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Small states can be better administered: Dr George Mathew


Updated: August 5, 2013, 4:32 PM IST
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Small states can be better administered: Dr George Mathew
Are small states good for India?

Are smaller states better governed and do they tend to implement development schemes faster? Dr George Mathew, founder-director and chairman of Institute of Social Sciences, joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. Practically smaller states are easier to govern and if they are formed for that reason it is welcome. However, this is not the reasons for smaller states. their formation is mainly to cater for political considerations and to increase the number of red beacon cars. Don't you agree with in cynical comment? Asked by: AKS

A. Both factors are there today. What is to be done is, to find a people oriented development solution. Small states should be for human development. In multiparty-parliamentary-democracy like we have in India the 'beacons' also play an important role but people can control them.

Q. If I may ask you one more question, in these matters of contentious issues how should the govt proceed ahead before announcing its decisions? Have the political parties in AP truly represented the real aspirations of the people of the region? Asked by: M M Sastry

A. The government must proceed announcing the decisions after taking into consideration the ground realities. It must be objectively evaluated considering the future of the region and then take a decision. The popularity of the political parties depends on their people-oriented policies and actions which can be measured only through elections.

Q. Don't you think the decision of Telengana has opened up Pandora's box? Can the govt have patience at least to listen to the woes of the affected? In your opinion, what should the govt do now? Asked by: M M Sastry

A. Yes, the announcement of Telengana has opened up many problems resulting in demands for more states. When a new state is created it has both positive and negative impact immediately. It has to be resolved over the time. Now the government cannot step back. A political consensus is required to resolve the present tensions and the after effect decision.

Q. Telangana demand is from 60 years.it is demand different from other state demands. It is just the de-merger from AP. What's your view on this and also hyderabad? Asked by: Sanjay

A. The Telangana demand is not different from other state demands. For instance Vidarbha in Maharashtra. Now Hyderabad has to be a Union Territory like Chandigarh.

Q. Does it seem to you that the Govt has considered the ground realities, given the spontaneous protests from the people in this region? Asked by: M M Sastry

A. The government has considered the ground realities partially. Every government has its own political considerations. Whether it is Union or State Government. The thrust will be to satisfy the feelings of the majority.

Q. Don't you think more states increases government expenditure? Asked by: Rohit

A. Yes, it will increase the government expenditure but an efficient government can raise resources as well.

Q. Boundaries of states globally are shifted many number of times due to various reasons.Normally there is an expansionist attitude. How come now it is on the reverse? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. India is different with its extraordinary diversities - multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic etc. Therefore,there is potential for such demands occurring again and again.How to tackle it? Only a mature political leadership can tackle this problem.

Q. What is the perception of the Aam Admi in agitating for a statehood.What are the expectations which are realised. How did people benefit in Chattisgarh, Jharkand, Uttaranchal after the formation of these states? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. All poor people want their government to be nearer to them. Therefore, small states have potential to do that. The people of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand have benefited in development in the last 13 years. Since they carried with them all the negative factors of being a part of their parental state, certainly it takes longer time to throw away these and move towards faster development.

Q. Knowing very well that announcement of Telengana will kindle the others the UPA-2 went ahead. Will the GOI be in a position to efficiently handle the situation and prevent any major violence happening? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I think the Government of India can handle the situation.

Q. In the constitution do we have any mention on what is required for an area to become a state? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. No.

Q. Why is the size a consideration. If GOA could be a state, then why not Gorkhaland? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Size is not a consideration.

Q. Don't you think creating more states give rise to regionalism and add to the already existing adverse inter-state relations? Asked by: Raghavendra

A. It need not give rise to regionalism. Inter-state relations even today is a ticklish problem. It has to be handled with traditions and norms set up in a federal country like ours.

Q. Sir, how long it would take to build a capital of Hyderabad stature, does the gestation period effect the prospects of jobs? Do you see Hyderabad going Chandigarh way? Asked by: anush

A. It all depends how the problem is handled by the political leaders and the officials. Innovative ideas when properly implemented can create a new model of Hyderabad.

Q. Is a homogenous population not a better option than size for formation of a state? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Homogenous population is not a better option.

Q. Does size matter? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Personally I am for small states. But it must be optimal and governable.

Q. Sir, if you have the powers over the issue of re-organization of states, what would you do? what would be your priorities? Asked by: M M Sastry

A. I will go by the ability of good governance and it must have an optimum size. Numerically more states are not answer to our problem.

