[Model Answer QP2022 GS1]The political and administrative reorganization of the states and territories has been a continuous and ongoing process since the mid-nineteenth century. Discuss with examples.
History of Reorganisation of states in India (From colonial to present times)
During the first half of the eighteenth century, the boundaries of the Mughal Empire were reshaped by the emergence of a number of independent kingdoms. In this post, we will read about the emergence of new political groups in the subcontinent during the first half of the eighteenth century – roughly from 1707, when Aurangzeb died, till the third battle of Panipat in 1761.
During the second half of the eighteenth century, After the revolt of 1857, the British government accelerated the process of continuous political and administrative reorganisation. For instance, New presidencies were created (Central Province) and Several independent states became part of the Chief Administration provinces (Assam, Awadh). Also North-West Frontier Province, was created in 1901 from the north-western districts of the Punjab Province. In addition, Bengal was partitioned in 1905 on the basis of religion and language.
At the time of independence in 1947, India had more than 500 disjointed princely states. Temporarily the constituent units of India were divided into Part A, B, C, and D states. Hence State Reorganization was constituted by the Government of India on 29 December 1953 to look into the matter of redrawing the boundaries of States. The States Reorganisation Act, 1956 reformed the boundaries of Indian states and territories, systematizing them on language basis.
Year 2000: The creation of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand was made possible by disintegrating regional boundaries and political territories from within the existing States of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, respectively. The reorganisation was made for administrative convenience, to reduce regional inequalities and to promote development in backward areas.
Telangana formed in 2014: The demand for separate statehood for Telangana has rested on factors such as the scale of inter-regional inequalities causing socio-economic backwardness of the region, inadequate industrial infrastructure, lack of educational and employment opportunities, diversion of water and natural resources of Telangana to the coastal region of Andhra.
Most recently, in 2019 the State of Jammu and Kashmir was reorganised for administrative and security purposes.
Reorganisation of States is a continuous and ongoing process because
Advantages of Reorganisation of states
People of the region gain control over its resources and an organic model of growth can emerge to address their economic aspirations.
Political stability that arises from better representation of people creates a conducive environment for investment in the region. Thereby encouraging regional economic development.
However Reorganisation of states itself is not the solution because
New states may find themselves lacking in infrastructure (administrative and industrial), which requires time, money and effort to build. As was observed in the creation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.
The stabilization of the government and administrative institutions requires time for resolution of various issues such as division of assets, funds and of the state civil services.
Territorial issues, disputes over water sharing (e.g. Krishna water dispute between Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra), disagreements over capital (as observed in the case of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over Hyderabad) are some other issues that can hinder the economic progress of these States and the country.
Mere creation of newer states out of the existing ones cannot guarantee faster and inclusive economic development in the region. The economic benefits from the creation of new states can only be reaped if it is followed by establishment of good governance, sustained socio-political stability and better coordination with the rest of the country. Hence reorganisation of States is a continuous and ongoing process.