Touch the Harayana border Uttarakhand

488 Non-European Country Reports Federalism in India Christian Wagner The relationship between the central government and the federal states occupies a central place in the domestic political discussion of the Indian Union. Since independence on August 15, 1947, there have been numerous separatist movements that have questioned the unity of the Indian Union. The fact that India has been able to maintain its territorial integrity to this day is probably due not only to the country's democratic but also to the federal institutions, which have developed into an important component of state and nation-building. The explosive political power of ethnic conflicts is evident in the neighboring states: in Pakistan, when Bangladesh gained independence in 1971, the country's unity broke up; in Sri Lanka, the Tamil conflict has threatened state unity since the mid-1980s. 1. The emergence of Indian federalism The beginnings of federal structures go back to colonial times. Indian representatives will be elected directly to provincial councils for the first time, and Muslims were given their own constituencies to ensure their political representation. As a result of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms in 1919, the majority of the members of the provincial councils were elected. In addition, areas such as education, health and infrastructure were delegated to ministers who were responsible to the provincial councils. The British colonial administration, however, retained control over questions of tax collection, the police and the judiciary. This system of dyarchy formed the basis for the self-government of the provinces and laid the foundation for Indian federalism.2 The independence movement of the Indian National Congress, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, began to align its national associations to language borders in 1920. The discussion about federalism began in the 1930s, when the future of the princely states and the demands of Muslims for greater autonomy were debated. At the time, Muslims made up around 24% of the Indian population. They had their main settlement in the northern provinces and feared an impending majorization by the majority of the Hindus. With the Government of India Act of 1935 federal principles were introduced, which 1 Cf. Rothermund, Dietmar 1995: Parliamentary Democracy and Federalism, in: ders. (Ed.): India. Culture, history, politics, economy, environment. Ein Handbuch, München: Beck, pp. 389-408, here p. 392. 2 Cf. Sisson, Richard 1993: Culture and Democratization in India, in: Diamond, Larry (Ed.): Political Culture and Democracy in Developing Countries, Boulder / London: Rienner, pp. 37-65, here p. 44. India 489 were also enshrined in the negotiations of the constituent assembly.3 In addition to the regions ruled by the British, there were more than 500 princely states that had one had their own political representation in the Legislative Assembly. Through an agreement with the British, the princes retained their internal political independence, but followed the colonial power in foreign policy. Some of these principalities only covered a few square kilometers, others such as Hyderabad or Kashmir were the size of European states. The independence and division of British India in August 1947 initially did not affect the princely states. According to the India Independence Act of 1947, they could either join one of the two new states or remain independent. Jawaharlal Nehru made it clear, however, that he expected the princely states to join the Indian Union. If the princely states were on the territory of India and Pakistan, most of the princes joined one of the two new states. Colonial powers such as France and Portugal initially retained their possessions in India even after the end of British colonial rule in 1947. The constituent assembly delegates between 1946 and 1949 opted for a strong central government that would have extensive control over the states. India was supposed to be a union, not a federation, as its creation did not depend on the approval of the former provinces. The division of British India on a religious basis in 1947 and the independence of Pakistan, as well as the fear of further separatist demands, such as those formulated in the run-up to independence by groups such as the Sikhs and the Nagas, explain why the constitutional fathers of the central government carried significantly greater weight gave to the states. Article 1 of the Indian Constitution states that India is a "Union of States". The state name "Indian Union" was intended to express the idea of ​​the unity of the country. 2. The structure of Indian federalism The dominance of the central government over the federal states is already evident from the fact that 97 areas fall under the competence of the central government (union list); this includes core areas such as foreign relations, defense and currency issues. The state list, which defines the responsibilities of the states, comprises 66 areas, including: Agriculture, Education, Police and Health. There is a concurrent list of legislation for 47 areas, which, however, gives the central government priority over the federal states.4 The federal states do not have their own constitution and no symbols of their own, e.g. B. Flags. A 3 Cf. Chiriyankandath, James 1992: ‘Democracy’ under the Raj: Elections and Separate Representation in British India, in: Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 39-63. 