What is considered as the reform of the millennium by the government of the day, is not free from any controversy as far as federalism is concerned. Experts’ opinions are fairly divided as well. Today here we will look at how federal structure is affected by the way they were passed in the Parliament.
Federalism is a feature of the basic structure of the constitution and is mainly governed in the country with the help of three lists in the seventh schedule of the constitution. The three lists namely state list, union list & concurrent list divide different topics between center and state and designated their area of operations.
Agriculture is entry 14 in the state list in schedule 7 which makes it part of the state’s area of operations and this is where the entire controversy takes birth. The main bone of contention with the states is that the states feel they are not made part of the decision-making process Despite having such a huge stack involved. The APMC mandis of the states are not just there to regulate the farm produce market but are also a revenue source for the state governments, something which the center completely ignored in these legislations.
Secondly, the states have a problem in the way the passing of these legislations were carried out by the center. Art. 123 of the constitution gives “The President” the power to pass ordinances but those are supposed to be for very grave and severe circumstances whereas in this scenario it seems like it has been used by the center to muscle its will on the states. Over and above this there was no discussion allowed in the Rajya Sabha regarding the bills and were passed with voice votes, the states never got the chance to voice their concerns, something which is beyond bizarre for legislation with such an important reform.
There cannot be two ways when we say that these reforms are very positive and important steps in the struggling agriculture sector of the country. But the way these legislations were carried out by the government of the day, it compromises the basic principles of federalism in the country. It not just overlooks the concerns and issues of the states but also diminishes their role in the governance process and most importantly sacrifices the trust between the states and the union.