January 7, 2010


  • Post-independence history:When India became independent from the British Empire, the Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to retain his independence, but the Government of India amalgamated his state by force on September 17, 1948; after executing Operation Polo by the Indian Army. When India became independent, the Telugu-speaking people were distributed in about 22 districts; 9 of them in the Telangana region of Nizam's Dominions (Hyderabad State), 12 in the Madras Presidency (Andhra region) and one in French-controlled Yanam. A Communist led peasant revolt started in 1946, lasted until 1951.

  • Merger of Telangana and Andhra: In December 1953, the States Reorganization Commission was appointed to prepare for the creation of states on linguistic lines. The States Reorganization Commission (SRC) was not in favour of an immediate merger of Telangana region with Andhra state, despite the common language between the two.

    Para 382 of States Reorganization Commission Report (SRC) said "opinion in Andhra is overwhelmingly in favour of the larger unit, public opinion in Telangana has still to crystallize itself. Important leaders of public opinion in Andhra themselves seem to appreciate that the unification of Telangana with Andhra, though desirable, should be based on a voluntary and willing association of the people and that it is primarily for the people of Telangana to take a decision about their future". The concerns of Telanganas were numerous. The region had a less developed economy than Andhra, but with a larger revenue base (mostly because it taxed rather than prohibited alcoholic beverages), which Telanganas feared might be diverted for use in Andhra. They also feared that planned dam projects on the Krishna and Godavari rivers would not benefit Telangana proportionately even though Telanganas controlled the headwaters of the rivers. Telanganas feared too that the people of Andhra would have the advantage in jobs, particularly in government and education.
    The commission proposed that the Telangana region be constituted as a separate state with a provision for unification with Andhra state, after the 1961 general elections, if a resolution could be passed in the Telangana state assembly with two-third majority.
    Chief Minister of Hyderabad State, Burgula Ramakrishna Rao strongly believed majority of Telanga people are against the merger.
    Prime ministerJawaharlal Nehru ridiculed the idea of merging Telangana with the Andhra State, fearing a “tint of expansionist imperialism” in it. Later, he compared the merger to a matrimonial alliance having “provisions for divorce” if the partners in the alliance cannot get on well.
    However, following the "Gentlemen's agreement, the central government, ignoring States Reorganization Commission Report , established a unified Andhra Pradesh on November 1, 1956. The agreement provided reassurances to the Telangana people as well to Andhra people in terms of power sharing as well as administrative domicile rules and distribution of expenses of various regions.

  • 1969 Movement: Telangana people had a number of complaints about how the agreements and guarantees were implemented. Discontent with the 1956 Gentleman's agreement intensified in January 1969 when the guarantees that had been agreed on were supposed to lapse. Student agitation for the continuation of the agreement began at Osmania University in Hyderabad and spread to other parts of the region. Government employees and opposition members of the state legislative assembly swiftly threatened "direct action" in support of the students. This movement, also known as Telangana movement, led to widespread violence and deaths of hundreds of people and students of this Telangana region. Approximately 360 students gave their lives in this movement.Congress faced dissension within its ranks, its leadership stood against additional linguistic states, which were regarded as "anti-national." As a result, defectors from the Congress, led by M. Chenna Reddy, founded the Telangana People's Association (Telangana Praja Samithi). Despite electoral successes, however, some of the new party leaders gave up their agitation in September 1971 and, much to the disgust of many separatists, rejoined the safer political haven of the Congress ranks
  • Movement in 1990-2004:Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), promised a separate Telangana state if they came to power. BJP created Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarkhand states in year 2000 as promised. But the BJP could not create a separate Telangana state because of the opposition from its coalition partner, Telugu Desam Party. These developments brought new life into the separatist Telangana movement by year 2000. Congress party MLAs from the Telangana region, supported a separate Telangana state and formed the Telangana Congress Legislators Forum In another development, a new party called Telangana Rashtra Samithi (or TRS) was formed with the single point agenda of creating a separate Telangana state, with Hyderabad as its capital lead by Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao popularly known as KCR.
  • 2004 and later:

    In 2004, for Assembly and Parliament elections, the Congress party and the TRS had an electoral alliance in the Telangana region with the promise of a separate Telangana State. Congress came to power in the state and formed a coalition government at the centre. TRS joined the coalition government in 2004 and was successful in making a separate Telangana state a part of the common minimum program (CMP) of the coalition government. In September 2006 TRS withdrew support for the Congress led coalition government at the centre on the grounds of indecision by the government over the delivery of its electoral promise to create Telangana.
    In December 2006, the TRS won the by-election to the Karimnagar parliamentary constituency with a record margin.
    There was pressure on the Congress party to create a Telangana state in 2008.

