The Finance Commission of India deals with the sharing of revenue between the States and the Centre and it has a major role to play in maintaining fiscal federalism through its recommendations. The latest report by the Fifteenth Finance Commission consisting of recommendations for the 2021-26 period has dealt with several issues keeping in mind the needs of the States and Centre. The Finance Commission has been described as the balancing wheel in the Constitution because it is designed to correct the structural and inherent imbalances between the resources and the expenditure of the Union and the States. The Commission faced the unprecedented challenge of making projections and recommendations under the most uncertain circumstances yet it consistently tried to balance the views of all the stakeholders to achieve efficient, equitable, inclusive solutions in this extremely diverse country.
The NITI Aayog, in 2017, had called for Competitive Cooperative Federalism to define the relationship between the Centre and the States. This concept puts the burden of transforming India into the hands of the State governments. In recent times, this concept has gained prominence following the participation of the Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories in the presentation of the best practices in each of their jurisdictions. However, NITI Aayog must take the necessary steps to analyse the ground reality so as to provide equal grounds to all the states – including those that are economically and socially marginalized.
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribe had written to the Union Home Minister and Union Minister of Tribal Affairs recommending the inclusion of Ladakh under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of India. The Union Territory of Ladakh, being predominantly a tribal region, has its own unique culture and heritage which needs to be preserved by the government for the inclusive growth and development of the diverse Indian nation.
The Centre has constituted a Delimitation Commission to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the North-Eastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland. The exercise of delimitation across the nation was periodically done to ensure equal representation of states based on population census. This, however, temporarily ceased due to numerous issues like an overemphasis on population numbers. This short-term freeze of delimitation would be lifted in 2026. Therefore, addressing these issues is vital so that the nationwide delimitation process is not postponed yet again, threatening India’s democratic principles.