Essential Conditions Necessary for the Success of a Federation

Essential Conditions Necessary for the Success of a Federation are as follows:

1. Desire for Union:

A strong desire for unity among the people of the federating units is the first condition essential for the formation and successful working of a federation.

The will to have a union and form a big single sovereign powerful state alone can provide a solid psychological basis for the establishment of a federation and can pave the way for its successful working.

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2. Preservation of Individuality:

The federating units while desiring for union should also be conscious of their individualities and be committed to preserve these even after becoming parts of the federation. Along with strength and solidarity that they want to secure through a federation, they should be prepared to preserve their identities through internal autonomy.

While standing for national unity, these should also stand for their individualities and autonomous existences. ‘Unity in Diversity’, is thus the ha mark of federation and faith in this maxim alone can secure its an efficient an successful operation.

3. Political Maturity and Education:


The system of Federation demands an under-standing on the part of the people regarding the respective roles of the central government and state governments in the operation of the federal system. They should be clear about the distinction between the national issues and needs, and local or regional issues and needs.

They should be fully conversant with the theory of federalism and ignore neither the national needs in favour of narrow regionalism nor the regional interests and rights in favour of extreme nationalism. They should be tolerant of regionalism as a natural part of federalism. Political maturity on the part of the people alone can secure a successful working of a federation.

4. Geographical Contiguity:

The geographical contiguity of the federating units goes a long way towards the successful operation of the federal system. Physical separation of units is always a source of weakness. It prevents the people of the federating units to mix and develop links — a condition vitally important for the health and evolution of the federation. It also hampers the securing of political cooperation among the federating units in managing the national affairs.


A physical distance often leads to a psychological distance. It makes cooperation among the people of federating units difficult, slow and uneven. National unity is difficult to attain where people are too far apart. Geographic contiguity greatly helps the people of a federation to work as a united nation. Geographical distance definitely played a big role in the breaking up of the Pakistani federal system into two sovereign states Pakistan and Bangladesh.

However, the technological and communication revolutions of our age have helped the federations like the United States to keep up unity and integrity despite the non-existence of geographic contiguity in the territory of the federation.

5. Community of Race, Language, Culture and Religion:

A federation characterised by community of language, race, culture and religion alone can work in a strong and healthy manner. These elements create a sentiment of unity—as sense of belonging to one another, hold together the people and wield them into one nation. Common historical traditions and respect and love for common culture values provide a strong basis for the unity of the federating people and thereby help the federation to work successfully.

Linguistic and religious unity further cements the ties of the people. The existence of linguistic and religious diversities can be a source of weakness for the federation. However, this should not be taken to mean that it is absolutely essential for a federation to have one language and one religion.

American, Canadian and Swiss federations have been working very successfully despite the existence of cultural, linguistic, religious and regional diversities among the people of the federating units. High level of maturity and political consciousness of the people can help the federations to overcome the hurdles created by the existence of diversities. Acceptance and understanding of the ideology of ‘unity in diversity can secure unity over and above the divisions along linguistic, cultural, religious and regional lines.

6. Approximate Equality of Units:

The working of the federation also depends upon the size and resources of the federating units. The ideal condition is that as far is possible, there should be approximate equality among them. Wide differences in size, population and resources can prevent the growth of the feeling of equal participation as equal partners of the federation.

Units with disproportionately larger size, resources and population can dominate its working. At least it can induce a sense of inferiority and fear among the smaller units. Rise of mutual suspicions and lack of confidence among the federating units is always a source of big weakness for the federation. For the health and success of the federation, it is essential that there should an approximate quality and a sort of balance among the federating units.

7. Similarity of Political Institutions and Alert Political Parties:

Similarity of political ideas and institutions among the federating states and their peoples is indeed a sine-quo-non for successful working of the federation. Where opines that without similarity of political institutions, there can emerge no real and effective desire for the union. Similar political institutions can greatly help the development of a popularly shared political process characterised by commonly shared political values and goals (Political Culture).

The centre and states should have similar constitutional systems only then can they coexist and coordinate their efforts. The existence of parliamentary systems, both at the centre and state in the federations of India, Australia and Canada has been a source of union and strength for them. Further, a federation can work only when the centre and states have a democratic system. For the success of a federation, it is essential that political parties should be alert. They should understand and secure a balance between national needs and local demands.

8. Similarity of Social Institutions:

Besides similarity of political institutions, the federation must be characterised by similar social institutions only then can it work in harmony. Dissimilar social institutions not only hinder the desire for union, but also these can create big difficulties in the way of working of a federal system. No doubt in no federation there can be total similarity of these institutions, nevertheless the existence of dissimilarities must be within reasonable limits, and even in respect of these dissimilarities, the attitude of all the people should be governed by the maxim: “We agree to be different and yet remain united. The formation and working of a federation depends upon some agreement to differ but not to differ too much”.

9. Comprehensive Economic Development:

One reason that influences the federating units to form a federal union is the expectation that the union will be source of strength and economic development for them, that the pooling and coordinating of their resources will result into rapid and big economic prosperity, modernisation, and technological and economic development. As such the federation can maintain its health and strength only by fulfilling such expectations of the federating units.

Attempts made at the equal development of all the federating units alone can greatly strengthen the federation. The existence of some weak and economically less developed weak states along with some other strong, prosperous and economically developed states is always a source of weakness for a federation. Availability of adequate economic resources for the central government as well as for the governments of the federal units is essential for the successful working of a federation.

The existence of all these conditions is essential for the formation and successful operation of a federation. Some of these conditions mast be naturally present only then the federation can come into existence, others must be secured through conscious efforts and only then can a Federation work as a successful and efficient system. The people of a Federation must believe and nurture the principle of Unity in Plurality or Unity in Diversity.

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