  • 2009 and later:

    In February 2009, state government declared that it had no objection, in principle, to the formation of separate Telangana and that the time had come to move forward decisively on this issue. To resolve issues related to it the government constituted joint house committee .
    Ahead of the 2009 General Elections in India all the major parties in Andhra Pradesh supported the formation of Telangana. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) again announced their policy of having smaller states and would create two states, Telangana and Gorkhaland, if they won the election.The Congress Party still says it is committed to Telangana statehood, but claims Muslim minorities are opposed to creation of separate state along with majority of people. Some analysts, however, feel that the "Muslim reluctance card" has been very smartly played by Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who is staunchly opposed to the formation of the new state.
    The Telugu Desam Party(TDP) has promised to work for Telangana statehood. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) joined a Mahakutami (or grand alliance) with TDP and left parties to defeat the Congress party for denying statehood for Telangana.
    The Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), newly founded by film star Chiranjeevi, supported Telangana statehood prior to elections, but later changed its stance.Nava Telangana Party merged with PRP after it realized that there is not enough political space for two sub-regional Telangana parties with Telananga statehood as main agenda.
    Several political parties, including some Telangana congress leaders, criticized Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), when he changed his stand from pro-Telangana and gave anti-Telangana statements after the polls.
    Congress returned to power both at center and state. TRS and the grand alliance lost the elections in overwhelming fashion.
    In September 2009, Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) died in a chopper crash while flying in bad weather.
    In the first week of Dec 2009, the TRS president, K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) started a fast-unto-death demanding that the Congress party introduce a Telangana bill in the Parliament.Student organizations, employee unions and various organizations joined the movement. Scores of people commited suicide in support of Telangana state.Telangana bandh (strike) shuts down Telangana on Dec 6th and 7th. Student organizations planned a massive rally at state legislature(Assembly) on Dec 10th. Government warned that the rally does not have permission and deployed police troops though out Telangana. The decline of KCR's health has contributed to a sense of urgency for the central government to take a decision on the issue of Telangana statehood.

  • Telangana state formation process:

    On Dec 9th 2009, 11:30 PM, Mr. P. Chidambaram, Union Minister of Home Affairs announced that Indian government has started the process of forming a separate Telangana state and that a resolution would be introduced in Andhra Pradesh assembly for this soon. KCR ending his 11 day fast said from his hospital bed that this a true victory of the people of Telangana. The central government has asked Andhra Pradesh state government to pass of a resolution in the legislative assembly . However, as per article 3 of Constitution, Parliament does not require Assembly resolution to create a new state.
    Telangana celebrated the central government decision while non-Telangana regions of Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions (Andhra region) protested.
    Several members of Andhra Pradesh's legislature submitted their resignations to protest the creation of the new state.As of 16 December, at least 147 legislators (including Praja Rajyam Founder Chiranjeevi) and many Members of Parliament had resigned in protest of the Government's decision to carve out a new state of Telangana. 22 Ministers form the State Cabinet have submitted their resignation.All of the Legislators/MPs' resigned belong to Andhra (Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema) region.
    On Dec 16, media reports confirmed that there is split in Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) over Telangana issue, with its leader Chiranjeevi as well as 16/18 party MLAs opposing the division of Andhra Pradesh, while Telangana leaders in the party are unhappy with the shift in the party's views.


    From 28 to 45?
    Bagelkhand, Bodoland, Bundelkhand, Gondwana, Gorkhaland, Harit Pradesh, Kamtapur, Kodagu, Koshal Ladakh, Maru Pradesh, Paschimanchal, Purvanchal, Rayalaseema, Saurashtra, Tulu Nadu, Vidarbha — after Telangana, these are only a few of the names figuring in India’s so-called Balkanisation. Some propositions are beyond dispute. First, India’s present organisation into states (and UTs) isn’t

    rational, if rationality is interpreted as delivering better governance. The word governance is much abused and different people mean different things when they use it. Governance is a process and it is also about delivering public goods and services (law and order, primary health, school education, roads, drinking and irrigation water, electricity). These are still areas characterised by some degree of market failure. In addition, there are anti-poverty programmes. In all these, trading off economies (of scale and scope) with diseconomies, there is an optimal level of administration at which these can be delivered. While there is a case for centralisation for defence and national security, there is a case for decentralisation for public goods. As a rough rule of the thumb, at least in India’s heartland, optimal governance

    requires population sizes smaller than 50 million (25 million is more like it) and geographical expanse less than 35,000 sq km.