4 Cf. Awasthy, S. S. 2003: Indian Government and Politics, New Delhi: Har-Anand, S. 122-124. 490 Non-European country reports The province of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has a special status. The former princely state did not join the Indian Union until October 26, 1947 when the king declared its accession. He received the support of Indian troops to fight the invasion of tribal warriors into Kashmir. This special status is set out in Article 370 of the Constitution and gives Kashmir a number of privileges over other states. The states are headed by a president-appointed governor. He is the constitutional head of the state and, as such, at the same time committed to the central government. In contrast to the president, however, he has greater powers. Like the president at the federal level, the governor at the state level is also part of parliament and legislation. If the parliament is not in session, it can issue ordinances, which, however, require later approval by the state parliament. Furthermore, laws on financial and budgetary issues are dependent on its approval. He appoints the Prime Minister and the respective ministers and, under certain conditions, can arrange for the state government to be dismissed and for control by the central government (Art. 356, "President’s Rule"). This happened for the first time in Kerala in 1959, when the elected communist state government was dismissed by the governor two years after its first election victory after violent protests and riots. After the Congress Party lost its dominant position in the federal states in the state elections in 1967, the relationship between the elected state government and the president-appointed governor became even more central to the political debate. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used the instrument of the "President’s Rule" in the seventies and eighties to dismiss unpleasant state governments. After various political controversies, the state government is now being consulted by the president on the appointment of the governor. The existence of the federal states is not guaranteed by the constitution, rather it gives the central government the right to create new states if it deems it necessary. The political representation of the federal states is carried out by the Rajya Sabha, which is often referred to as the upper house according to the English constitutional tradition, but its tasks are more like a second chamber comparable to the German Bundesrat. The states are heavily dependent on the central government for budget issues. The central government maintains regular exchanges with the states through federal institutions such as the planning commission or the finance commission. There are also bodies such as the National Development Council (NDC), in which the central government and the federal states agree on development issues. The weakness of the NDC can be explained by the longstanding political dominance of the Congress Party in many states. This opened up political avenues for the Prime Minister to clarify their concerns directly with the central government. The Inter-State Council (ISC) was set up in 1990, but it has only seldom met so far. Important questions, such as the application of Art. 356 or the role of the governors, have so far hardly been discussed in India 491. The development here was similar to that of the NDC. The increase in coalition governments gave the regional parties greater weight and easier access to the federal level, so that the institution remained rather weak.5 In the meantime, discussion groups have also arisen between the prime ministers in which they discuss their problems with one another or with the central government in Delhi. 3. The Representation of the Federal States (Rajya Sabha) The Indian Union today consists of 28 federal states and six union territories, which are administered by the central government. The capital New Delhi was initially a union territory and in 1991 received a separate status as National Capital Territory (NCT). Under constitutional law, the federal states have their political representation in the regional chamber (Rajya Sabha). The number of seats of a state in the Rajya Sabha depends on their respective population size. Of the union territories, only Pondicherry and Delhi are represented, while the others have no seat due to their small size.6 The Rajya Sabha currently consists of 245 members, 233 of which are elected by the states. 12 members, mostly personalities from science, society and culture, are appointed directly by the President. In contrast to the House of Representatives, the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha cannot be dissolved. The term of office of the MPs is six years. The terms of office are staggered so that a third of the members are elected every two years. The electoral parliament is elected by the state parliaments according to the principle of proportional representation through a single transferable vote (STV). The representatives of the states are elected in proportion to the strength of the parties in the respective state parliaments.7 The vice-president is by virtue of his office also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, while his representative is elected from among the members of the state chamber. The chamber of states has at least three session periods per year.8 5 Cf. Saxena, Rekha 2002: Role of inter-governmental agencies, in: The Hindu online of January 29, 2002. (on January 30, 2002). 