Asymmetric Federalism

Asymmetric Federalism

News: The recent SC verdict on abrogation of Art 370 (Special provision with respect to J&K) has highlighted the nature of asymmetric federalism existing in India.

What is Asymmetric Federalism in India?
• Asymmetric federalism in India refers to the unequal powers and relationships in political, administrative, and fiscal arrangements between the federal units constituting a federation. This asymmetry can be viewed in both vertical (between the centre and states) and horizontal (among the states) senses.

Types of Asymmetric Federalism in India

Vertical AsymmetryHorizontal AsymmetryFiscal Asymmetry
Article 3 - The Centre can unilaterally alter the state names and boundaries.Art 371-371J- Special position, powers, and protection enjoyed by some states.Centrally sponsored schemes (CSS)- For special category status states, the Centre pays 90% of the funds required in a CSS, as against 60% in the case of normal category states.
Article 352 & 356- Provisions related to imposition of National Emergency and President’s rule.Schedule 5- The administration and control of tribal areas in 10 statesHorizontal devolution among states based on achieving certain criteria such as Income distance, demographic performance etc.
Governor – Appointed by Central government and is a representative of Centre.Schedule 6- The administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. 

What is the significance of Asymmetric Federalism in India?
• Plurality of Indian society: India has a diverse and pluralistic society with multiple religions and languages, and asymmetrical federalism is a necessary framework for a multicultural and multinational country such as India.
• Protection of minorities: By giving more power and autonomy to regions where certain minority groups are concentrated, asymmetrical federalism helps ensure that these groups are not marginalized.
• State-specific issues: By giving more power to states, asymmetrical federalism can help ensure that the state-specific issues are given the attention and resources they need to be effectively addressed.
• Accommodation and integration: Asymmetrical federalism is a system that allows for self-rule within the framework of shared rule, and it follows the principle of weighted and differentiated equality.
• Strengthening federalism: Asymmetric federalism strengthens federalism by ensuring a balance of power by ensuring decentralization of power and decision-making as per requirements of the federal units.

What are the challenges with the Asymmetric Federalism in India?
• It has a tendency to promote regionalism and separatism.
• It creates imbalances in decision making and resource allocation often leading to perception of favoritism and discrimination. For example, as seen in case of erstwhile J&K state where development of Ladakh was ignored.
• Some regions benefit from preferential funding or fiscal arrangements, while others may receive fewer resources, resulting in economic disparities and regional imbalances.
• Political principles and factors are taken into consideration while implementing these principles which comes at the cost of required development and public interests.

• The Indian constitution is blend of rigidity and flexibility but emphasizes on a strong center visa-vis states. There should be right balance between Symmetric, cooperative and asymmetric principles of Federalism that promotes Good Governance and serves interests of every section of the society. 

DICS Branches

Our Branches

DICS Ahmedabad


(Head Office)

Address : 506, 3rd EYE THREE (III), Opp. Induben Khakhrawala, Girish Cold Drink Cross Road, CG Road, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, 380009.

Mobile : 8469231587 / 9586028957

Telephone : 079-40098991



Address: A-306, The Landmark, Urjanagar-1, Opp. Spicy Street, Kudasan – Por Road, Kudasan, Gandhinagar – 382421

Mobile : 9723832444 / 9723932444


DICS Vadodara


Address: 2nd Floor, 9 Shivali Society, L&T Circle, opp. Ratri Bazar, Karelibaugh, Vadodara, 390018

Mobile : 9725692037 / 9725692054


DICS Surat


Address: 403, Raj Victoria, Opp. Pal Walkway, Near Galaxy Circle, Pal, Surat-394510

Mobile : 8401031583 / 8401031587


DICS New Delhi

New Delhi

Address: 53/1, Upper Ground floor, Near Popular juice, Old Rajinder nagar, New Delhi -60

Mobile : 9104830862 / 9104830865