A disclaimer to begin with. I am not a big authority when it comes to politics. I have learned a few things from school and college and read a bit on politics from the dailies – that’s all. However, being born and brought up in one of the most politically spoiled states in India, I thought, I should comment on the ongoing Telengana issue as well.
India is a proud democratic country which follows the federal system. The federal government enjoys good enough control over the states, much better control than the federal systems in many other countries may be. The individual states, however, were formed based on the languages (thankfully not castes) and as we all know, we have no dearth for languages in India. At that time (1956) the population of India was around 35 Crores (350 million) and 20 odd states meant that every state had ‘manageable’ number of people. Was dividing India based on language was the best thing? I am not sure, probably it was the easiest thing to do to keep our country going then.
Over the past 50 years, our population has tripled. Obviously, the land’s not growing but more and more people are moving to the cities in search of jobs and better living standards. However, the bigger challenge out here is to have states that are well run with manageable number of people and resources.
The BIG states in India
The following are the biggest five states in India as of today.
- Uttar Pradesh (20 crores)
- Bihar (11 crores)
- Maharashtra (11 crores)
- Andhra Pradesh (9 crores)
- West Bengal (9 crores)
The top two states in India are known for corruption, poverty, vote bank politics and lower living standards as compared to the other states in India. In my opinion, they are the first two states that need to be split into two or three individual states. However, the split should not be based on what some of those stupid regional parties think but should be in the interest of the federal government (didn’t mean Congress of UPA government)’s strategy influenced by the planning and growth needs.
As a second step, one needs to think about splitting Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal as well. The idea should be to have more manageable, self-sufficient, growth oriented (not population) states than suffering big federal entities.
Divide based on what and how do we develop them?
Well, now there’s no chance that we can divide a state based on a language anymore. That will only add more oil to the fire and fuel more differences. When you split a big state that speaks Hindi, obviously the resulting smaller states should speak the same and so is the case with Andhra or Maharashtra as well.
The development of these new states can be accelerated if they build new cities and infrastructure, revamp the educational and public distribution systems. I am sure that states like UP and Bihar can improve their public distribution mechanism to reach out to more people, if the population is less and educational standards go up. I would like to stress once more on building new cities – it’s absolutely necessary for a country like India to create big man made cities over the next 15 years or so. That way we can do a lot more load balancing on the population front.
Now, coming back to Telengana.
I said, Andhra could be split. But as I stressed, it shouldn’t be based on what some of those local politicians think. It should be purely based on the federal system needs and nobody should pick himself as the potential Chief Minister or leader of that state already. If needed, the split states could be even under the central rule until the situation stabilizes with respect to those off springs. In short, the idea should not be to impress certain category of the people or politicians but to promote growth.
Having said that, do we keep doing this splitting process for ever? Absolutely not! There’s no way, we could allow the population to grow at this pace and in 20-25 years it should come to an optimal level. Looking at India’s current population and where India want itself to be in 15 years from now, I personally believe that it can have around 35 federal states already. Makes sense?
Let me know what you think about it.