When cries for carving out Telangana became intense Sri Krishna Committee was formed for mellowing down the public sentiments.Everyone in India started to discuss about the creation of small states, whether creation of small states is good for India or not. Let us compare the pros and cons of this issue.
- Creation of small state will divide India. The feeling of Indian nationalism would diminish in the cries of regional autonomy.
- Creation of small state will take India to pre British era. After the fall of mighty Mughals the pan India scene was a chaotic one and British used it to their advantages by means of subsidiary alliances. Be it the marathas ,the rajputs ,southern kingdoms, Kingdom in Bengal or the ruler sitting in Delhi India was a divided front for the British which they used it adroitly to setup an empire.
- Small states in India are not making progress proportional to their potential like Jharkhand which is very rich in minerals and has a favourable environment for further industrialization. Despite this Jharkhand is embroiled in petty politics and has not been able to achieve the desired growth as promised prior to its formation. Bihar on the other hand with its minimal natural resources has been able to achieve second highest GDP after Gujrat after bifurcation of the two states (Bihar and Jharkhand).
- Small states depend to a substantial extent on Central Government for financial aid.
- It will not be economically prudent to setup new states as it would incur expenditure to setup a state machinery though it would be one time activity but to sustain and run government machinery state would need resources for which they would depend on centre.
- Politicians want to grab as much political power as possible by taking advantage of the region movement and public sentiments.
- Hatred within different sections of state will increase which in turn would lead to factionalism. This could trigger domino effect and with more factional parties demanding more segregation.
- There could be quarrel related to state boundary (Maharashtra and Karnataka). Belgaum district of Karnataka has Marathi speaking people which has its origin to Maratha expansion to south. This has become a reason for Maharashtra’s claim over it though the natives belong to Kannda speaking group.
- There will be efficient distribution of revenue all over the smaller states and there won't be an unfavourable balance of economic resources. The best example is the state of Chhattisgarh, which has flourished after its separation from Madhya Pradesh.
- Smaller states will resemble local government more and state government will be able to pay adequate attention to the local problems. I am thinking of the Farmer suicides in Vidarbha and the Naxal violence in West Bengal in particular. Manbhumregion(presently purulia) of West Bengal could become a potential movement as majority of the adivasi belong to Santhal and Mundas tribe who belong to Jharkhand although Manbhum was carved out of Bihar on basis of linguistics. Naxals have over the years played to their advantage the regional sentiments of the adivasi’s. Lack of Socio–Economic development of these adivasis could become the reason to secede from WB and join Jharkhand. The Naxals could try and take advantage of this movement that is if it happens.
- More states will lead to more diverse set of policies and more opportunities for investors. This will encourage industrial growth and trigger a competition for the state policies that attract the most investors. This will eventually benefit the people.
- A smaller state will definitely reflect the identity of the people better as larger states tend to have a more heterogeneous nature and it's policies could be dominated by the most vocal communities or those communities that grab power. For eg:- Karnataka politics is ruled by Lingayats, Maharastra by Marathi’s, Vanniyars & Nadar in Tamil Nadu.
When we compare the two I certainly feel advantage outweighs disadvantages if the state is formed for cogent reasons. Narrow minded reasons and short term political gains should not be the drivers for the creation for smaller states.
Sri Krishna Committee’s Terms Of Reference gives a more clearer perspective to this complex problem which translated into a set of suggestions for a way forward in current impasse.
Kaishav Trehan is with an IT company and feels strongly that more states will lead to better socio-economic development of the country.