supported the grounding of FDI in the state. The total FDI inflow in Gujarat from April 2000 to March 2011 has been worth USD 7.2 billion and the total FDI inflow in Gujarat from April 2011 to December 2020 has been worth USD 40.7 billion.

Even in terms of domestic investment, which is reflected by the number of Industrial Entrepreneur Memorandums (IEMs), the State stands first in terms of the number of IEMs filed and actual investment reported for 2019. The State accounted for 51% share (1st Rank) of IEMs filed in India in terms of value with a proposed investment of USD 49 Bn in 2019. Gujarat has received FDI in diversified sectors including telecommunications, power, metallurgical industries, petroleum & natural gas, services sector, automobile, cement & gypsum products amongst others. Close to 100 Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations, large companies, and over 3.5 million MSMEs have a presence in Gujarat.

Gujarat is also poised to become the “Metal Capital of India”. It offers industries to localise supply chains and derisk their operations, and strengthen the local ecosystem that would help create cost-effective and sustainable solutions. Gujarat and its transformational model today is one of the key contributors towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

Gujarat has been a front runner in implementing several reforms for improving and easing the environment for doing business. The State Government in coordination with the Union Government has made it possible to minimise the compliances burden on businesses. As a result, there has been a boost in the economic growth of the State. The State also witnessed a massive surge in investments due to the historic move by the Union Government to lower the corporate tax rate. In order to achieve self-reliance and boost manufacturing, the Union Government initiated various reforms such as Ease-of-doing- Business ranking of states and ease of compliances which has acted as a catalyst to the vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ .

The Government of Gujarat undertook bold initiatives during the Covid-19 pandemic to address economic challenges and there has been a strong recovery in businesses with an increased investor and consumer sentiment. The pandemic has accelerated the growth of both large and small businesses. Post lockdown, the power consumption and gas consumption have increased by 10% and 25% respectively over the previous year signaling a strong recovery in the businesses. Additionally, initiatives such as exemption from the labor laws have also contributed to restoring normalcy. Besides this, a special committee and a control room were set up by Gujarat Government to handhold and facilitate the industries during unprecedented times.

Infrastructure has always been one of Gujarat’s strengths in terms of road connectivity, railway networks, ports, airports, power supply, utility grids, etc. To further augment the growth, the State has been successful in creating an enabling environment for investors. The State has Digitised Land Bank (33,000

hectares) to facilitate and let investors choose the best possible location for their investment in industrial areas of the State. Further, to achieve self-reliance and boost the manufacturing sector, the State announced the Gujarat Solar Power Policy 2021, which aims to reduce the power costs of industrial units by around 50%.

The State is also finalising Gujarat’s first Integrated Logistics Policy and Service Sector Policy to promote sectors such as IT, Banking and Financial Services, Tourism, etc. with the objective, to support the industrial ecosystem development and to enable integrated development of the businesses. With the recent budget announcement to set up a fin tech hub at Gujarat International Finance Tec City (GIFT) International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), Gujarat is set to attract global fin tech firms and startups.

With geographically balanced development and futuristic projects like DFC, DMIC, Dholera SIR, Mandal Becharaji (MBSIR), PCPIR, etc. there are tremendous investment opportunities in Gujarat. Dholera will act as a catalyst in attracting investments in the state especially in the renewable and lithium-ion battery manufacturing sectors. Besides, several futuristic infrastructure development projects are already underway, such as:

  1. Rail Corridors connecting major cities in Gujarat
  • Ahmedabad – Dholera Expressway
  • Bhadbhut Barrage Project over Narmada River
  • Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) City at Surat
  • The world’s largest Solar & Wind Hybrid Energy Park with a capacity of 30 GW is in Kutch

Gujarat being a policy-driven state has announced about 20 policies over the last five years focused predominantly on supporting a conducive industrial ecosystem and promoting green manufacturing, R&D, and innovation. The Government of Gujarat recently launched the Industrial Policy 2020 to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, supported by export competitiveness (Vocal for Local to become Global). In line with the mission of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, the State Government has identified 15 thrust sectors for industrial promotion, including nine core sectors and six sunrise sectors, which includes 100% export-oriented units, irrespective of the sector. Gujarat has also become the first state to delink the incentives for industries under the State Goods & Services Tax (SGST).

