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The era of combative federalism

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    24th Feb, 2022

Context

Proposed amendments to Indian Administrative Cadre Rules, 1954.

Background

  • The relationship between the Union and state governments in India has not always been smooth.
  • In recent years though, Centre’s relationship with the states has seen more downs than usual.
  • Centre’s attempt to gain more say in deciding on Central deputation of civil servant by the proposed amendments of Administrative Cadre Rules, 1954, as suggested by the Department of Personnel and Training, has become the latest is the list of irritants that has caused friction between the Centre and state governments.

Analysis

Relations between Centre and State Government as per the Constitution:

  • The Constitution of India establishes a federal polity in India. This means presence of Union Government at the center and state governments at regional level.
  • For effective and efficient administrative functioning of the country, the Constitution has allotted both the Centre and the state with specific domains.
  • The federal structure of India though is not full-proof is tilted towards the Union Government.
  • It also needs to be understood that the framers of Indian Constitution did not possess a divine pen and presence of ambiguities, between the areas of operation of Centre and state in the legal framework is only natural.
  • The problem further gets complicated when different political parties are in charge of the governments in the Centre and in the state.

Recent controversies related to disputes between Center and states in India:

  • Passing of farm laws (now withdrawn) were, according to states, drafted without taking into consideration the views of the latter.
  • The issue of GST compensation has caused a wedge to be developed between the central and the provisional governments.
  • Action taken by central agencies like CBI and ED against the leaders of state government, perceived to be done at the behest of the Central government, has led to bittering of relationship between the two sets of government in the country.
  • The extension of territorial jurisdiction of BSF by the Union Home Ministry is seen as the attack on the powers of state police and has brought the border states of India at loggerheads with the Central Government.

What is the Cadre Rules issue?

  • The Central Government has proposed the Amendment of the Administrative Cadre Rules, 1954.
  • If this proposed amendments are implemented the results will be as follows-
    • It will take away the liberty of the States to deny consent for handing over Civil Servants, working in state, for Central deputation.
    • If there is a difference between the central and state government with respect to the central deputation of civil servants, who at that particular time is serving the state, then the reason for not releasing him/her should be communicated to the Centre.
    • In the event of state not communicating the reason in the above situation, the decision of the Central Government shall prevail.

What are the current rules on Central Deputation?

  • The current rule says that the Central and state government concerned, with concurrence, can depute an officer for services under the Central Government or any other state government.
  • In case of difference between the Central and concerned state government, a decision shall be taken on the above matter by both sets of governments together.

What are the complaints of states against the proposed change in rules?

  • Insistence on deputation of an officer would hamper the administration of the state as it would impede the planning of policies and their execution.
  • This would be the result because the state would find it difficult to predict the human resource available with the state.
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