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Federalism is a system of government in which the power is divided between a central authority and various constituent units. Normally in a federation, there are two levels of government. Both these levels of governments enjoy their power independent of other.


Features of Federalism

  1. There are two or more levels of governments. For instance, central, state and local self government.
  2. Different tiers of government govern the same citizens, but each tier has its own jurisdiction in specific matters of legislation, taxation and administration.
  3. The jurisdiction of the respective levels or tiers of government are specified in the constitution.
  4. The fundamental provisions of the constitution cannot be unilaterally changed by one level of government, such changes require the consent of both the levels of government.
  5. Courts have the power to interpret the constitution and powers of different levels of the government.
  6. Sources of revenue for each level of government are clearly specified to ensure its financial autonomy.

Types of Federation

  1. ‘Coming together’ federations
The independent states coming together on their own to form bigger unit is called ‘coming together’ federation, e.g., USA, Switzerland and Australia.
  1. ‘Holding together’ federation

A large country decides to divide its power between the constituent states and national government, e.g., India, Spain and Belgium.


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