The Government of Gujarat also offers extensive support for developing micro, small and medium enterprises in the State. It is aligned with the vision of ‘First Production, Then Permission’. Accordingly, the State Government passed the Gujarat Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (Facilitation of Establishment and Operation) MSME Act 2019. MSMEs, under the Act are exempted from obtaining prior approvals for three years and can put in necessary initial attempts to start the industry successfully. To date, over 900+ MSMEs have benefitted through this scheme. The State Government has also signed MoUs with banks for easy loan approval of MSMEs.

Gujarat witnessed a transformation with the advent of the Tata Motors plant in Sanand. It is because of this reason that the state has been successful in attracting investments in the automobile sector and emerged as an automobile manufacturing hub. Major multinational automobile companies like Suzuki

Motor, Ford India, Honda, and Hero MotoCorp have established operations in Gujarat. With this Gujarat also witnessed a transformation in investment sectors and there has been a shift from traditional sectors like chemicals, metallurgical industries, transportation, etc. to sectors like telecommunication, automobile, renewable energy, technical textiles, etc.

The significant increase in investment has enabled the reduction of the unemployment rate. The state has the lowest urban unemployment rate (3.4%), followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra with 5.3% and 6.6% respectively as per the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2018-19. To promote skill enhancement and employment generation, an MoU has been signed for the development of Gujarat Special Education Region (G-SER) as an education hub in 5,000 acres at Dholera. Gujarat is also setting Anchor Institutes with a view of new emerging sectors to formulate an industryresponsive curriculum, need-based training, and relevant skill development for trainers.

Gujarat has established itself as a national leader in various industrial sectors viz. textiles, engineering, chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, dairy, cement & ceramics, and gems & jewellry and has become the most sought-after investment destination in the country. With further support from the Central Government and a new vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, the State is geared to attract investments and fuel the industrial growth to soar to newer heights.

Maharashtra : A Journey of Over Sixty Years

The antiquity of human habitation in the state goes back to the stone age period (1.27 million years ago). Numerous sites with the stone age tools have been reported on the bank of various rivers and river valleys. Many Chalcolithic sites have been located and some like Inamgaon (1300 BCE to 700 BCE) were extensively excavated.

Historical Perspective

During the historical period (after the 6th century BCE) the rule of the Mauryas (4th century BCE to 2nd century BCE) is seen in Maharashtra. Remains of the inscriptions of Ashoka have been found in the state. A long lasting rule over the state was that of the Satavahanas (1st century BCE to 3rd century CE). It was a very flourishing period of the state. International trade with the western world was in full swing during this period. The ports in Maharashtra played a major role in this. The result can be seen in the excavation of many Buddhist rockcut caves like Bhaja, Pitalkhore, Karla Nasik, etc. patronised mainly by the trading community. The Western Kshatrapas were ruling from Gujarat but they had conquered some of the Satavahana territories for some time. The Satavahanas defeated these rulers in 78 CE and regained their land. The Satavahana rule expanded not only in the whole of the modern state of Maharashtra but also in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.

After the decline of the Satvahana rule, many small kingdoms were established in different parts of Maharashtra like the Abhiras, Traikutakas, etc. But in the 4th century CE, the Vakataka rulers came to prominence. They had two branches both ruling in Vidarbha. Some of their rulers had patronized the cave excavation activities at Ajanta in the 5th century CE.

Maharashtra was ruled by a few rulers in the 6th -7th centuries CE like the Kalachuris (Madhya Pradesh) and Western Chalukyas (Karnataka). But a stable rule started in the 8th century CE when the Rashtrakutas came to power. They were also involved in creating of the world-famous caves at Ellora. Their rule was extended not only in Maharashtra but also in Karnataka. At one point in time, they had conquered the entire region between the states of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

The Yadavas (10th century to 13th century CE) were the next rulers in the state. Their rule lasted for a long time over the parts of central and eastern Maharashtra. The Shilahara rulers were contemporary to them ruling in western and southern Maharashtra. This period marks the efflorescence of the temple building activity in Maharashtra. Impressive temples were constructed at many places like Hottal, Nilanga, Khidrapur, Gondeshwara, etc. Some forts like Devagiri, Panhala were also built during this period. Allauddin Khilji of the Delhi Sultanat defeated the Yadavas.

