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Bifurcation of states

Posted by Shreyans Jain Sunday, 2 March 2014 0 comments
The idea of ‘One India’ as envisioned jointly by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi and the  Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhai Patel to strengthen the Union of India stands jeopardised today with an ever increasing clamour for creation of smaller states from the existing ones. Be it carving out of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, Saurashtra from Gujarat, Vidarbha from Maharashtra, Bodoland from Assam or Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh and Harit Pradesh from Uttar Pradesh, India is facing an alarming threat of balkanisation of its federal structure and straining of its social fabric.

Is the size of a state in terms of its geographical boundaries the only measure of its performance? Can a state sustain itself without access to adequate water, land and human resources? Can a state equipped with shambolic infrastructure embark on the path of growth and development? Can regionalism and nationalism go together in strengthening the federal structure of India?

Bifurcation of state is an issue of contention and calls for a serious analysis of the cause and effects it can possibly have on India. Decentralisation of power to empower the people at grassroots level and making the process of policy formulation and implementation more inclusive is a decision in the right direction. But to follow the policy of divide and rule as a means to achieve this end might only lead to more and more alienation of people in one state from their counterparts in other states. Not only might it inflate regional aspirations but it may also incite communal passions thereby sowing seeds of hatred. It might increase the dependence of one state on the other for water, land, skilled manpower and other resources. In case of unfriendly relations between two states, it might become increasingly difficult to administer growth and create infrastructure, thereby aggravating resentment among the masses. Differences along linguistic and cultural lines might even lead to internal aggression which might subsequently culminate in armed rebellion and anarchy. No territory confined within a geographical boundary is self-sustainable and therefore requires negotiation and mutual agreement on vital issues to ensure harmony and equal growth and development. Creation of new states will require the creation of new infrastructure in terms of schools, colleges, hospitals, judicial courts, state assemblies, police stations, factories et al. It will also require the election of a new council of ministers to form and run the government. This might lead to more and more regionalism with the regional political parties squabbling with one another over resources, caste, religion and culture.

The need of the hour is to improve the quality of governance and administration to pool the diverse talent available. The bureaucracy should be made more transparent and accountable to the people. The State and the Central governments should work in unison to carry out economic and developmental activities. India is known for its unity in diversity; demanding its bifurcation is akin to inflicting wounds on this nation by its own citizens.

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