Recent divisions:

THE recent creation of three 'small' states - Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh - within India has raised some interesting issues about the territorial scale of such constitutional units and their relationship with the Republic as a whole. These issues need to be spelt out at some length; in order to enable us to comprehend the prospect they hold out for the social and economic growth of the Republic, collectively, and the states of the Republic, individually, in the future. To throw some light on the issues, the political map of our country is still substantially a legacy of the mapping exercises carried out during the colonial dispensation in the 19th century. The political context for the crystallization of the three small states referred to above - Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh - is provided by the recommendations of the States Re-organisation Commission (SRC) of 1955, which took a retrospective look at the map of India, as reflected in the provinces created under British rule. How has the recent emergence of three small states - Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh - affected the states of the Indian Union as they were mapped out in the 1950s? Three observations need to be voiced before we can answer this question: first, a variety of sub-regional units within the existing states of the Republic have staked a claim for a separate identity of their own; second, the level of economic development which India has attained today calls for a more spatially dispersed pattern of industrialization, than has been carried out hitherto; and third, the development of democratic institutions within the villages plus the need for a second generation green revolution. Therefore, that the recent creation of three small states within the Indian Union necessarily calls for a novel re-organisation of the territorial units within the Republic. But the process of territorial re-organisation unleashed in the last few years is likely to stimulate similar demands in other parts of the country. Smaller states, it is generally believed, lend themselves readily to efficient political and economic management. But to what extent?

Sankalp Unit