Division of States: Good or Bad?

Division of States_1The last few years have seen a constant tug of war between the champions of smaller states and larger states. There have been persistent demands for the creation of separate states of Telangana in Andhra Pradesh, Vidharba in eastern Maharashtra, Bodoland and Gorkhaland in the North East, etc. Mayawati even proposed to divide Uttar Pradesh into four smaller states – Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh and Pashchim Pradesh.

But what makes this a Burning Topic this year is that on 3 October 2013, Union Cabinet approved the creation of a new State of Telangana by bifurcating the existing State of Andhra Pradesh. On 6 December Union home ministry sent the Telangana draft bill to President. On December 11, President reviewed the bill and sent it to Andhra Pradesh state assembly to elicit its views; gave until January 23 to respond. Not a very bright thing to do as there have been huge protests ever since in the State Assembly with the assembly dissolving everyday without any progress.

You should know that Telangana comprises of 10 districts, including state capital Hyderabad (proposal is to share it for first 10 years). The region accounts for 119 of the state’s 294 assembly seats and 17 of 42 Lok Sabha seats. To know in details about the Telangana Movement, follow this Wikipedia article.

Whether we get Telangana or not, is secondary and out of scope of this discussion. What is important is this move has started a rage of protests and filled new hopes in the minds of activists voicing for separate states all over India.
But, how does making a separate state make their life any easier or the governance better? Lets debate on this topic – Is Division of States good for India?

POINTS IN FAVOUR :

More targeted governance: Division of states means that every state will have its own leaders. Looking at the bigger picture, this means that a government who had to formulate policies for 5 crore people, will now have to do the same for only 2 crores. By simple maths, there will be more efficiency in the administration and less pressure of performance on the governance. Better administration fuels growth.

Proximity of capital city: It is a known fact that the capital city is where the people of the state go to air their grievances as all major government offices, judicial houses like state high courts and political quarters are housed there. A new state would more often than not, mean a closer capital city and thus provide relief to the people. This cannot be said about larger states. For e.g. : If a citizen in western UP were to be heard in any of the state commissions or courts, he has to travel over 600 km to Lucknow, spending large amounts of money in an attempt to get justice. Thus, reduced distances between the state capital and peripheral areas would improve the quality of governance and administrative responsiveness and accountability.

Proper utilization of central funds: In a larger state, the problem is that the allocation of funds by the centre can never be evenly distributed. So some parts stand to lose and thus remain backwardly developed, while the part which holds maximum political affiliate gains. Dividing states definitely solves this problem.

Division of States_2 Increased Growth Rate: According to Planning commission data, Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for Chhattisgarh rose from 3.1% avg growth over 1994-95 and 2001-02 to 8.6% avg since 2004-05. Even Uttarakhand shows similar trend (4.6 % to 12.3 %). Also, the industrial sector in Chhattisgarh grew at 13% over this 5-year period while the growth rate was only 6.7% for Madhya Pradesh. With an efficient and more targeted administration, growth is inevitable.

Better Living Standards: Per Capita income of people in Uttar Pradesh rose from Rs.9721 in 2000-2001 to Rs.17349 in 2010-11. The same for Uttarakhand rose Rs.14932 to Rs.44723, much better than its mother state. Over 2004-09,Uttarakhand and Jharkhand have done a better job in reduction of poverty than their mother states reducing the poverty rates by 14.7% and 6.2% respectively while Uttar Pradesh and Bihar could manage figures of 0.9% and 3.2% respectively. These figures speak for themselves.

Demand for Telangana valid: Farmers in Telangana have lost irrigation water and witnessed major power cuts. Within the current statehood, Telengana has remained backward and issues have not been sorted out, majorly due to a biased government. Many people think that Naxalites in the Telangana region have a role to play in the region’s backwardness. But the truth is, their movements have gathered momentum due to the lack of progress. As the area has been constantly neglected, systematic theft of natural resources has taken place. Division is a necessity here.

POINTS AGAINST:

Division vs governance: Much more than the size of a state, it is the quality of governance and administration, the diverse talent available within the state’s population, and the leadership’s drive and vision that determine whether a particular state performs better than the others. Devolution of powers to the grass root level and an accountable bureaucracy is what you need for governance, not division. If that was the case, Jharkhand should have been a developed state. But that is far from true. Corruption in mining licenses and Naxalites haunt the state. Both Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand account for 68% of insurgent attacks.