Muhammad bin Tughluq shifted his capital to Daulatabad (Devagiri) from Delhi for some time. After the decline of the Tughluqs, the Bahmani Sultanat started ruling over Maharashtra in the 14th century CE. The Faruqi ruled over the Khandesh region and the Gujrat Sultans ruled over Mumbai and surrounding regions in the 14th – 15th centuries CE. After the disintegration of the Bahamani Empire, the Nizamshahi and Adilshahi rule over different parts of the state. In the 17th century, CE Chhatrapati Shivaji established his independent rule in Maharashtra. He coronated himself as a sovereign ruler in 1674 CE. This local Maratha kingdom expanded into the Maratha Empire in the 18th and early 19th centuries CE until the

Britishers took over it in 1819. Since then with the contribution of numerous freedom fighters, Maharashtra played a major role in the struggle for independence. On 1st May 1960, the separate Marathi speaking state of Maharashtra was created on public demand. Since then the state has been leading on all fronts in the country.

Maharashtra comprises 35 districts, which are grouped into six divisions. The break-up of the six divisions are:

  1. Amravati Division (Vidarbha) is sub divided into five districts. These are Amravati, Akola, Buldana, Yavatmal and Washim
  2. Aurangabad Division (Marathwada) Aurangabad, Beed, Hingoli, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad and Parbhani
  3. Konkan Division: Mumbai City, Mumbai Suburban, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, and Thane
  • Nashik Division: Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Nandurbar, and Nashik
  • Nagpur Division: Bhandara, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Gondiya, Nagpur and Wardha
  • Pune Division: Kolhapur, Pune, Sangli, Satara and Solapur.

The Western Ghats form the source of several major rivers of Maharashtra, notable among them being the Godavari and the Krishna. Along with their tributaries, the rivers flow eastwards into the Bay of Bengal, irrigating most of central and eastern Maharashtra. The Ghats are also the source of numerous small rivers, which flow westwards into the Arabian Sea.

The Sahyadri Range is the defining geographical feature of Maharashtra. Rising on an average to an elevation of 1000 m, it has Konkan on the west. Eastwards, the topography goes through a transitional area known as Malwa to the plateau level. The Konkan, lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range is narrow coastal lowland, barely 50 km wide. Though mostly below 200 m, it is far from being a plain country. Highly dissected and broken, the Konkan alternates between narrow valleys and low laterite plateau .

The Satpuras, hills along the northern border, and the BhamragadChiroli-Gaikhuri Ranges on the eastern border form physical barriers preventing easy movement, and also act as natural limits to the state. This topography of the state is the outcome of its geological structure. The state area, barring the extreme eastern Vidarbha region, parts of Kolhapur and Sindhudurg, is practically coterminous with the Deccan Traps.

Natural Resources

Apart from mainly occurring rock Basalt; other rocks like- Laterites are found in the coastal humid and tropical region. Maharashtra is rich in ore deposits. Granite, Granite gneiss, Quartzite, Conglomerates are found in the basement regions of the Konkan rivers. Nanded is another region where pink Granites are found. Kamti of the Nagpur region is famous for coal. Water is the most unevenly distributed natural resource. Many villages lack drinking water, especially during the summer months, even in the wet Konkan. Barely 11% of the net sown area is irrigated. The graniticgneissic terrain in the hilly eastern area

of Vidarbha accounts for all tank irrigation. Tube-wells in the TapiPurna alluvium and shallow wells in the coastal sands are the other main sources of water. Special wells are being made by the Government for the villages lacking water. The Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Bhandara, and Nagpur Districts form the main mineral belt, with coal and manganese as the major minerals and iron ore and limestone as potential wealth.