    Second, there is an empirical proposition. Across India’s 28 states and its UTs, work co-authored with Laveesh Bhandari shows smaller states perform better than larger states — on an average. Small states perform better than large states on physical infrastructure, social infrastructure, law and order and anti-poverty programmes. However, this is on an average and isn’t a finding specific to Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand or Uttarakhand. Nor is it the case that administrative restructuring alone solves all governance problems. For instance, the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir have

    issues that administrative restructuring alone cannot solve. What of the three newly-formed states? A long enough data time-series doesn’t exist. Subject to that, the answer depends on indicators used. Across indicators, Uttarakhand performs better than UP. The Chhattisgarh-MP comparison is iffy, with Chhattisgarh performing better on some indicators and worse on others. For Bihar-Jharkhand, Bihar generally performs better than Jharkhand. If an argument about optimal administrative level is accepted, the question shouldn’t only be about carved-out states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand. Governance should also improve in what remains — MP, Bihar, UP. Since one cannot control for other variables, there is a post hoc ergo propter hoc danger. With this caveat, governance (however defined) has improved in

    MP, Bihar, UP. Third, the British system of governance was unduly centralised, driven partly by land revenue

    considerations. This comes out in India-China comparisons, with China much more decentralised even before 1978-79 reforms. For growth and development, we need greater decentralisation and devolution and local bodies (urban local bodies as well as panchayats) are only perfunctory preliminary steps, despite euphoria. But mindsets of control and centralisation die hard. Subhas Kashyap made a profound observation. Why do we use the expression Centre-state relationships when the word “Centre” is never used in the Constitution? The use of “Centre” rather than the constitutionally-correct “Union” underlines this mindset of centralisation and second-class peripheries.

    But this mindset isn’t one for Centre-state alone, it spills over into intra-state relationships. Witness state reluctance to contemplate devolution/ decentralisation, diversion of funds meant for backward regions, cavalier attitudes towards State Finance Commission recommendations. When there has been decentralisation of sorts (PMGSY, NREGS), efficiency of public

    expenditure has improved. There is a corruption cum leakage issue that needs flagging too. Rajiv Gandhi spoke of 15 per cent of government funds reaching target beneficiaries and this is interpreted as 85 per cent leakage. That’s not true. 85 per cent represents both administrative costs and leakage.

    In principle, transparency and accountability should improve with smaller states. But even if this doesn’t happen, there is a geographical shift in location of administrative costs and leakage. They occur in Darjeeling rather than Kolkata, with consequent multiplier benefits also changing geographically. Since Planning Commission (including Central sector and Centrally-sponsored schemes) and Finance Commission transfers have failed to develop backward regions, backward region development through localisation of administrative costs and corruption is hardly unmitigated disaster.

    Fifth, other than British systems of governance being unduly

    centralised, the legacy of state formation was irrational, both in terms of initial categorisation into three types (Parts A, B and C) and subsequent formation of states on linguistic grounds. There were colonial and historical reasons why this was done in 1950 (the Constitution) and 1956 (States Reorganisation Act), such as the existence of princely states. But there are no reasons why 1950 or 1956 developments should be cast in stone. Indeed, states have been formed after 1956 too. However, what one needs is another States Reorganisation Commission to devise an optimal number of states. With the kind of benchmarks that work for good governance, we would then probably end up with something like 45 states. Had one gone about the exercise rationally, this is what UPA-II should have done.

    Sixth, in any federal set-up, efficient inter-state dispute resolution and coordination mechanisms are needed. There are gaps in what was constitutionally provided and what was constitutionally provided has been imperfectly implemented. However, this shouldn’t be interpreted as a higher administrative hierarchy for delivering public goods. These are distinct issues.

    Seventh, the decision about Telangana was ad hoc, arbitrary, non-transparent and politically motivated. There cannot be any dispute about that either. Had fasting been the trigger, Manipur’s draconian laws should have changed first. This ad hoc decision has now opened up a can of worms. Occasionally, irrational decisions can catalyse stock-taking and review that lead to rational examination. In the muddied waters of Telangana, there is no evidence yet that this will happen. But as the demand for newer states snowballs, perhaps we will eventually have that elusive second States Reorganisation Commission and break away from linguistic and ethnic categorisations in forming new states. The more homogeneous the entity, the easier governance becomes and tautologically, smaller states are less heterogeneous.

    In this controversy over Telangana, there is an impression that there is a great deal of controversy. However, if one thinks about it, there should be complete consensus on these seven propositions. Unfortunately, in its preference towards setting up commissions right, left and centre, the UPA didn’t set up the one it should have and the whirlwind is being reaped now.

    Perhaps there is a moral there too. Governments are reluctant to delegate decision-making to commissions. Instead, there is a preference for arbitrary exercise of centralised power, exactly the opposite of what the Constitution intended.

    (Source: Indian Express,WIKIPEDIA)

Related Posts by Categories

Widget by Blogger Templates


Add your comment. Please don't spam!
Subscribe in a Reader
:)) ;)) ;;) :D ;) :p :(( :) :( :X =(( :-o :-/ :-* :| 8-} :)] ~x( :-t b-( :-L x( =))

Post a Comment