Needed, greater decentralisation of power -Suhrith Parthasarathy
Even as States have taken up positions of leadership in the pandemic response, federal limitations are becoming hurdles
Over the course of the last few weeks, as we have found ourselves in the throes of a pandemic, one of the striking features of governance has been the signal role played by State Chief Ministers across India. Even before the Union government invoked the Disaster Management Act, 2005, many State governments triggered the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and installed a series of measures to combat what was then an oncoming onslaught of COVID-19. These actions have not always been perfect. Some of them have even disproportionately trenched upon basic civil liberties. But, by and large, they have been tailored to the reality faced on the ground by the respective governments. States such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Karnataka have shaped their policies to address their direct, local concerns. They have communicated these decisions to the public with clarity and consideration, helping, in the process, to lay out a broad framework for the nation. In doing so, they have acted not merely as “laboratories of democracy”, to paraphrase the former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, but also as founts of reasoned authority.
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The Hindu, 9 April, 2020, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/needed-greater-decentralisation-of-power/article31293086.ece?homepage=true