Delhi, 15 August 2002
week in our media watch we commented that divisionary forces in
South and N E may ask for more devolution of powers if
gets its way. This is happening vociferously and economics may
decide the issue and this will have security repercussions. The RSS
want trifurcation of J and K and though the BJP Government makes
noises to oppose it the story of the Mukhota (the Mask that hides)
comes to mind. Now we post an excellent article by Mohan Guruswamy
along those threads which are now weaving in
. He cites statistics to support his case.
argument is plausible and he studied at Harvard. Most of our
politicians work only from their experience. IDC is very clear that
we are predated in our thinking to take
forward. We want the good of the West and none of their evils.
Indians in power are trying to buck all worldwide trends and though
this may sound childish IDC gives an example. In
or whereever you go you can call advertised
number for a variety of massages, whatever that may mean. Our elder
Leaders who have secret lives would frown on such a thing happening
in public as Indian culture would disintegrate –– they would
’s largest daily TOI publishing the numbers to call in
for massages, has begun and so it seems the business is sustainable.
It is the economy that drives matters. Recently HT reported
and J and K banks are the richest per capita in
. The recent Petrol pump scam shows how in one day flat PM and dy PM
took a decision to call for competitive bids for POL dealership.
Manmohan Singh being replicated and we see the hand of Arun Shoorie
Neighbour Sri Lanka whose economy is worrisome is agreed that they
wronged the Tamils so
LTTE now controls the North. Sri Lankans are enjoying a cease fire
and revival of tourism and seem happy for the time being. PM
Ranasinghe is clear, he wants international support and does not
call it a bilateral matter as we do for
Indian Government is in dire straits on how to tackle
and the Armed Forces seem on a tether as the mobilization continues.
All that keeps them happy is promotions via cadre review and India
Today has a story on this.
hunches and indicators point to a feasibility that the Armed Forces especially
the Army which has plans ready for getting on with
some action to take out a few of the POK camps that
launch cross border terrorism, could well be given the green in the
next few weeks to test the waters, as the Government is now
desperate, that their strategy on Terrorism is not working in
Kashmir as the elections approach.
should be consulted. On 5th August six Yatris (pilgrims)
on their way to Amarnath shrine were killed just when Defence
Minister George Fernandes visited Amarnath over the weekend to pay
obeisance and said all was safe. On 6th Aug in Pioneer V
K Grover a former Foreign Secretary and our schoolmate again
advocated that foreign governments should force the LOC being made
the IBL (music to our ears), and goes on to say India should engage
Pakistan in an Arms Race and bankrupt them like USA did to Russia.
Then we would have to wait a terrible 15 years and
has done full study of this option.
Sang Hawks are in ascendancy in the BJP and the attack on
Amarnath yatris just after visit of George assuring all is well, is
going to be taken very seriously. Gujrat is a challenge. This
Jaitley mission to
and talk of devolution of powers as opposed to Autonomy and Azadi is
rhetoric and we are living in Dangerous times. Farooq Abdullah
has interacted with IDC and he can be a powerful misguided missile.
It is better for the Government to have him on their side. We
wonder whose side he is on. Please read the 'Writing
on the Wall' and send us your feed back.
Writing is on the Wall
have written much of this before, but am provoked to put it again
before you by recent demands for smaller states comprising of
northern Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Bundelkhand and Saurashtra. Dr. S.
Ramadoss of the Pattal Makkali Katchi (PMK), a Tamil Nadu centered
political party has mooted a bifurcation of Tamil Nadu, with the
northern districts being carved out to form a separate state.
Historically also there is some basis to this as the Tamil speaking
region in the past comprised of kingdoms centered around Kanchipuram
and Tanjore/Madurai. Jayalalithaa has shrilly denounced this demand
as “secession” when the PMK only wants a smaller state within
the Indian Union. The
we now know was the creation of the British. Similarly Andhra
and other linguistic states have no historical basis. The yearning
for linguistic sub-nationalism is a post independence phenomenon.
Often this linguistic sub-nationalism has been a fig leaf for
secessionism as we have seen in Tamil Nadu in the past and for what
Vaiko and the pro-LTTE groups have as their real agenda.
biggest states of
, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are also its worst off
states and hence the acronym BIMARU for them is most appropriate.
They are also predominantly Hindi speaking states and hence quite
clearly there is no linguistic or historical basis for their
creation and existence as they are. It would be however unfair to
club MP and Rajasthan with Bihar and UP, both of whom are in an
advanced state of political degeneracy with none of their
institutions left with an acceptable degree of integrity. Since
there is lot to a name, acronym creators apparently needed Rajasthan
and MP for imparting vividness. Yet within their blanket linguistic
conformity these states cover a vast diversity of distinct regions,
with characteristic commonly spoken languages, culture and
historical traditions. Each of these sates either in terms of
landmass or population still would larger than most countries in the
world. Even without Uttaranchal, UP would be larger in terms of
. It was not surprising that despite the supposed linguistic
affinity, there were and still are demands for smaller states from
within them. All the major political parties supported such
aspirations and three new states are the result.
creation of these new states, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh
from the BIMARU big three has provoked a rash of demands for similar
restructuring in other areas. The demand is particularly strong in
Telangana and Vidharba where there has been a mother lode of
discontent just below the surface for out of work politicians to
seek their political fortunes. In the recent days there is a demand
for a Harit Pradesh consisting of the fertile regions of western UP
being fanned by Ajit Singh who is at best a political buccaneer of
the worst kind. At the farthest corner of
there is a gathering demand for the creation of a predominantly Naga
state, Nagalim, consisting of all the hilly regions inhabited by the
Naga tribes. Then of course there is a demand for Bodoland out of
the already much truncated Assam, a Gorkhaland out of West Bengal
which has shown the Bengali Marxists to be as good or bad petty
chauvinists when it relates to their sub-nationalism. Latest to join
the list is the RSS, which for the wrong reasons wants the
trifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir. This list can be quite long.