6 See Kashyab, Subhash C. 2004: Our Parliament. An Introduction to the Parliament of India, New Delhi: National Book Trust, p. 27. 7 Cf. Thakur, Ramesh 1995: The Government and Politics of India, Basingstoke et al .: Macmillan, p. 148. 8 Cf. http: // (on January 24, 2006). 492 Non-European country reports Table 1: Number of seats in the Rajya Sabha in 2005 Federal state Number of seats Federal state Number of seats Andhra Pradesh 18 Mizoram 1 Arunachal Pradesh 1 Nagaland 1 Assam 7 Orissa 10 Bihar 16 Punjab 7 Chattisgarh 5 Rajasthan 10 Goa 1 Sikkim 1 Gujarat 11 Tamil Nadu 18 Haryana 5 Tripura 1 Himachal Pradesh 3 Uttar Pradesh 31 Jammu & Kashmir 4 Uttaranchal 3 Jharkhand 6 West Bengal 16 Karnataka 12 Union Territory of Kerala 9 Puducherry 1 Madhya Pradesh 11 Delhi (NCT) * 1 Maharashtra 19 Appointed Members 12 Manipur 1 245 Meghalaya * National Capital Territory. Source: (on January 18, 2006); Own compilation. Compared to the House of Representatives, the Laender Chamber has fewer powers to monitor the government. So z. B. Finance laws can only be introduced through the House of Representatives and the members of the regional chamber can only make recommendations on such laws, but not reject them. Furthermore, only the Lok Sabha, not the Rajya Sabha, can pronounce a motion of no confidence in the ministers.9 In some areas, the two chambers are treated equally. Firstly, constitutional amendments can only be passed with a two-thirds majority in both chambers. Second, the college for the election of the president consists of the representatives of both chambers and the parliamentarians of the states.10 Thirdly, both chambers can only initiate impeachment proceedings against the president and against the presiding judge of the highest court and other judges. The economic reforms since 1991 have also had repercussions on the states. Since then, the prime ministers have been promoting foreign direct investment in their states and can also directly contact international finance. 9 Cf. Kashyab 2004 (fn. 6), p. 29. 10 Cf. Brass, Paul R. 1994: The Politics of India since Independence , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 50 f. India 493 institutions, such as the World Bank, are negotiating financial aid.11 At the same time, regional disparities within India have deepened with liberalization. There is now an east-west divide that runs along a line from Delhi to Chennai. The states to the west of it, such as B. Haryana, Gujarat, Maharasthra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, have benefited much more from the economic reforms than the states that lie east of this line, such as. B. Orissa or Assam.12 Another constant point of contention between central and state governments is funding. The vast majority of taxes are collected by the central government and then distributed to the states. The financial distribution is based on a formula that is redefined every five years. The funds distributed by the Finance Commission to the states form a not inconsiderable part of their budgets.13 In 2004 the Twelfth Finance Commission determined that the states should receive a share of 30.5% of central tax revenues. In addition, the government in Delhi also has the option of granting the states separate subsidies and of canceling debts. The states themselves have only a few possibilities to raise their own taxes and duties. Economically successful states are now complaining that they are not sufficiently rewarded for their economic and social reforms, while states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesch, which have so far hardly made any reform efforts, are not appropriately sanctioned.14 Despite the growing economic and social differentiation between the There are so far no signs in the states that this has created a new breeding ground for separatist movements. This speaks for the political integration power of the Indian Union, to which the various federal mechanisms make a not inconsiderable contribution despite their problems and inadequacies. But it was not only the economic changes after 1991 that drove the reform discussions about Indian federalism. The deteriorating security situation, especially due to the increasing activities of armed communist groups (Naxalites), has brought about greater cooperation between the central government and the states as well as among the states. The Naxalites are currently seen as the greatest domestic threat as they operate in nearly half of all states. 11 Cf. Jenkins, Rob 2003: How Federalism influences India's domestic politics of WTO engagement (and is itself affected in the process), in: Asian Survey, Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 603 f. 12 Cf. Saran, Rohit 2004: North South Lead, in: India Today International, August 16, 2004, pp. 13-21. 13 See Hardgrave, Robert L. / Kochanek, Stanley A. 2000: India. Government and Politics in a Developing Nation, 6th ed., Forth Worth: Harcourt College Publishers, p. 136. 14 Cf. Jayanth, Varma 2003: States and fiscal reforms, in: The Hindu online from October 16, 2003. (on October 17, 2003). 