Monday, June 29, 2009

10 New states; Are we kidding?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Telengana, Gorkhaland, Bundelkhand, Bhojpur, Saurastha, Harit Pradesh, Mithilanchal, Greater Cooch Beha, Vidarbha and Coorg. Well theses are not just the names of provinces in India they could very well become new states in the Indian Union. The Centre has received demands for creation of at least 10 new states in the country which already has 28 States, 6 Union Territories and Delhi enjoying the status of National Capital Territory of India.

Language is the basis of statehood demands in most case whereas in some case it is the bifurcation some larger states like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. The idea behind creation of smaller states is not always better governance but more to do with the majority-minority equation. Lets take an example till 31st October 2000 the Adivasis were a minority in Bihar but the next day with the formation of Jharkhand they overnight became a majority in the newly formed state. Has it meant better governance? Well the answer is for everyone to see.

Similar experiments with Chattisgarh and Uttarkhand and many states in North East haven't really meant betterment of the states. They have rather created divide among people on the basis of language and culture. There is a feeling among certain groups that with smaller states and the government being headed by their own people goodies will be showered upon them. This hasn't been the case most of the times when smaller states have been curved out of larger ones. Certain political parties based their ideology on new state formation.

There is a negative side to having a smaller states. With their poor representation in the Parliament they are unable to draw major Central schemes to their states. Let us be honest a Tamil Nadu with 39 MPs and a Meghalaya with 2 MPs won't be treated in the same manner when it comes to National Schemes. Most of the representatives from such smaller states book the back benches in the Parliament dwindling the hopes and aspirations of the people who send them to Delhi.

The only thing creation of more states ensures is more of the exchequer's money goes in running smaller state governments and creation of few more bureaucratic positions. The same funds could have rather gone into the social sector. True some times big states have be bifurcated for better administration and ADMINISTRATIION should be the criteria if more states are to be created. Let us not drag the linguistic and cultural divide from one decade to another. The demand should be for better governance and just not smaller states.


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