Reduced Self-Sustainability: A small state is likely to face limitations in terms of the natural and human resources available to it. Moreover, it will lack the kind of agro-climatic diversity required for economic and developmental activities. All these factors would only make it more dependent on the Centre for financial transfers and centrally-sponsored schemes. Taking example of Telangana, post division, Telangana would become a landlocked state by losing out on major ports, coastline, golden quadrilateral and major railway freight corridors.

Division of States_3Cost of Infrastructure: A new small state may find itself lacking in infrastructure (administrative and industrial), which requires time, money and effort to build. There is massive amount of infrastructure needed for building up new capital and to make new states self-sufficient. Mobilizing capital required for such big infrastructure setup is a herculean task, which will add more pressure on the already dwindling fiscal reserves of India. Rather a systematic and planned approach for development within the current state can handle the issue of growth better than division.

Hurts unity: If states are divided on the basis of religion, caste, creed, language, culture etc, the whole idea of making “One India” as laid down by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel goes down the drain. Such divisions causes more hatred amongst the states, which is not favorable for inter state tourism as well as trade. India is a museum of cults and customs, creeds and cultures, faiths and tongues, racial types and social systems. Dividing India on such fragile factors can only lead to anarchy. We cannot go back to following “Divide and Rule” policy of the British Era.

Telanga, a political move: All the so called “neglect” issues are fuelled on the backdrop political measures. It is the vote bank politics that is misleading people. What is the guarantee that once Telagana is carved out of Andhra Pradesh, people of that region will meet all their ends? There are every chances that later on people from North Telangana would not like to be ruled by leaders from South Telangana or the vice versa. Division is not a solution, but a beginning of a new problem.

CONCLUSION:

The recent decisions on creating new states have been taken under political pressures, but the situation demands that the government needs to handle the issue by better political governance, fiscal management and rule of law. Division of states hurts the motto of Unity in Diversity. All thoughts of regionalism, sectarianism and casteism are a deterrent to united India and they have to be stemmed out as soon as possible. Rather, Division of states calls for a thorough evaluation of physical features like land quality and topography, agro-climatic conditions, socio-cultural factors, natural and human resource availability, density of population, means of communication, existing administrative culture and effectiveness of its district and regional administrative units and so on.

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16 thoughts on “Division of States: Good or Bad?

  1. Ya i think we cannot go on dividing our country just to meet the ends of few people who don't even represent the common man .It's just because of their vested interest they try to rake up the issue of caste ,creed and instil a sense of insecurity in their minds and even go to the extent of saying that bifurcation of the state is the only viable option to elevate their standard of living which the present government is not focussing upon.Rather than dividing the state government should identify the areas where the state is lagging and try to address the issue by constituting commities with experts present in our country who can come up with excellent alternatives and then taking its report into account a special package should be announced for the state.

    1. All we need is a set of guidelines that proves the necessity of making a new state. Division should not happen based on emotional sentiments. It may make make sense to divide UP as its becoming a disaster when it comes to administration. But Telangana issue,per say, has more political feel to it.

    2. @naresh..I realy apreciate ur view about why shudnt there be abifurcation of state.But hte TELANGANA issue is quite diferent accordng to me.both the regions were actually put together on the agreement similar to martrimnial relations which have a provision for divorce.u spoke abut sense of insecurity and devlopmnt s a combined state with packages and special interest n alll.firstly sense of insecurity was caused by the political games played by congress govt.by delaying the decison.That can be solved if the political parties and leaders start speaking to the people of their constituency and make dem aware of the situation insted of giving wrong mesages n emotionl statements.Secondly..starting from 1969 to 2011 there were almost 4-5 situations were in govt.had declared several GO's,schemes.six point rules etc.But none of dem were actually followed or were kept in practice.There was partiality starting from distribution of water for irrigation to occupancy of govt jobs as per G0 610.So i think anymore packages or schemes could actually work now.