The spirit of Maharashtra is cosmopolitan. While 80 percent of Maharashtrians follow Hinduism, the state has a treasure trove of heritage sites that bespeak its multihued heritage–including those from its Jain, Buddhist, Muslim, and Christian cultures. So be it the Ashtavinayak yatra in the Konkan belt–dedicated to eight beautiful facets of Lord Ganesha–or the Ajanta and Ellora caves near Aurangabad from the pre- Christian Buddhist Era, the Mother Mary Church at Mahim, or the Haji Ali mosque of Mumbai– there’s enough to keep connoisseurs of temples, forts, old monuments, and art- gainfully preoccupied. Forts have played a vital role in the history of the state, given the rocky terrain of the Sahyadris and the need for strongholds against invading armies. Self-contained units with an economy and socio-political fabric all their own, the forts of Maharashtra were built mainly around the time of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Each fort marks a military triumph, and each tells a story of strategy, warfare, intrigue, and planning—something of interest to all students of political science, defense strategies, and management. They all reconstruct the tale of an enterprising leader in the Deccan arena, who with fortitude, popular support, and vision went onto become one of the tallest kings of Indian history. Interwoven in folklore, along with the valour of Shivaji–the forts are a subject in themselves.

Over 70 percent of India’s rockcave art is in the state. Of all these, Ajanta and Ellora, in the vicinity of Aurangabad, are world-famous heritage sites and illustrate the degree of skill that Indian artisans had achieved several hundred years ago. Ajanta dates between the 2nd to first century BCE, while Ellora was excavated around 600 years later. All these have been carved out of solid rock with little more than a hammer and chisel and are an important repository of the essence of Buddhism. Meanwhile, The Elephanta Caves (of undated origin) are a network of sculpted caves on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometers to the east of Mumbai, and a tribute to the legend of Lord Shiva.

The Bhakti movement—a medieval movement spread all over the country between the 13th and 17th centuries- that emphasised the true nature of God–as a democratic and loving entity who valued simplicity and heart-felt devotion over ritual and superstition, found resonance in the soil of Maharashtra as well. The rollcall of honour includes saint poets like Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Tukaram, and Chokhamela, apart from several saints who have contributed richly to music, art, and literature. The Warkari movement that every year in June-July sees a plethora of farmers and myriad believers in Vitthoba (an avatar of Lord Vishnu) converge to Pandharpur in an annual pilgrimage, which begins with accompanying the palkhis of the late saints from their place of Samadhi/enlightenment. The Warkaris reach Pandharpur on the auspicious day of Ashadhi Ekadashi, chanting the name of God—and the saints. Propagating the values of non-violence, charity, austerity, and vegetarianism, the Warkaris is an enduring symbol of tolerance in a chaotic world—even today. Several tourists from the world over participate in the pilgrimage and come away, moved beyond words with the sheer force of conviction that unites men across all barriers.

The women of Maharashtra patronise the nine-yard saree as opposed to the six-yard version prevalent in the rest of the country. Musical forms like Powada, a song praising the valour of a great ruler, and

graceful dance forms like Lavani are something to be experienced in the various theatres and cultural festivals of the state. The fisherman aka Koli dance form is a nod to the contribution of the fisher-folk of the state.

Amongst several other things, Maharashtra is also the pioneer of women’s rights and the Indian feminist movement. From the early 19th century onwards, the state saw a host of thinkers and reformers who campaigned against child marriage and Sati, while simultaneously upholding women’s education and widow remarriage. Prominent names include the late Justice MG Ranade, his wife Ramabai Ranade, Savitribai Phule, and Pandita Ramabai. As early as the 1930s cities like Pune (also known as a prominent educational hub and Oxford of the East) saw women cycling to school and college, apart from running errands. Cities like Pune and Mumbai are home to several active women’s rights groups across party lines, advocating equal opportunity and fair treatment. It is little wonder that India’s first female doctor aka the Late Anandi Bai Joshi comes from the state. Warrior queens like Ahilyabai Holkar and Rani Lakshmibai are a reminder of how much Maharashtra has done for the upliftment of women. The year 1885 saw the establishment of the Indian National Congress in Bombay under the general secretaryship of AO Hume, with delegates from across the country in attendance. It also saw the establishment of the first Indian newspaper Darpan. The values of free and fair journalism, apart from the tradition of value-based Diwali anks (publications that come out in the festival of Diwali) that take up several socially relevant topics, tell of the educated, thinking, and well-read middle class. Mumbai—the capital of Maharashtra, is seen as India’s financial capital, but is literally the Gateway of India-secular, progressive yet rooted. It is also home to the largest film industry in the world, an industry whose turnover is more than that of the GDP of several small nations. An industry that sees thousands thronging to the city every year, hoping to make it big.

