[Answered] Examine how the concentration of political and economic power affected federalism and democratic institutions.

Introduction: Brief introduction

Body: Effect of centralization of power on federalism and democratic institutions

Conclusion: Way forward

The concentration of political and economic power in India has had significant effects on federalism and democratic institutions, leading to both challenges and transformations in the country’s governance.

Key ways this concentration has impacted federalism

  • Erosion of State Autonomy: The increasing concentration of power in the central government has eroded the autonomy of state governments.
  • Governor’s Role: The role of the Governor, appointed by the central government, has been contentious, with allegations of using this office to undermine state governments not aligned with the central ruling party.
  • GST Implementation: The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) centralized tax collection, impacting states’ fiscal autonomy. Although it streamlined taxation, it also reduced the financial independence of states.
  • Legislative Overreach: The use of central legislative powers to pass laws on subjects traditionally under state jurisdiction has weakened the federal structure. For example, the central government’s intervention in agricultural laws sparked widespread protests and was perceived as encroaching on state powers.
  • Electoral Dominance: The dominance of a single political party at the center can diminish the competitive nature of state politics, leading to weakened regional parties and reduced political pluralism.

Key ways this concentration has affected democratic institutions

  • Media and Civil Society: The concentration of economic power has also influenced media and civil society, with corporate ownership and political affiliations affecting media independence and civil liberties.
  • Bureaucratic Control: The central government’s control over the bureaucracy can affect state administration, where officials may be more aligned with central directives than state interests.
  • Economic Disparities: Centralized economic policies often fail to address regional disparities adequately, leading to uneven development and social tensions.
  • Policy Implementation: Policies like centrally sponsored schemes sometimes lack local contextualization, affecting their efficacy and reception among state populations.
  • Judicial Appointments: The central government’s influence over judicial appointments through bodies like the National Judicial Appointments Commission (though struck down by the Supreme Court) raises concerns about the judiciary’s independence.


The concentration of power in India challenges federalism and democracy, leading to centralization and weakened state autonomy. However, regional politics, judicial oversight, and civil society activism help maintain balance, reflecting ongoing power negotiations in a diverse democracy.

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