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Coalition politics & Special packages UPSC NOTE


  • The Bharatiya Janata Party is dependent on the Janata Dal (United) of Bihar and the Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh for its parliamentary majority.

  • Demand for State-specific discretionary grants, or ‘special packages’, are back with a bang in public discussion

  • The positive aspect of single-party dominance being tempered by the presence of coalition partners that can act as a check if unitary trends surge cannot be underestimated. 

  • Nevertheless, this is the time to test the hypothesis that when single-party dominance at the Union level fades, federal tendencies bloom and when a single-party majority under a strong leader at the Union level prevails, federal tendencies wilt

  • If a healthy federal structure is to be nurtured, the fiscal boundaries, principles of assignment of taxes, and the basis for grants have to be transparent and objective. 

  • A federal setup can be asymmetric in a country that is characterised by linguistic, cultural, and economic diversity

Constitutional provisions

  • Issues of asymmetry should be addressed by means of constitutional provisions that have both transparency and stability.

  • The Constitution has provisions that address the issues of specific States, or States that have a special status with regard to certain matters mentioned in the Constitution. 

  • These provisions are covered, for instance, in Articles 371A to H 

  • On the contrary, special packages are purely discretionary. 

  • They may be need-based, but the need is not the proximate reason for granting a special package, which is an additional grant under Article 282, which falls under ‘Miscellaneous Financial Provisions’. 

  • More often than not, they are the result of the bargaining power of some State-level political parties that can tilt the scales of parliamentary majority

  • That the outcome of an election can determine the fiscal distribution of national resources to a State or States goes against the grain of fiscal federalism (or, more correctly, of federal finance). 

  • Some States may be justified in their demands for funds, but allocation has to be through the mechanism of the Finance Commission

  • The Commission make recommendations regarding the distribution of a share of taxes collected by the Union to the States, and how this is to be distributed among the States, as per Article 280; and disbursement of grants to States in need of assistance, as provided in Article 275



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Coalition politics & Special packages UPSC NOTE
Coalition politics & Special packages UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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