Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
PM inaugurated 16th foundation day celebrations of Chhattisgarh on 1st November 2016 where he launched several schemes for the benefit of farmers. Hence, this can be taken as an occasion to remember the bifurcation of states and the rationale thereof.
Rationales on which bifurcation of states happened
The new states have not been necessarily created for administrative purpose. There have been reasons for demand and creation of new states, particularly smaller states, for varied reasons.
In 1953, the first state of Andhra Pradesh was created on basis of language. Hence, it was a demand for a linguistic state. Thereafter, from 1953 to 1966 (Following Andhra Pradesh was bifurcation of Maharashtra and Gujarat in 1960 and Punjab and Haryana in 1966), the process of creation of states was primarily language basis to give linguistic groups a satisfaction that they have their own territory. Such a demand for state bifurcation was there even before independence, but at the time of framing of constitution, Dhar commission and others did not favour linguistic states.
Hence, sometimes it seems as if some fissiparous tendency grows and makes this kind of demands to detriment of unified India and so there is a demand for this kind of fissiparous demands to be suppressed that are based on language and ethnic considerations. However, such are not entirely fissiparous demands.
The experience has showed that because of enormous diversity of India, there exists regional disparities within diversities. A particular cultural group living in a wider state does feel a sense of alienation when that group feels that they are not getting development because they are in minority status. Therefore creation of states on linguistics basis have shown that it increases level of satisfaction amongst people and more belonging to India when they get a separate state of their own.
There have been and still exist regional disparities within states, for example, Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Telangana. They were primarily areas within larger states where they were feeling some sort of cultural affinity but at the same time, economically deprived.
However, Chhattisgarh has developed a lot after being separated from Madhya Pradesh. There is no denying the fact that development has taken a very important role in building of Chhattisgarh society. Naxalism is decreasing, development is paramount and gap between rich and poor is narrowing down gradually.
Haryana when it was part of Punjab, it remained underdeveloped and neglected but from 1966 onwards, there has been development visible due to its size, nearness to delhi and role of leadership and sense of competition.
Thus, there are some states where division of states have really fortified into purpose for which it was intended.
North eastern states came into being to protect their ethnic diversity and cultural identity. Also, they were given autonomy to meet their political aspirations and have economic development in area. This has made peace and ceasefire deals with many of the insurgent groups possible despite having some trouble.
Regional diversity in India
Issue of regional disparity in India is enormous. These regional disparities are at two levels
Madhya Pradesh was not a very developed states. But Chhattisgarh region was more underdeveloped. As a result, it always felt disconnected with the government schemes and plans.
The per capita income difference between Bihar and Chhattisgarh is 1:5. Thus, there is a lot of disparity vis a vis states. This explains the reason why there is a massive exodus from poverty stricken state to prosperity nurtured states.
Therefore the question of regional policy in India has been lacking right from the beginning. It was only in one or two Five Year Plans when the question of regional disparities was addressed. But it was not addressed as it should have been. As a result, development was more in developed states and less in underdeveloped states.
Now the question is, when the state gets bifurcated or new state comes into existence particularly in name of agreement, how far can a state go to become a sustainable developed entity. Here arises a question of leadership.
If a division is simply for sake of power, the state is likely to lose its vision for growth path in few years. But if it is about development as the sole reason, then the small states and particularly when there is a cultural homogeneity, they give an enormous chance of development.
For example, Jharkhand. Inspite of reservoir of large number of resources and having a separate entity to administer it as per the need of the people, they remain underdeveloped. It is because they had no development trajectory. So that being the situation, it is the leadership that matters in these situations.
Even the central government cannot be wholly blamed in such situations. The central government launches welfare projects but they are not implemented by state government just because majority times the hidden reason is that it has a government formed by different political party. For example, Fasal Bima Yojana has been launched by central government and is considered to be extremely beneficial to the farmers. But, there are some states which are going to be reluctant in implementing the scheme. They are not understanding that it is going to change a lot for formers. Thus, if division is on rational grounds and if it is under regime of very effective leadership, it works.
Chhattisgarh can be an icon for rest of the states where development has taken place post bifurcation. For example, Chhattisgarh government, with help of central government, is giving solar power driven pumps at highly subsidized rates for irrigation purpose under ‘Saur Sujala Scheme’. The cost of solar pump is 4-5 lakhs but given at Rs. 10000-20000 only. With this kind of development trajectory, if the leadership at state level is very effective, things will change a lot as seen in Chhattisgarh.
There is high cost involved as new states have to establish their own administrative structure whereas the original state has to provide certain financial help to let the new state sustain for a while.
But, setting aside the cost factor, the new states give new opportunities to develop new urban areas, provide lots of jobs to younger people, make an opportunity to de-congest certain areas and indulge into different types of urbanisation and planning.
So cost is not the only factor which needs to be considered for any developmental purpose.
Conclusion- Good governance is the answer
The question is about good governance and good governance does not depend on the size of the state.
Telangana and AP are engaged in competition to prove one is better than another. That is why they continuously try to perform better and bring out novel governance ideas for better state administration.
There was no competitiveness between Bihar and Jharkhand as seen as in MP and Chhattisgarh as there was political instability even post bifurcation in Jharkhand that had docked the entire Jharkhand development.
If there is a very efficient leader, with full sense of authority, even then he/she cannot do much in Uttar Pradesh given its size. Thus, not a single factor is panacea for having a good administrative culture in the state.
Hence, size, leadership, geographical location, resources, relationship with centre- all these factors matter during bifurcation of states and their achievements post it.
The question will be how good governance or those leadership can make a balance of all these factors and do well with a sense of integrity within themselves.
Connecting the dots:
What has been the history of bifurcation of states in India? Examine the factors involved while creation of new states.
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