494 Non-European Country Reports 4. The Development of Local Self-Government Metropolises of millions such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata hide the fact that the degree of urbanization in India is only around 30%.However, for a long time the rural regions did not receive the attention they deserved due to their importance for the modernization process. Mahatma Gandhi had always idealized rural structures and viewed them as the backbone of India's future development, but for Jawaharlal Nehru, who became Prime Minister in 1947, the villages were places of backwardness. The establishment of the local self-government bodies was initially the responsibility of the federal states. Many development programs failed due to inadequate local structures, so that a discussion about reforms of local self-government began as early as the 1950s. In 1959 the first bodies for local self-government (Panchayati Raj) were set up in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesch and Tamil Nadu, but they had different tasks, functions and competencies. Some states had only one local administrative unit, in others there were up to four levels between the villages and the state government. The local committees had no financial resources of their own and remained completely dependent on allocations from the state and federal government. After all, the committees reflected the local and regional hierarchies and power structures of the caste groups and were thus beyond effective control from outside.15 The discussions about local self-government received a new impetus during the reign of Rajiv Gandhi (1984–1989). It became evident that the institutional confusion and the unclear responsibilities between the central and state governments had not improved the living conditions in the rural regions.16 In addition, the existing rural power structures, from which the untouchable castes and tribal groups in particular suffered, were able to despite various reform efforts cannot be overcome. The 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution of 1993 brought about an important innovation in that they gave the bodies of local self-government in the villages and towns their own constitutional status. Probably the most important change in the course of these reforms was the introduction of a 33% quota for women as well as reserved seats for untouchables and tribal members as particularly disadvantaged groups in the newly elected Panchayats. In addition, District Planning Committees were created to enable the Panchayats to have a say in the formulation and implementation of projects. Finally, the states also set up their own finance and election commissions. should control the elections to the Panchayat councils. The range of tasks of the Panchayats was defined more precisely and they were given the opportunity to raise their own taxes and duties. 15 Cf. Awasthy 2003 (fn. 4), pp. 267-270. 16 Cf. de Souza, Peter Ronald 2003: The Struggle for Local Government: Indian Democracy's New Phase, in: Publius, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 99-118, here p. 103. India 495 to fulfill their tasks to raise. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee described the village councils as the third pillar of Indian federalism, thereby underscoring their constitutional emancipation from the states. Comparative studies have shown that even after the reforms, there are still large differences in the bodies of local self-government, which can be explained by the different political contexts in the states. While the state government in Kerala has ceded a relatively large number of competencies to the new bodies, state governments in Tamil Nadu tried to maintain their political control over the new institutions. As a result, the new institutions in states like Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are more likely to be seen as institutions of the state government, whereas in Kerala they are seen more as autonomous self-government at the local level.17 The redefinition of the Panchayati Rajs offered numerous opportunities for political manipulation. In Uttar Pradesch, the state government used this to strengthen the lower castes who supported it. As a result, villages with a predominantly upper-caste population could get lower-caste chairmen, leading to a number of violent incidents. The members of the upper castes developed numerous counter-strategies when untouchables took over the chairmanship of the new bodies. For example, their instructions ignored, but followed by the upper-level deputy, z. In some cases, lower-caste chairmen of the Panchayat were not allowed to enter the houses of the upper castes in the villages.18 Finally, the new bodies also offered numerous opportunities for corruption and patronage: Cases became known in which the post of Panchayati Raj chairman was auctioned against the highest bid .19 The introduction of the quota for women has attracted great international attention. Investigations have also revealed a number of problems.20 For example, thanks to the quotas, women were elected to the committees, but in many cases only acted as representatives of their husbands there. The different quotas for women, untouchables and tribesmen resulted in a proportion of reserved seats in some places exceeding 80%. However, this violated a ruling by the Supreme Court, according to which the proportion of the reservation must not be more than 50%. Despite the shortcomings noted, the reform can still be viewed as positive. With the new institutions, the importance of rural areas for the development of the country has been recognized. At the same time, the quota regulations for disadvantaged groups, such as women and members of the lower castes, have this new possibility. 17 Cf. Narayana, D. 2005: Local Governance without Capacity building. The Years of Panchayati Raj, in: Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 40, no. 26, pp. 2822-2832, here p. 2822. 18 For further examples of such discriminatory practices, see de Souza 2003 (fn. 16), p 109. 