I believe in smaller states: Subhash C. Kashyap


‘Telangana demand is Justified’

The discrimination against, the backwardness and poverty of the people in the Telangana region continues and constitutes a matter of shame for every Indian.

– Subhash C. Kashyap, Former Secretary General Lok Sabha.

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Question: With a country of India’s size and diversity, is there reason in having smaller states? And also is the demand of Telangana state formation justifiable?

Personally I have believed in the merit of smaller states and further redistribution of state boundaries on more a rational and equitable basis. Also from Constitutional angle and in the interest of strengthing the federal fabric of our constitution and polity it would be more desirable that all the constituent states of Union are so far as possible equal in terms of territory and population. I believe time has come for the appointment of another States Reorganization Commission. So far as Telangana in particular is concern it has a long history going back to pre independence days. Also SRC had recognized the legitimacy of the demand. Even more recent history indicates that the ruling party categorically promised establishment of Telangana state. It is also well known that all prerogative arrangements for satisfying the needs of the Telangana people have not worked. The discrimination against, the backwardness and poverty of the people in the Telangana region continues and constitutes a matter of shame for every Indian.

Question: Is further formation of new states results in strong centre as Indian constitution is primarily Federal in nature? Really formation of new states backtrack the federal structure of India? Being constitutional expert, could you give your view in detail?

In my personal view the worst problem in relations between institutions and between human beings arises from the tendency of one institution or individual trying to centralize power in its hands and to dominate over others. The entire post independence history of India bears witness to the fact that what was conceived by the constitution as the government of the whole “Union” became quite illegitimately the “Central” government and had a tendency to dominate over the states. Similarly despite the 73rd and the 74th amendments, the leadership and governments at the state level were unwilling to share power with local governments. I believe there is a case for the principle of sovernity vesting in the people being actually translated in the practice. This would require transferring maximum power to the grassroots levels under a bottom-up approach. Instead of the present top-down approach. This would also be in keeping with model constitution for India that was conceived by Mahatma Gandhi. Also, it would be in accordance with the latest subsidiary principle adopted in European Union. This would result in a situation where the Union would be strong only in matters like defense and foreign affairs which cannot be handled at the next lower level of the states. The state governments would be similarly a strong in dealing with matters which cannot be handled at lower levels of Zilla parishats, Nagar Palikas, Panchayat institutions. Ultimate results would be that really the people themselves would feel the glow of freedom, transfer of power to their ends and really as the strong citizens in the democratic dispensation.

Question: Why people’s aspirations are not fulfilled for a long time in the case of Telangana? Home Ministers’ Statement on December 9th was in fact 29th promise in favor of Telangana. How come so many promises were betrayed in the biggest democracy in the world, as we claim…Is there any problem in the democratic procedure itself to fulfill the aspirations of Telangana people?

It seems to me at the Telangana issue is not being handled on merits but it has become prisoner of political power struggle. So far as the leadership and authorities in Delhi are concerned they keep waiing the pros and cons of the conceding the Telangana state from the angle of political power game and vote banks. Both from the angle of power calculations at the state level as also at the Union level. That is the reason why Telangana issue has been lingering.

Question: Why central governments assume the formation of Telangana state really opens the Pandora’s Box?

The constituent Assembly specifically discarded the concept of central legislature and central government which came from Government of India Act 1919. But unfortunately the authorities and leadership in Delhi continue to use terms like central governments, centre etc. The constituent assembly has specifically discarded the concept of centre and had provided in constitution for the Union and Union-state relations. The use of the wrong terminology of Centre-State relations sends a wrong message of Union-states relation being relations between Centre of the authority in Delhi and the states in periphery. Actually the constitution conceived of relation between the Union i.e. whole and the states i.e. the parts of the whole.

Question: There is an allegation that the newly or recently formed states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal have not shown any signs of growth and development as projected before…Is it so?

I do not subscribe the view. The states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttaranchal have shown progress. I think so far as Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal concerned they can claim considerable progress in the matter of providing good governance and economic development. In any case their record is better than several of the older and bigger states. In Jharkhand there has been a crisis of leadership and there have been serious problems of governance deficit. But the same thing can be said for the several of the older and larger states.

Question: The states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand are formed for the benefit of tribal population. As there is wide campaign that they are vulnerable in both the states. Is it relative with the size of the state?

So far as tribal angle is concerned it should not be forgotten that the tribal populations are not in a majority in either of the two states. Also the real question of protecting the interest of tribal’s, forest rights etc. has to be handled with greater sensitivity and fare play. In any case this has no relationship to the carving out of the two states. It cannot be said that tribals’ would have or were getting a better deal before the formation on these two separate states.

Question: Can be a chapter in committee like Sri Krishna kept Secret?

It can be kept secret on the ground of national security or in public interests. But the justification there fore must be in public domain. It is difficult to see what can be the question of national security or public interest in the matter of making the whole of SKC report public. The government can always place its point of view on the report before the people.

Question: Can India survive and prosper if some more states are formed, as we see the separate state agitations in the first five biggest (in terms of population) states of UP, Maharashtra, Bihar, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh?

No harm would be done. I have said it several times before if India is divided into 40 to 50 states of almost equal size. It is entirely feasible and logical. This would in fact lead to greater national integration and unity of the nation. Of course as I said earlier this has to be combined with transfer of power to the local levels and to the people at large. For, power in a democracy really belongs to the people and not to the rulers, either at the Union or at the state levels.

Question: Your message for Namasthe Telangana

I understand that Namasthe Telangana is being launched as the first daily news paper from the Telangana region. I welcome it and wish it all the success. I am sure the paper would project and protect the interest of the people in Telangana. But while doing so it will never forget the demands of unity and integrity of the nation as a whole. We the People of India are one and indivisible. Best of luck.

-June 2011

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About kattashekar

Editor, Namasthe Telangana Daily, Hyderabad
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