A federation is a state in which one central government and several state governments exist side by side. The central government has authority over entire territory and all the people for specific issues. The state government has authority on fewer people, in a smaller area on issues that do not fall in the sphere of Central government’s authority.
Typically features of any federation are written constitution, division of powers, rigid constitution, and supremacy of constitution, independence of judiciary, dual citizenship, dual administration, bicameral legislature and equality of states.
Desire for unity among the people of the federating units is the first essential condition for successful working of a federation. Local solidarity and cultural affinity enables federating units to preserve their identities.
A federation characterized by commonness of language, race, culture and religion ought to be more efficient and effective. A federation has dual government.In it federating units agree to formally keep some areas for exclusive authority and give up other areas to a common union for governance.
A federal state has written constitution with rigid constitutional amendment process.To solve disputes between different governments there is an independent judiciary in a federation.Federations are suitable for large diverse countries because it gives space and system for expression and coexistence to smaller nations.And it pools resources for security and development.
It is essential to understand the difference between federation and confederation. Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably. Confederation is an association of sovereign independent states. It is made by them for carrying out a definite limited objective through the performance of some mutually agreed, defined and specific functions.