Q. Sir, If that was to believed and extending the same analogy, some of the best managed countries would have been in the African Subcontinent. If we go to the websites of any of the districts in the country, we will find that, there umpteen number of officers of the central and state cadre from the administrations. Apart from that there are NGO's working in the district, then the law and order machinery. Over and above all the politicians at Panchayat, Block, District level, the MLA, MP, MLC, Rajya Sabha MP etc. There is no dearth of people, what is missing is execution and lack of accountability. Size of the state, only multiplies districts and the machinery, per se the it has nothing to do with small or big. Devolution of powers to the grass root level and an accountable bureaucracy is what you need for governance. Creation of small states for genuine reasons is understood but for pure political mathematics is disastrous. Asked by: S ESHWAR

A. I agree with you that creation of small states for political mathematics is disastrous. Africa cannot be compared to India because India is fully successful democratic country and open society.

Q. Sir, what are the prospects of handling law and order. we have seen how Chattisgarh and Jharkhand are failing to handle naxalism esp after bifurcation? Asked by: anush

A. The law and order situation before the new states were created have been worse.

Q. Place like India, which has so many regional parties, small states will create more such parties. Right? In such case, is it possible for central Govt. to take any economic or political decision convincing all regional parties? Is it possible for central Govt to be in power for 5 years at all? Asked by: satish

A. In a big country like India national, regional, state and district parties are inevitable.

Q. Dr Mathew, is the demand for states masking elite concerns? Asked by: Krishnan

A. It has elite concerns but without people's demand it cannot survive.

Q. Dr Mathew, you have worked on panchayats and decentralisation, in the course of your studies did you find any difference between sizes of states and their attitude to the panchayats? Asked by: Krishnan

A. Small and medium states have a positive attitude to panchayats.

Q. Dear Sir, Could you please explain how small states are good for India on the following grounds and some other questions? 1) Economically if they are good/bad for India? 2) National integration perspective if they are good/bad for India? 3) What should be the common rule for division of big states into smaller states? 4) Of course it is not right for division for political reasons. If you see current situation in AP, though Telangana might be genuine request, Congress is dividing this only for political reasons. No political entity has educated people on PROS/CONS after division. Though there is very aggressive movement by abusing, hitting others TRS is demanding for new state. After formation, the sentiment will continue and Indians/Telugus in new state continue to quarrel. Especially on water sharing and others. Of course politicians will use the opportunity and sentiment across both the regions. Hope division should happen in good mood. Will such quarrels lead to economic slowdown? 5) If the states are not self-sufficient how can they become self-sufficient? (For instance, Telangana would become a landlocked state by losing out on major ports, coastline, golden quadrilateral and major railway freight corridors.) Would it lead to inflation in this region? 6) There is massive amount of infrastructure needed either by building up new capital, infrastructure etc to make new states self-sufficient. Would it be loss to exchequer? How would we mobilize capital required for such big infrastructure? 7) why can't we use the same money for development of backward regions? 8) How can we address the Maoist or any other unexpected internal threat which is being faced in Jharkhand and Chattisgarh? (Note: Telangana was once hugely affected by Moaist movement which led to backwardness in this region during 80's and 90's) Thanks in advance! With regards, Kalyan. Asked by: Kalyan Sunku

A. The small states can be better administered and thus good governance will happen. Every state has its unique identities. The Telangana issues and other questions raised above must must be seen from this perspective.

Q. Sir, are you planning any new movie recently, you have won the President's award for your previous film on Women empowerment. Asked by: M M Sastry

A. Thank you. Panchayati raj and women's empowerment are top concerns. Yes another feature film is one of my plans. Hope you have seen my Documentary: 14 July, shot in Srungavruksham panchayat in East Godavari district.

Q. What are your views on decentralisation of power of state govt? Will it help in ceasing the demand for new states? Asked by: Harvey Dent

A. Yes indeed. If the 73rd and 74th Amendments are implemented in letter and spirit the demands for new states will come down or even disappear.

Q. Uttar Pradesh is such a big state. It is mostly responsible for making the govt. Because of this fact UP govt has prerogative and unleashed in nature and apparently sometimes it blackmails the center just like it is doing in Durga Shakti's case. Do you think UP should split because politicians can not digest the immense power came to them? Asked by: Harvey Dent

A. I am for small states because they can be governed people friendly and with efficiency. Uttar Pradesh is a valid case from this angle. UP and Union government relation has to be discussed at a different level.

First Published: August 5, 2013, 4:32 PM IST
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