Challenges in Federalism and the Way Forward

The Indian Constitution laid down a political system which is federal in nature. There are two tiers of government: at the national level and the state level. However, the Indian Constitution has structurally made the Union government more powerful than the states—therefore the paradox of “centralised federalism.”

During the Constituent Assembly debates, the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru cautioned that “it would be injurious to the interests of the country to provide for a weak central authority which would be incapable of ensuring peace, of coordinating vital matters of common concern and of speaking effectively for the whole country in the international sphere.” Other prominent members of the assembly also demanded a stronger Union government necessary for India’s survival and political stability, given its vast diversity based on religion, language, caste and ethnicity.

However, it is incorrect to conclude that India’s constitutional structure is entirely tilted towards empowering the Union government over the states. There are some highly crucial federal features in the Indian Constitution. Australian Constitutional expert K.C. Wheare once described the Constitution of India as “quasi-federal”: “Indian Union is a unitary state with subsidiary federal features rather than a federal state with subsidiary unitary features.” Quasi federalism may have its issues like the opportunity costs of decentralization, which materialize in terms of unexploited economies of scale; the emergence of spillover effects among jurisdictions, and the risk of cost-shifting exercises from one layer of the government to the other.

Federal Governance During Covid-19

India’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the balance of its federal structure. The pandemic has enabled the central government to implement far-reaching reforms traditionally considered the domain of states. This exercise by the central government indicates its willingness to use the levers of federal power to implement significant reforms.

India’s Constitution lays out a detailed scheme for the separation of powers between the centre and the states, albeit with a unitary bias. The constitutionally mandated Finance Commission recommends the division of revenues between the centre and the states, with the centre traditionally retaining a significant majority of the pool. But the specific contours of this relationship have changed over time — for example, with the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax.

These changes have sometimes come as a function of the raw assertion of political power from the centre.

At other times there has been broad agreement on the need for change. The most important moment for federalism in this phase is the revelation of the vital role of state governments on the ground level in managing the Covid-19 crisis in India. After initial challenges, the Union government ceded adequate space and autonomy to the states to strengthen their healthcare facilities, manage the localised lockdowns, and implement social security measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. As health remains a state subject, the states—regardless of their political equation with the Union government in most cases— worked as main agents of healthcare providers and governance providers within their jurisdiction, with the Centre playing the coordinating role. However, as the political party at the centre occupies power in

many states, either on its own or in alliance, regional counter to the dominance of the Union government has been considerably weaker than in the previous phase.

The initial stages of the Covid-19 response highlighted the unitary tilt in the Indian federal structure. The central government implemented a national lockdown using its powers under a central disaster management law. The Ministry of Home Affairs issued extensive guidelines to states for controlling the pandemic. This law empowers the central government to commandeer state and local authorities if necessary. State governments followed the Centre’s orders even though they have independent powers under a more specific law, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. State governments requested the central government to continue its administration of the national lockdown during its initial phase. In doing so, states ceded considerable decision-making power and political capital to the central government .

Subsequent phases of the lockdown have seen their autonomy restored, but Indian states now have less functional power than the centre. Since the national lockdown required shutting down almost all economic activity, State Government had a drastic reduction in revenue. Even before the lockdown, many states in India had already breached — or came close to breaching — their mandated fiscal deficit limits. The lockdown has further increased their financial dependence on the centre.

In May 2020, India’s Finance Minister announced a series of reforms to facilitate India’s post lockdown economic recovery.

One such measure has been a conditional increase in the borrowing limit for states. The central government enhanced the borrowing limit of state governments from 3 percent to 5 percent of their gross state domestic product. But only the first 0.5 per cent of this increase is unconditional — a further 1 percent will be permitted only if the borrowing is linked to specific reforms such as debt sustainability, job creation, power sector reforms and urban development. A final 0.5 percent will be permitted only if states achieve key milestones in these areas.