19 Cf. Awasthy 2003 (fn. 4), pp. 278-280. 20 Cf. inter alia. Hust, Evelin 2002: Political Presence and Empowerment of Women in Rural Self-Administration: Developments in the Indian State of Orissa, in: Draguhn, Werner (Ed.): India 2002. Politics, Economy, Society, Hamburg: Institute for Asian Studies, p. 123 -142. 496 Non-European country reports opened up opportunities for political participation. It was to be expected that the implementation of these reforms would cause problems and resistance and does not speak against the reform itself. 5. Federalism and State Unity The constitution of 1950 initially distinguished three types of federal states. The nine states of the first group (Part A) were the former British provinces, which now had a parliament and a governor. These included Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Madhya Pradesh (previously Central Provinces and Berar), Madras, Orissa, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh (previously United Provinces) and West Bengal. The states of the second group (Part B) were former princely states that initially retained their internal self-government. These included Hyderabad, Madhya Bharat, Mysore, Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Travancore-Cochin and Vindhya Pradesh. Finally there were states of the third group (Part C), which were ruled by an administrator appointed by the president. These included Ajmer, Bhopal, Bilaspur, Coorg, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Kutch, Manipur and Tripura. Jammu and Kashmir had their own status through their subsequent accession to the Indian Union in October 1947. In addition, at that time there were still a number of French and Portuguese enclaves, such as Goa and Pondicherry, which were claimed by India (see Table 2). The domestic political problems between the countless language, religious, tribal and caste groups were initially masked by the leadership role of the Congress party. After the first election in 1951/52, the party not only ruled at the national level, but also initially provided state governments in all federal states. Despite the party-political dominance, a number of regional conflicts were smoldering as early as the 1950s. The demands of language groups and the integration of the former princely states were closely linked with the reorganization of the federal states. The trigger for this was the Telugu movement in the province of Madras, which demanded a separate province for its language group. After a member of the Telugu movement fasted to death, the central government gave in and decided in October 1953 to create a separate state of Andhra, which initially only included the Telugu-speaking parts of Madras province. In order to meet similar demands of other language groups, Nehru appointed a Commission for the Reorganization of the Provinces (States Reorganization Commission) in December 1953. The aim was to bring the borders of the states into line with those of the large language groups. The commission published its report in 1955 and in 1956 started the first great wave of state regeneration. India 497 Table 2: Provinces and princely states in India after 1947 Part A Part B Part C Others Assam Hyderabad Ajmer Jammu & Kashmir: own status (§ 370) Bihar Madhya Bharat Bhopal European enclaves: Goa, Pondicherry etc. Bombay Mysore Bilaspur *** Madhya Pradesh * Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) Coorg Madras Rajasthan Delhi Orissa Saurashtra Himachal Pradesh Punjab Travancore-Cochin Kutch Uttar Pradesh Vindhya Pradesh Manipur West Bengal ** Tripura * before 1950: Central Provinces and Berar ** before 1950: United Provinces; *** incorporated into Himachal Pradesh in 1954. Source: own compilation. This began a process of reorganizing the provinces, which on the one hand was supposed to take into account the demands of various linguistic and ethnic groups for greater political and cultural independence and on the other hand offered the possibility of integrating the former princely states into the newly created federal states. With the first major reform in 1956, the three-way division of the provinces, which had been in effect until then, was dissolved and replaced by federal states and union territories. The state of Andhra was supplemented by the Telugu-speaking parts of Hyderabad, so that the state of Andhra Pradesh was created. Also in 1956, the state of Bombay was established for the Marathi-speaking groups, in exchange for which it had to give up southern districts to Mysore. Madhya Pradesh was created in 1956 from the merger of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal. The reforms initially reduced the number of states from 27 to 14 (see Table 3). Due to the political demands of various groups, however, it became necessary to further increase the number of states over time. After protests and riots for a separate state for the Gujarati-speaking population, the state of Bombay was divided into the two states of Maharasthra and Gujarat in May 1960. In 1966, Haryana was separated from the Punjab in order to give the Sikhs their own state with the Punjab. Because of the clashes between militant groups and the central government, the number of states in the northeast increased in the 1960s and 1970s. Assam was particularly hard hit. In the course of the reforms, three new states were created in Nagaland (1963), Meghalaya (1972) and Mizoram (1972/1986). Thanks to this procedure, a number of armed insurgency movements were politically settled. 