Cooperative, competitive federalism is need of the hour: PM Narendra Modi in Independence Day speech

PM Modi lists out five resolutions for every Indian to adopt so as to ensure a developed, prosperous India in the next 25 years.

ByAnusha Ravi Sood

Published Aug 15, 2022 | 1:27 PM Updated Aug 15, 2022 | 2:51 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage at Mahatma Gandhi memorial at New Delhi ahead of his 76th Independence Day speech. Source: PIB

Federalism and the role of states featured prominently in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech from the Red Fort on Monday, 15 August. Addressing the nation on the occasion of India’s 76th Independence Day, Modi called on states to “compete with each other”, paving the way for India’s progress.

“The need of the hour is cooperative, competitive federalism along with cooperative federalism. We need a competition for progress,” Modi said in his speech.

“States should feel that another state has done well so I must do better. Between our states we need a competitive spirit that will inspire us to take the country’s progress forward,” the prime minister added.

The statement come at a time multiple opposition parties, especially those from southern states, have accused the Union government of failing to uphold the spirit of federalism.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao boycotted the recently-held NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting deeming the Modi-led Union government “imperialist dictatorship” with no regard for federalism and not treating states as equal partners.

Tamil Nadu’s Finance Minister Dr Palanivel Thiagarajan, too, had dubbed the Union government a “colonial power” that did not uphold federalism.

‘Thank architects of Constitution for federalism’

As if addressing the opposition parties’ concerns over federalism and Centre-State coordination, Modi sought states’ cooperation to work together to take India to newer heights.

“Today I would like to thank the architects of India’s Constitution for the federal structure they gave us. If we take that spirit forward and walk shoulder-to-shoulder, our dreams will come true. Programmes and styles may be different, but our vision for the nation and our dreams are not different,” Modi added.

Recalling his tenure as chief minister of Gujarat, Modi said despite his party not being in power at the Centre at that time, he worked with resolve for India’s progress.  “India’s progress should be our priority,” he said.

Opposition leaders, including DMK’s PTR has often referred to Modi’s tenure as chief minister when he launched tirades against the then Congress-led Union government of not upholding federal principles.

Women empowerment, nepotism, corruption

Other highlights of the prime minister’s speech included jibes at nepotism. Barely days after the BJP lost its alliance government in Bihar with Nitish Kumar pulling out of the government and joining hands with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD, Modi lashed out at nepotism in “all walks of life”.

Modi described nepotism as an “evil” that wasn’t allowing talent to flourish.

“When I talk about nepotism and corruption, people often assume I am referring to politics. Not at all. Unfortunately, this evil of politics has nurtured nepotism in every institution,” Modi said, calling on citizens to “punish those who have propagated corruption”.

“Until the people don’t develop a state of mind to penalise the corrupt, the country won’t progress at its optimum level,” Modi said, adding that corruption and nepotism and dynastic legacy were the biggest challenges for India.

A call for further empowering women and ending misogyny found space in the prime minister’s speech.

“Stories of Rani Laxmibai, Jhalkaribai, Chennamma, Begum Hazrat Mahal fill every Indian with pride. Respecting women is an important factor in India’s growth,” Modi said, expanding on the contribution of women in various fields, from science to sports.

As his appeal to the people of India on 75 years of Independence, Modi presented his “five resolutions” for all citizens to adopt: A developed India; the complete elimination of colonial mindset; pride in India’s roots; unity; and sense of duty.