With the imposition of nationwide lockdown and the resulting near-standstill in economic activity, the revenue sources of the government have taken a major hit. Both central and state governments are struggling with drying up of revenues, while simultaneously dealing with increased demand for expenditure in light of the COVID-19 crisis. However, the state governments are affected more as the bulk of expenditure takes place at the state level. Unlike the central government, many of the states depend on the central devolution of funds for its finances.
Lok Sabha, in July this year, had passed Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in order to hasten the water disputes between the States. India occupies 2.4% of the World’s total land area and it consists of 18% of the world population with only 4% of the world’s renewable water resource. Furthermore, India’s water distribution is uneven – a situation favourable for an increase in the possibility of water-related conflicts. Due to these disputes, the local issues are prioritized of the superior issues of national importance. The sense of unity among the people of India is being jeopardized by these irksome issues. Thus, Inter-State Water Dispute (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is a need of the hour as existing Act as not addressing the issue with needed efficiency.
The democratic form of government ensures the liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and opportunity, fraternity as well as the right to participate in political decision-making. Participation and control of governance by the people of the country, when the powers of the state are decentralized to the district, block and village levels form the core of Democratic Decentralization. Here, people can sit together, discuss their problems and suggest solutions and plan, execute as well as monitor the implementation of the programmes. It is called democratic decentralization.
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.
India is a welfare state. This means that it is the duty of the government to ensure the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. One Nation One Ration Card Scheme seeks to provide solutions to the limitations of the previous food security schemes that were domicile-based, that is, the beneficiaries can only avail for the assistance at a fixed Public Distribution System and cannot change this without undertaking prior complex procedures.