498 Non-European country reports. The small-scale fragmentation of the states in the northeast also shows the problems of this strategy. In view of the complex social structure in the north-east, there were always groups here that did not benefit from the reorganization or did not see their interests taken into account. Therefore, new armed groups emerged time and again who fought for greater autonomy or state independence. B. the Ghurkas. The last new foundations took place in 2000 when the states of Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand were created. With Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, two states emerged for the first time in which the tribal population formed the majority of the population. Table 3: States and Union Territories 1956 (States Reorganization Act) States Union Territories Andhra Pradesh: from parts of Madras and Hyderabad Andaman and Nicobar 1950 Assam Delhi Bihar Himachal Pradesh Bombay: extended with parts of Kutch, Saurashtra, Hyderabad, Madhya Pradesh Lakshadweep Jammu & Kashmir : own status (Art. 370) Manipur Kerala: from parts of Travancore-Cochin, Madras Tripura Madhya Pradesh: extended with parts of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, Bhopal Madras Mysore: extended with parts of Bombay, Hyderabad, Madras, Coorg North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) Orissa Punjab: expanded with PEPSU Rajasthan: expanded with Ajmer Uttar Pradesh West Bengal Source: Own compilation. The establishment of new states followed four informal rules.21 First, regional movements could hope that their concerns would be heard if they renounced the demand for independence. Secessionist movements, on the other hand, were fought militarily by the central government. Second, the demands for the experience of independence could not be justified on religious grounds. Groups like the Sikhs, who were considered to be religious communities, posed a particular problem. 21 Cf. Brass, Paul R. 1974: Language, Religion and Politics in North India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 17-20. India 499 also demanded a federal state of its own. It was only after the political leadership of the Sikhs brought the question of one's own language rather than religion to the fore that the central government was ready to divide the Punjab province. This resulted in the states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, in which the Sikhs made up the majority of the population. Third, movements for a state of their own also had to have broad popular support. This has not always been the case. There were repeated calls for a separate state for the Maithili-speaking groups in northern Bihar, but this did not result in a politically significant mass movement. Fourth, the demands for a reform of the provinces had to be supported by various linguistic groups in order to be successful. This procedure made it possible to divide the province of Bombay for the Marathi and Gujarati speaking groups into the two states of Maharashtra and Gujarat in 1960. The reorganization of the states was a lengthy and often armed conflict, but it ultimately contributed significantly to the stability of the Indian Union. The large language groups such as Tamils ​​and Telugus, but also smaller ethnic groups such as Nagas and Mizos, received their own political units. Through the competence of the federal states in the areas of language, education and culture, the different ideas of identity could be embedded in the institutional framework of Indian federalism and the demands of separatist movements could be averted. The process of state formation is unlikely to be over yet. So there are, inter alia. in the northeast and in Andhra Pradesh a series of movements such as the Bodos or the Telengana movement, which also demand a state of their own. Source: own compilation. 6. Outlook The stability of the Indian Union is not only strengthened by the democratic institutions but also by its federal structures. The political map of India has changed significantly since independence in 1947 and is likely to continue to change. Even if the process of establishing new states has often been violent, it has contributed to the stability of the Indian Union. The comparison with the neighboring states of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, whose governments were confronted with India 501 comparable movements for greater regional and cultural independence, shows the explosiveness of these lines of conflict. The Pakistani governments were unable to respond politically to calls for greater regional autonomy for the Bengali majority in East Pakistan. This led to civil war after the 1970 elections and to the breakup of the country after the Indian intervention in 1971. The governments in Sri Lanka, which are dominated by the Sinhalese parties, were not prepared to grant the Tamil minority greater autonomy rights after independence in 1948. This led to a militarization of the conflict in the 1980s, which brought the country to the brink of partition. Although India, due to its size, had the most difficult conditions for state and nation-building in South Asia, it has so far best mastered the challenges of managing an economic development process in a multi-ethnic society under conditions of democratic competition. Growing global economic interdependence, increasing social differentiation and increasing regional inequality will continue to put the democratic and federal institutions of the Indian Union to new tests in the future.