Reforms in the agricultural sector may impact state autonomy but are necessary for growth and prosperity. Agriculture is a state matter in India, and states oppose even modest reforms suggested by the central government. The recent reforms changed the long-standing agricultural marketing system, which monopolised trade in agriculture within states and prevented the growth of a more efficient agricultural marketing system. Ordinances passed by the central government side-step the powers of states in this regard but the Centre has to consider the welfare of the entire country and its citizens in a long term holistic view and not merely the interests of a single state.

While some states such as Punjab have voiced opposition to specific reform areas (agriculture), most states have not opposed these measures in any significant way. Both measures — the increase in borrowing limits and the agricultural reforms — are examples of the centre using their power to push much needed reforms.

The most important moment for federalism in this phase is the revelation of the vital role of state governments on the ground level in managing the Covid-19 crisis in India. After initial challenges, the Union government ceded adequate space and autonomy to the states to strengthen their healthcare facilities, manage the localised lockdowns, and implement social security measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

It has also come about when India’s ruling party is the country’s dominant political party. It is noteworthy that some reforms, such as those in agriculture and labour markets, are dismantling policies established in an earlier era of political hegemony in the three decades following India’s independence. It suggests that federal relations in India are a function of political forces more than structural constraints. State powers seem to increase relative to the centre in the absence of single-party dominance, and wane as single-party dominance, increases. In addition to its other effects, the pandemic may have merged a new phase of federal relations, where states increasingly accept the reform priorities of the centre in a manner not seen in a generation.

While drafting or enacting any legislation for the entire country, the consultative process with the State Governments takes the central stage. However, in such diversity it is often very difficult to find a common platform to enact legislation which will find resonance with each state as many times certain problems and issues may be specific to a particular state and may not meet national consensus.

For example India is a member of the ILO : International Labour Organization and we have ratified several core Fundamental Conventions of the ILO like Equal Remuneration Convention , Worst Forms of Child Labour, Abolition of Forced Labour, Minimum Age Convention and others like Maritime Labour Convention etc but even before ratifying a convention which will have international obligations, our Central Government has to consult all the State Governments and ensure that its national legislations and national law is not in contravention to any of the provisions of the International Convention before ratifying. A vigorous consultative process with all State Governments usually occurs which includes workshops and conferences and several brainstorming sessions with all the stakeholders. Only when all the State governments agree to the proposed legislations or any possible amendments, can the Centre move forward its proposal for ratification.

Most times, seeking uniform consensus with all states in a proposed timeframe may become a challenge. While 34 States have notified rules under RERA, West Bengal has enacted its own legislation HIRA, which stands challenged before the Supreme Court.

In such instances, the political leaning of the State Government may also influence its policy making process if it is not on good terms with the Central Government in power. While drafting new legislation or trying to amend existing ones, the Central Government consults all State Governments and in today’s age, draft legislations are shared online on websites for larger outreach and stakeholder consultations. For example, the Centre is drafting the Model Tenancy Act and has involved all State Governments and stakeholders in giving their views and suggestions.

The adoption of the market economy heralded a new era in which States came to occupy a strategic position in India’s market led economy. The Centre has even gone to the extent of encouraging states to negotiate loans / FDI with overseas banks / institutions directly since the 1990s. With the Centre’s grants in aid no longer being seen as the only source for financing their expenditure, States compete to attract FDI. And positively so, the Centre is not being seen as an obstacle but as a facilitator. Still, approval for FDIs are centralized with the DPIIT being the nodal Ministry at the centre for FDI approvals. In many cases, the DPIIT has to transfer the proposal for FDI licensing to the other central Ministries in whose Rules of Business the subject matter of proposal may fall . In proposals where land border issues or security issues arise, the concurrence of other nodal ministries may also be sought.

