Evolution of Federalism in Modern India


India, Britain, federalism, government, constitution

How to Cite

THANKAPPANNAIR, AJAYAN. 2024. “Evolution of Federalism in Modern India”. In Gremium. Studies in History, Culture and Politics, no. 17 (March), 121-51. https://doi.org/10.61826/ig.vi17.438.


Federalism existed in ancient and medieval India in different forms. Immediately after the acquisition of power by the British, the colonial master began to centralize powers into the hands of the supreme government at Calcutta. The centralization of power reached its zenith with the enactment of the Charter Act of 1833. It formed one of the main reasons of the rebellion of 1857. Consequent upon which, the British dropped centralization tendency and began to decentralize power with the passage of the Indian Council’s Acts of 1861and 1892 and the Government of India Acts in 1909, 1919 and 1935. It aimed to bring together the Indian states and the British directly administered provinces for the purpose of federalization. But, federalism was not materialized because the Indian states declined to join it despite many concessions to them. Therefore, the central administration continued up to 1947 in accordance with the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1919. However, provincial autonomy was introduced in 1937. On independence in 1947, the Constituent Assembly more or less borrowed federal provisions from the Government of India Act 1935 and added to the Constitution of India combining the characteristics of a unitary as well as a federal constitution.



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