  2. The division of states into smaller states is nothing but political drama for cheap electoral gains, but this division also brings some prons to the people. Managing and governing smaller states would be more efficient than governing larger states.The task of a single person ruling over U.P. is so much different and difficult than the one ruling over Sikkim or Goa which are almost one-tenth of the size of UP. Smaller the state better the management of it. "Federalism is not only good politics but also good economics."

    I believe there is scope and need for further division, not meaning that every state should be the size Goa or Sikkim.

    1. I do not think anybody in India is against division, as long as we know its a calculated step and is not nakedly political. Like i said in my previous comment "t may make make sense to divide UP as its becoming a disaster when it comes to administration. But Telangana issue,per say, has more political feel to it".

    2. If " Smaller the state ,better is the Governance" is something prototype thinking.Sikkim has very bad infrastructure (roads and other) in spite of receiving central government grant of thousand crore rupees for being a bordered state.If Chinese will attack,our military people would take atleast 4 to 5 hours to travel 40-50 km for help of the Indian army.The nearest airbase is in West Bengal.
      The basic health facility is very poor.For higher /critical health care ,they are totally dependent on Siligudi and Culcutta,West Bengal.The cardiac patient will die on the way before reaching higher center because it will take more than 20 km/hour for reaching there.
      I love Sikkim-The Switzerland of India and the Sikkimese people.

      b

  3. Well, this year Scotland goes for a referendum on whether it wants to secede from Britain or not, the Catalans have for years been bickering for seceding from Spain and a couple of years ago Sudan broke into south Sudan and Sudan. There are plenty of reasons why states(or parts of them) want to secede and form an independent entity. the reasons can range from feeling of discrimination on the basis of resources(both human and natural), feeling of isolation from the central governance(mostly due to polarized politics) and feeling that the particular part of the state is performing better than the rest of the part which is only a burden on the state as a whole(as is the case of Catalonia).

    The debate given in the article astutely states the impacts of the growth rates of the recently seceded parts like Uttaranchal , Chattisgrah and Jharkhand but it might be wise to also look into the economic performances of the Mother States(from which these states have been carved).

    Yes, there are both economic and political challenges for the newly seceded parts (as what Scotland is pondering over) and I feel that it is imperative that decisions that are being made in the form of referendums are taken after thorough consideration and not in a fit of anti-incumbency emotion.

    1. I really admire that you have brought an international scenario to the table. That makes this discussion a lot stronger. Regarding your comment on the performance of mother states, results are mixed. Bihar had done better than Jharkhand while chattisgarh has done better than MP, again stressing the fact that division will help only if the reason behind is purely adminstration or that the govt is not corrupt.

  4. there are pros and cons for each n every situation. In this scenario, If the whole India is bifurcated into smaller states, say around 50 states, then there would be chances of better governance and administration, better government policies, better use of funds allocated by government as there will be less population but the main task is to choose efficient and non corrupt leaders which is like finding a needle in a haystack. Already we have so much corrupt leaders in the government.
    If the bill for telangana will pass from Rajya Sabha then there will definitely be protests in all over India for further bifurcation of some more states. there ll be more hatred among people if there ll be more states as these new states would be the bifurcation process of their parent states according to caste, religion , language(In case of Telangana) etc.
    So i prefer not to go for further bifurcation but instead India should focus on the Overall Growth and development.
    JRD Tata has said "I don't want India to be Economic Superpower, I want India to be a happy country."

    1. Very nice take. Division is not bad, but on what basis the division is happening is bad. To acieve Overall Growth and development, we might need to create separate administrative units and that should be the criteria for state formation, not caste or religion or ethnicity etc. I would repeat "Division of states calls for a thorough evaluation of physical features like land quality and topography, agro-climatic conditions, socio-cultural factors, natural and human resource availability, density of population, means of communication, existing administrative culture and effectiveness of its district and regional administrative units."

  5. After looking at Bihar being dividing from being 38 districts to only 6, I thnk instead of diving state into 50 smaller state, we should divide India into two nation with own president and center. This will ensure better economy development.

  6. this can be added
    that…….division of states would disturb the uniformity in language……a person from Kashmir could not easily communicate with a person from Kanyakumari!!
    With state division, wars are likely to take place….

  7. Hi,
    This post is very informational and attractive article for the world. Its a violating article that you have posted. I really admire that you have brought an international scenario to the table. Thank you for your brilliant post.

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