Paradiplomacy by the States

Foreign economic policy is no longer a central preserve with the emergence of paradiplomacy by the States. Economic globalization has made it possible for the States to interact with respective investors in foreign countries in a de facto sense, if not in a de jure sense. Investment promotion activities abroad indicate this fact. Such initiatives have helped some states in their economic development and reduced their financial dependence on the Centre. The decision of the Gujarat Government in 2014 to set up international desks independently in USA, China, Japan for facilitating “INVEST IN VIBRANT GUJARAT” by overseas investors is perhaps the first attempt by any state to start overseas facilities to attract FDI directly.

However, such enterprise may also raise issues for the sovereignty or security of the country considering that India is largely surrounded by neighbours who are hostile and we face the challenge of reconciling the demands of opening up further in a globalised economy with related security concerns.

The Centre, therefore, has a more responsible and complex role to perform. In granting license to an overseas entity, it has to examine the proposal from many angles. It is not limited solely to the business/ profit it may bring to the State coffers. Whereas, the complexity of examination may not be appreciated by the State Government and the Centre may be construed as taking too much time and not acting as per the wishes of the State Government.

Often, the State Governments may feel that the Centre is interfering with its jurisdiction where as the Centre has to adopt a larger view which will benefit most or all its citizens irrespective of the states’ positions. Article 256 of the Constitution obligates the State government to exercise its executive power to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State. If the state government fails to do so, the executive power of the Union can give such directions to a State as the Government of India finds them necessary.

The President can impose President’s Rule in the States which refuse to enforce the law against the Centre’s directions under Article 356 or take cognisance of Article 365. This reading was well evident in

S.R. Bommai v. Union of India positioned Indian federalism decisively .

Conclusion: The Way Forward

A diverse and large country like India requires a proper balance between the six pillars of federalism: autonomy of states, national integration, centralisation, decentralisation nationalisation, and regionalisation. Extreme political centralisation or chaotic political decentralisation can both lead to the weakening of Indian federalism. The right balance would prevent the Union government from repressing state autonomy beyond a point while guarding the states against divergence that can threaten national unity. Controlling these extremes is a challenge, as federalism must reconcile the need for national unity on the one hand, and on the other, regional autonomy.

Progress in Human Development since Independence

Concept of Human Development

In 1990, the time had come for a broad approach to improving human well being that would cover all aspects of human life, for all people. The term “human development” is accepted in the development economics literature as an expansion of human capabilities, a widening of choices, an enhancement of freedom and the fulfilment of human rights.

Human Development Reports and Measurement

The initiation of the above approach marked the beginning of the annual series of Human Development Reports- the first Human Development Report of UNDP was published in 1990. In contrast to the GNP – the only other widely used indicator of a country’s overall development – the Human Development Index (HDI) reflects the average achievements along three dimensions of human development: longevity, educational attainment and command over resources needed for a decent living.

However, the HDI does not reflect the deprivation or the distributional aspects of development, particularly inequality. Constructing composite indices to account for gender inequalities for the first time in 1995 took care of it. Second, in 1997, a composite index was proposed and constructed for measuring the multidimensionality of poverty. Third, these composite indices were disaggregated in terms of regions, provinces, gender, races, ethnic groups and the rural-urban divide.

A gender-related development index (GDI) and a gender empowerment measure (GEM) emerged in 1995. The GDI measures achievements in the same dimensions and variables as the HDI, but considers inequality in achievements between men and women. The GEM indicates whether women are able to actively take part in economic and political life. It focusses on participation, measuring gender inequality in key areas of economic and political participation and decision-making.

In 1997, a composite measure for multi-dimensional poverty, the Human Poverty Index (HPI) was introduced.

There has been a change in the methodology of computation of HDI from 2010. The 2014 HDR introduced changes to minimum and maximum values (goalposts) which are now fixed rather than set at the observed values. The minimum and maximum levels for the dimension indicators are currently set as follows:

  • Life expectancy: the minimum value is set at 20 years. The maximum value is fixed at 85 years.
  • The minimum value for both education variables is set at 0. The maximum values for mean years and expected years of schooling are fixed at 15 and 18 years, respectively.
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP): the minimum value is $100. The maximum value is capped at $75,000.


