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The Telangana Dilemma : Sameer Hashmi జనవరి 2, 2010

Posted by Telangana Utsav in agitation, Andhra, Articles, Congress, Economy, heritage, Hyderabad, Identity, politics, Rayalaseema, Settler, Sonia, Telangana, TRS.
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THE TELANGANA DILEMMA

Sameer Hashmi
BehindIndia.com December 15, 2009

The Telangana issue has left Andhra Pradesh limping. It began with KCR’s fast and slowly turned into a mass protest by Telangana supporters. The government cracked down under pressure and gave a go ahead to initiate the process of creating a separate state of Telangana. This upset the anti- Telangana supporters who also took the streets, demanding the roll back of the decision

This issue is not about Telangana alone. It is an issue which will herald a new phase in Indian polity and also change the geographical dynamics of the nation. The two big questions that need to be answered before creating the new state are- 1) Is the government moving in the right direction by creating smaller states & 2) What is the basis on which separate states are going to be carved out?

The answer for the first question is- Yes, the government is very much taking the right step by creating newer states. History is a testimony that centres that are closer to the state capitals have developed at a much faster pace compared to other regions of the state. In many instances including Andhra Pradesh the resources are mainly located in the least developed areas but are utilized for regions proximate to the power centers. Smaller states will make administration smoother and efficient coupled with higher development of the areas that have been neglected by the corridors of power that a located in the state capitals. Decentralization is a key step forward. For the central government it is both a boon & bane to have smaller states. The boon is- smaller the states, lesser power they possess to bargain with the central government. But on the negative side, it will have many more chief ministers asking for funds. From the people’s perspective this will not only localize the issues but also give them more access to the government. Corruption will reduce and the government will be much more accountable. The disparity levels between the developed and non-developed areas would come down substantially.

The second question is more crucial. It is imperative to have a clear & articulate principle in place to decide the reorganizing of states. In the 60’s the restructuring committee took ‘language’ as the principle to create more states. Marathi & Gujarati speaking got their own states in the form of Maharashtra & Gujarat. Similarly, South India got four states speaking different languages. Many critics argue that a state that has one language should not be divided like in the case of Andhra Pradesh. But the recent examples of Uttarakhand, Jharkhand & Chattisgarh have proved to be really successful. Jharkand along with Bihar has a higher GDP & per capita income compared to undivided Bihar (Jharkhand was part of Bihar). The language spoken in all these states is the same as their parent states.

There are various ethnic groups like the Gorkhas, Karbis, Bodos etc demanding for a separate state and so are politicians like Mayawati, Ajit Singh who feel Uttar Pradesh should be divided into two separate states as it is difficult to manage a big state. The voices demanding separate states are increasing but for different reasons. Ethnicity or even political mileage for certain parties should not be the criteria to divide states otherwise this whole exercise is futile and will turn out to be a catastrophe. Economic viability, better administration & inclusive development have to be the three basic principles on which states should be divided.

The government should first & foremost set up a restructuring state committee to lay down the basic principles and policy for creating new states. More number of states will not diminish India’s size nor will it curtail the cohesiveness that exists. On the contrary if handled with care and pragmatism this just might turn out to be a key tool in bolstering Indian development pace which is till lagging behind.

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