The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Inter-State Tussles and Centre-State Relations

 GS-2 Mains Exam : Polity (Inter-State Relation)

Revision Notes

Question : “Discuss the impact of the rise of regional parties on Centre-State relations in India. In light of the 2024 general election results, how can a more collaborative approach between the Centre and States strengthen federalism and improve governance? Evaluate the role of the Finance Commission in resource distribution and suggest measures to reduce the dominance of the Centre in favor of a balanced federal structure.”


The 2024 general election results, with strong regional party performance, offer an opportunity to improve Centre-State relations in India. A more collaborative approach is crucial for effective governance in a diverse country.

Strengthening Federalism:

  • Regional Parties: The rise of regional parties signifies a shift towards greater democratization. Power being shared between regional parties at the Centre and in the States strengthens federalism, a system where power is constitutionally divided between the central and regional governments.
  • Diversity and Autonomy: India’s vast geographical area and cultural richness necessitate a nuanced approach. A “one size fits all” policy from the Centre wouldn’t work. States like Assam, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu have unique needs and require greater autonomy to address them effectively.

Centre-State Relations and Funding:

  • Three Categories of Issues: State governments deal with a range of issues. Some, like education, health, and social services, can be addressed independently. However, infrastructure development, water sharing, currency, and defense require cooperation and agreements between states and the Centre.
  • Funding and Conflict: Achieving goals in any area requires financing, which is often a point of contention. Revenue is generated through taxes (both direct and indirect) and borrowings. The Centre has an advantage due to its efficiency in tax collection. Key taxes like personal income tax, corporation tax, customs duty, and excise duty are levied by the Centre. GST (Goods and Services Tax) is a shared revenue source. Since the Centre controls most resources, devolving a fair share to states is crucial for them to fulfill their responsibilities.

The Finance Commission and Resource Distribution:

  • Role and Bias: The Finance Commission, a constitutionally mandated body, is appointed to recommend the devolution of funds from the Centre to the States and determine the share of each state. However, the Centre sets up the Commission and often dictates its terms of reference. This inherent bias in favor of the Centre creates conflict with the States.
  • Underlying Assumptions: There’s an implicit assumption that states are not fiscally responsible, leading to a dynamic where both sides inflate their demands. States tend to underreport revenue collection and overestimate expenditures in hopes of securing a larger share from the Commission. This adversarial approach undermines effective collaboration.

 Challenges in Resource Distribution:

  • States differ in development stages and resource availability.
  • Richer states have more resources, while poorer states need more to catch up.
  • The Finance Commission aims to bridge the gap, but the disparity persists.
  • Centre allocates resources through:
    • Finance Commission awards (proportionally more to poorer states)
    • Central spending in states (creates conflict as each state wants more)

Federalism and the 16th Finance Commission:

  • The Commission should address fraying federalism and strengthen the “Union of States.”
  • It should promote even-handed treatment of all states and reduce friction over resource allocation.
  • Good governance at both Centre and State levels is crucial for development.

Reducing Centre’s Dominance:

  • Increase devolution of resources from Centre to States (current level: 41%).
  • Limit Centre’s role in joint schemes like PDS and MGNREGS (avoid credit-seeking and penalizing states).

The Way Forward:

  • Centre’s assertiveness undermines federalism.
  • Central funds come from states and are spent in states.
  • States are the real entities where economic activity and resource generation occur.
  • Centre and States should jointly decide on resource utilization as equal partners.




The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Remoulding the Global Plastics Treaty

 GS-3 Mains Exam : Environment

Revision Notes

Question : “With reference to India’s approach to plastic pollution, critically examine the need to incorporate informal waste pickers into the legal framework. How can the principles of repair, reuse, refill, and recycling be harmonized with the goals of the Global Plastics Treaty?”

  • Plastic Pollution Crisis: Global plastic waste production is enormous (353 million tonnes in 2019) and projected to triple by 2060. Only 9% is recycled.
  • Informal Recycling Workers: These workers play a crucial role, collecting and recycling 85% of the world’s recycled plastic.
  • Benefits: They alleviate waste management burdens, promote circularity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Their efforts prevent plastic pollution by diverting waste from landfills.
  • Vulnerability: Informal recycling workers face risks due to privatization, waste-to- energy projects, and exclusion from Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes.
  • Informal Sector’s Significance: The informal waste and recovery sector (IWRS) is a major player, recovering 80% of municipal solid waste in many cities.
  • Environmental Impact: Without the IWRS, plastic pollution in waterbodies would be significantly worse (estimated at 60 million tonnes currently).
  • Policy Oversights: Current strategies to reduce plastic pollution often neglect the IWRS’s capabilities and knowledge, threatening livelihoods and existing systems.

Treaty and Negotiations:

  • Global Plastics Treaty aims to reduce plastic pollution through a legally binding agreement.
  • The treaty is being developed through Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) meetings.
  • The International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP) advocates for waste pickers’ inclusion.

Importance of Waste Pickers:

  • IAWP highlights the need for formalizing and integrating informal waste pickers.
  • Their historical contribution and role in sustainable waste management is crucial.

India’s Perspective:

  • India promotes a practical approach focusing on repair, reuse, refill, and recycling.
  • Recognizing country-specific situations is important, including the role of informal waste pickers.
  • India needs to consider integrating waste pickers into the new legal framework.

The Way Forward :

  • A key question is how the treaty can ensure a just transition for 15 million informal waste pickers who collect 58% of global recycled waste.
  • The treaty’s success hinges on incorporating their perspectives and protecting their livelihoods.
  • Achieving social justice and leaving no one behind requires including waste pickers.


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