contribute most to these demands for smaller or in some cases larger
states are a sense of strong regional affinity that is stronger than
the sub-national identity, uneven economic conditions leading to
wide and easily discernable disparities in development, and the
perceived concentration of political power with an identifiable
political elite like the Kammas in Andhra Pradesh and Marathas in
Maharashtra. Contributing in equal measure to these is the
non-ideological political climate that has descended upon us after
one foreign economic paradigm so obviously failed and the its
economic opposite was deemed as the only way to go. What are after
all the differences on economic philosophy and management between
the BJP, Congress, TDP and Samajwadi Parties? Or for that matter the
CPM? Thus, when real political differences blur, other political
differences have to be manufactured to fuel the political bandwagons
in the competition for power. Corruption too ceases to be an issue
when all political formations are perceived to be equally venal,
nepotistic and criminal.
late Dr. Rasheeduddin Khan most eloquently made out this case; of
I would like to add, way back in April 1973 in the Seminar,
at that time edited by the late Romesh Thapar. He had
divided according to its 56 socio-cultural sub-regions and a map
showing these was the centerpiece of the article. That picture still
remains embedded in my mind, and whenever I think of better public
administration that map would always appears. Since the subject of
small states has begun to emerge as a major issue again, with the
recent by-poll results in Telangana writing its message very clearly
on the wall, and with Ramadoss raising the banner in Tamil Nadu and
a vociferous cry for a Bundelkhand out of UP, it is a matter of time
before small states will become a major political issue nationwide.
The Congress Party already has a new States Re-Organization
Commission on its agenda. Others too will soon see the writing on
Seminar map is a
veritable blueprint for the structuring of
. Out of UP and
eight distinct sub-regions are identified. These are Uttaranchal,
, Bhojpur, Mithila, Magadh and Jharkhand. The first and last of
these have now become constitutional and administrative realities.
But each one of the other unhappily wedded regions is very clearly a
distinct region with its own predominant dialect and history. For
instance Maithili spoken in the area around Darbhanga in northern
is very different from Bhojpuri spoken in the adjacent Bhojpur area.
Similarly Brajbhasha in western UP is quite different from Avadhi
spoken in central UP.
’s largest state in terms of area, MP, is broken into five
distinct regions, Rajasthan,
into four each, AP,
and Karnataka into three each, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Orissa into
two each, and so on.
’s population has doubled to cross a billion. Even at constant
prices (1980-81) the GNP has grown by ten times. In 1971 the total
money supply (M3) was Rs.11,019 crores, whereas it has now grown to
over Rs. 1000,000 crores (ten lakh crores). Naturally the size and
scope of government has also changed. The 1980-81 budget of the
Government of India was a mere Rs. 19,579 crores. It is now about Rs.
350,000 crores. The annual budgets of state governments too have
grown likewise. States like UP,
and AP now have annual budgets of about Rs.20,000 crores each. All
the states together have a total annual expenditure in excess of
about Rs.300,000 crores. Last year the total gross fiscal deficit of
the states alone was over Rs. 90,000 crores or about the same as the
Government of India’s.
total population of
in 1947 was about 320 million. Today, we have about that number of
people who are below the poverty line. In the meantime
has become a very youthful country with 70% of its people below the
age of 30 of whom about 350 million are below the age of 14. Clearly
the task of government is not only much more enormous, but also much
more complex when the rising expectations, impact of new
technologies and demographic changes are factored in. Our record so
far is cause for great concern and is a severe indictment of the
failure of the system of governance in
“the nature of the regime determines the nature of the outcome”
is a well-known adage in public administration and public policy
studies. The nature of a regime is not only influenced by its
constitution, guiding philosophy, and the consequent system of
government, but also by the structure of the system. We know from
experience, both in the corporate world and in public
administration, that monolithic and centralized structures fail when
the size and scope of the organization grows. Thus to compete with
, General Motors and Ford have had to restructure into smaller and
independent operating units. In public administration this is called
de-centralization. De-centralization not only implies the downward
flow of decision-making but also greater closeness of the reviewing
authority to the decision-making level.
if more decision-making flows to the districts and sub-districts,
the state government, which is the reviewing authority, must also
have fewer units to supervise. I have always held that the real
concentration of power is not with the Central Government but with
the State Governments. Thus when a person like Chandrababu Naidu
clamors for greater functional autonomy, he is actually calling for
a greater concentration of power to himself. From the perspective of
good governance, this is clearly unacceptable. Good government also
means lesser government, responsive government, closer government
and quicker government. Large centralized governments are inimical
to good government. State Governments are the worst kind of
centralized governments masking their regional jingoism as a demand
1973 Rasheeduddin Khan wrote: “ the process of the
infra-structuring of the Indian federation is not yet over.
Therefore, political demands of viable sub-regions for new
administrative arrangements are not necessarily antithetical to the
territorial integrity of the country. For, every urge for autonomy
is not a divisive, but most probably a complementary force; it would
not lead to balkanization but to the restructuring of national
identity; it is not a fissiparous but a normal centrifugal tendency
in a federation; it should not be taken as a call for disintegration
of the national sovereignty, but its re-integration.” The
“Report of the States Reorganization Commission, 1955” states:
United States of America
, the Indian Union is not an indestructible union composed of
indestructible states. But on the contrary the
alone is indestructible but the individual states are not.” It
would be unfortunate if demands for the restructuring of India by
creating more states are seen only as mere political contests, where
the just causes of individual socio-cultural and agro-climatic
regions is just a weapon of in the hands of out of work politicians
deprived of a share of the benefits of office.