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Centre for Multilevel Federalism

The Centre for Multilevel Federalism (CMF) is a silver jubilee year initiative of the Institute of Social Sciences, established for studying issues relating to the sharing of powers and responsibilities between different levels of self- government in India’s federal system. Founded on 2nd October 2010, its mission could profitably be read in conjunction with the core areas of expertise of the Institute, which publishes periodic surveys on local self-government issues. Dr. Balveer Arora, former Professor of Political Science and Rector cum Pro Vice Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, is the Founder-Chairman of the Centre. He is assisted by two Vice Chairmen, Prof Rekha Saxena (Delhi University – Northern Region) and Prof K.K. Kailash (Hyderabad University – Southern Region) as well as an International Advisory Board consisting of eminent personalities in the field of federalism studies.

The Centre seeks to position itself as a primary resource hub for the theory and practice of federalism in India, its origins and development as well as its efforts to maintain unity without uniformity, through the respect and recognition of distinctive identities. It aims to develop and propagate the interdisciplinary study of Indian federalism in a comparative perspective and to involve economists, lawyers, journalists and public policy experts alongside political scientists and sociologists from universities and research institutes as well as from think tanks. Above all, it seeks to provide a platform for researchers, in India and abroad, who seek an intellectually stimulating environment for pursuing their research interests in Indian and comparative federalism.

The CMF vision includes theorizing federal practices in India in a comparative perspective and working, inter alia, on asymmetric arrangements, conflict-resolution mechanisms and autonomy processes as part of the global debate on the possibilities and prospects of federal principles in fragmented / divided societies. Through its flagship series of Special Lectures by distinguished scholars as well as more topical seminars/conferences, the Centre seeks to promote the conduct and dissemination of research on federalism. The CMF also has an internship programme to encourage the involvement of young researchers (doctoral and post-doctoral) as well as post-graduates engaged in research as part of their curriculum.

Over the years, the CMF has evolved into India’s largest and most wide-ranging network of federalism scholars from all major regions of the country, as well as an array of distinguished visiting scholars from different parts of the world. Shortly after its inception, the CMF was admitted as a member of the International Association of Centres for Federal Studies (IACFS). It celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2020, and has developed over the years to include distinct research projects, notably migration, gender, green and water federalism, juridical studies, identities and autonomy. It publishes an open access online series of papers titled ‘Indian Federalism Perspectives’ which can be accessed on Its activities can be followed on Facebook (Cmf Iss), Twitter (@Cmf_India) and Instagram.