Smaller states will ensure better governance: Experts

December 12, 2009 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Following is a report from DNA:

Announcement of a Telangana state may have set off a political storm, but experts feel India needs smaller states for better governance and actually favour doubling the number of states in the country.

Smaller states are “conceptually better governed,” says George Mathew, director, Institute of Social Sciences (ISS) in the national capital. The institute regularly undertakes field studies and, Mathew says, Andhra Pradesh “was not progressing as expected” in the field of governance. In that context, he says, Telangana is a good step.

A senior bureaucrat who was involved when Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal were created, says India should have around 50 states.

Some studies undertaken in the past argue for similar numbers. In a seminal paper in the mid-70s, Prof Rasheeduddin Khan had argued for 56 states on the basis of social and cultural factors.

“There is very little logic behind our present states. Some are based on language, some on the influence of Congress leaders during Independence, and some have almost no basis,” the official pointed out.

States such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and West Bengal were formed on the basis of language. There was very little logic behind the formation of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar but for the “influence of some Congress leaders at the time of their formation,” the official said.

Another official who has dealt with the subject pointed out that the State Reorganisation Commission in the 1950s suggested a separate state of Vidarbha, and it could have been created when Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were created in 2000.

“We haven’t yet had a very scientific way of creating states,” the official, who served in the home ministry during that last round of state creations, said.

“In terms of governance, smaller states are better governed. Of the smaller states, the only exception is Jharkhand. Otherwise, they have all been successes,” says Mathew while listing out Goa, Kerala, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

But he cautions that being a small state alone was no mantra for good governance, economic performance and welfare of individuals. Despite being a small state, Jharkhand has not conducted panchayat elections in the past 10 years. As a result, several central schemes haven’t released money, he pointed out.


Entry filed under: Do smaller states provide better governance?.

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