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A ten-member multi-party delegation of Myanmar’s parliamentarians, led by Mr. Oo Hla Sae (Member of Parliament, Arakan National party), called on the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) faculty on 20 February 2017. The ensuing interaction focused on India’s federal system of governance, with members of the delegation evincing their interest in gauging out how the system works so well for India despite her geographical vastness and multiple diversity.
In his welcoming remarks, General NC Vij, Director, VIF, shared with the visiting delegates experiences of his erstwhile visit to Myanmar in 2016. Among other things, the Director pointed out he had meetings out there with important Buddhist leaders on holding the next phase of a global conclave, ‘Hindu-Buddhist Dialogue on Conflict Avoidance and Environmental Consciousness’, being hosted by Myanmar on 3 & 4 May 2017. Incidentally, the conclave – a joint initiative by India and Japan, was first rolled out by the VIF itself in the year 2015, with Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi flagging off the initiative.
In so far as the purpose of the Delegation’s visit to the VIF is concerned, Mr. Dhirendra Singh, former Home Secretary and member of an erstwhile Commission on Centre-State Relations which submitted its report in 2010, apprised the visiting parliamentarians of the various provisions and safeguards enshrined in the constitution as regards the smooth functioning of federal structure of governance in India. He marked out important phases in the development of federalism as a thought process in India, besides giving a snapshot view of the actual working relationship between the Centre and the States under the prevailing circumstances.The division of power between States and the Centre into three lists – Union, State and Concurrent, resource sharing, dispute settlement, among other subjects, were substantially elaborated by the presenter.
Among other highlights of the presentation, Mr. Dhirendra Singh, stressed that federalism in India is so structured as to preserve India’s national unity and integrity, which also explains why the scale is slightly tilted in favour of the Centre. An interactive session followed the presentation wherein the visiting delegates sought to clarify their doubts on certain aspects of Indian federal system.