India’s Ranking in Human Development

Out of 189 countries, India ranks 131 on the Human Development Index 2020. With an HDI value of 0.645, the country fell in to the medium human development category. The UNDP in to its country report gave some statistics tracing India’s journey in human development between 1990 and 2019. The report stated that since 1990, the HDI value of India has increased from 0.429 to 0.645, registering an increase of over 50%. During the same period, the life expectancy at birth in India rose by nearly 12 years, while the mean years of schooling witnessed an increase of 3.5 years. During this while, the expected years of schooling also rose by 4.5 years. Moreover, during this period, India’s GNI per capita also increased, registering a rise of nearly 274%.

The UNDP compared India’s value in the HDI with other countries in South Asia, viz, Bangladesh and Pakistan. As against India’s rank at 131, Bangladesh ranked at the 133rd position, while Pakistan stood at 154th place. In the South Asian region, India’s HDI is more than the region’s average which stands at

.641, while India is also above the average value of 0.631 among the medium HDI category countries.

In the UNDP’s Human Development Report of 2017, Francine Pickup, Country Director (then), UNDP India, noted India’s steady progress in improving its HDI value. “The Government of India is committed to improve the quality of life for all its people. The success of India’s national development schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat, Make in India, and initiatives aimed at universalizing school education and health care, will be crucial in ensuring that the upward trend on human development accelerates and also achieve the Prime Minister’s vision of development for all and the key principle of the Sustainable Development Goals — to leave no one behind.”

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

In September 2000, building upon a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits, 149 world leaders countries came together at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the eight goals set by the 189 UN member states in September 2000 and agreed to be achieved by 2015. There are 8 goals, 18 targets, and 48 performance indicators. The following are the eight Millennium Development Goals:

  1. to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger;
  • to achieve global primary education;
  • to empower women and promote gender equality;
  • to reduce child mortality;
  • to promote maternal health;
  • to fight malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases;
  • to promote environmental sustainability; and
  • to develop a universal partnership for development.


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. These 17 Goals are an inclusive agenda.

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages Goal

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for al Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all

Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Important Programme Initiatives/ Schemes launched in India having a bearing on MDGs


  • National Rural Employment Scheme (MGNREGA)
  • PradhanMantriAwasYojana – Gramin
  • Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY- NRLM)
  • Pradhan Mantri Gram SadakYojana
  • The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission
  • Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY – NULM)
  • National Food Security Mission
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)
  • National Health Mission


  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
  • Mid Day Meal Scheme
  • Early Childhood Care and education under ICDS


  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
  • Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalaya Scheme
  • Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education
  • Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan
  • Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan
  • Mahila Samakhya Programme
  • Saakshar Bharat
  • Kishori Shakti Yojana and Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls – SABLA
  • Support to Training and Empowerment Programme
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act


  • National Health Mission
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)
  • Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram


  • National Health Mission
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)
  • Indira Gandhi Matritva SahyogYojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Yojana


  • National AIDS Control  Programme TARGET 8:  Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
  • National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme
  • Urban Vector-Borne Diseases Scheme
  • Revised National TB Control Programme


  • National Afforestation Programme
  • National Mission for a Green India
  • National CFC consumption phase-out plan
  • National Rural Drinking Water Programme
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana


[TARGET 18 : In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.

47. Telephone lines and cellular subscribers per 100 population 48 A. Internet subscribers per 100 population

48B. Personal computers per 100 population]

  • National Knowledge Networks
  • National E-Governance Plan
  • State Wide Area Networks
  • Digital India Programme

Bare Necessities Index

Availability of “bare necessities” such as housing, water, sanitation, electricity and clean cooking fuel, improved across all states in the country in 2018 compared to 2012, the Economic Survey for 2020-21 showed based on the first ever BNI (bare necessities index), released on 28.01.2021as part of the Economic Survey. The BNI has been developed for rural, urban and all-India level using data from two NSO (rounds 69 and 76) on drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and housing conditions. The index summarises 26 indicators on five dimensions — water, sanitation, housing, micro-environment, and other facilities (assessed using indicators like access to the type of kitchen, ventilation of the dwelling unit, access to a bathroom, electricity and type of fuel used for cooking). The survey reports that improved access to “the bare necessities” has led to improvements in health indicators and correlates with future improvements in education indicators.