Small is Beautiful- Call for More Smaller States అక్టోబర్ 11, 2007Posted by Telangana Utsav in Articles, English, Hyderabad, Telangana.
Divide and Rule: India should have more and smaller states
The Times of India Editorial, Oct 11, 2007
Mayawati’s call to divide UP into three states is apt. Uttar Pradesh is a monster state with a population of 166 million. That’s more than half the population of the US and 70 million more than Maharashtra, the second most populous state in India. UP is not just one of the least developed states in the country, it is also the most crime prone and one reason for the abysmal state of governance in UP is its unmanageable size. Unlike states formed on a linguistic basis, various regions were fused together after independence to form this unwieldy administrative unit.
Why not now divide it into three or four smaller states of the size of Uttarakhand, which was carved out of UP in 2000? The division could be along the following lines: Harit Pradesh comprising western districts of UP, Purvanchal in the east, Awadh and Bundelkhand. Hopefully, such a division will raise the quality of governance and better use of economic resources in each of these regions, which are quite distinct from one another.
The reasoning for smaller states holds true for other parts of India as well. Popular movements are on in Andhra Pradesh, and to some extent in Maharashtra, for separate Telangana and Vidarbha states. Telangana Rashtra Samiti, a political outfit launched to seek a Telangana state, won a significant number of Lok Sabha and assembly seats in 2004. Congress, which allied with TRS, has promised a second states’ reorganisation commission to study the demands for a separate state.
The first states’ reorganisation commission submitted its report in 1955 and endorsed the demand for language-based states. Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, besides many others, were constituted accordingly while different administrative units of British India and the princely states were merged and reshaped to form states. Economic factors now seem to override issues of linguistic identity in several areas of the country. That’s understandable. Vidarbha and Telangana are less developed when compared to neighbouring areas. So is the case with most of UP, barring parts of western UP.
Are smaller states always better governed? Not necessarily, but India’s experience with small states has by and large been positive. Even the laggards have fared well in comparison with their mother states. So, why not increase the number of states in the Indian union from the present 28? Remember, the US with less than one-third of India’s population has 50 states. What could upset a new round of states’ reorganisation is a lack of consensus among political parties on the issue. Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and Telugu Desam in Andhra Pradesh, for example, have strong views on the matter. The Centre would, therefore, have to find common ground among a number of conflicting positions. But, to start with, it should seriously consider Mayawati’s proposal to trifurcate the mammoth state of UP.