Union And Its Territory - Indian Polity and Governance Notes | Study Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters - UPSC

UPSC: Union And Its Territory - Indian Polity and Governance Notes | Study Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters - UPSC

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UNION AND ITS TERRITORY 

Art. I says that India, that is Bharat, is a Union of States.

There is an opinion that the term' Union of States’ implies that India is a unitary system of government and is federal only in a secondary sense. However, the following explanation dispels such an interpretation.

In the Constituent Assembly, the Drafting Committee decided in favour of describing India as a Union, although its Constitution is federal in structure. Moving the Draft Constitution for the consideration of the Constituent Assembly in 1948, Dr.Ambedkar explained the significance of the use Of the expression "Union" instead of the expression "Federation". Three reasons are given

  • Though the country and the people may be divided into different States for convenience of administration, the country is one integral whole, its people a single people living under a single imperium derived from a single source."
  • The expression- India is" a Union of States" was chosen as India was already a Union at the time of the Constituent Assembly debates.
  • Further, there is a school of thought that federal constitutions grant the provincial units the right to break away and since India does not give any such rights to the states, it is not warranted to call ourselves federal

India is a Union of 28 States and seven centrally administered Union Territories, including the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

The States and UTs found in the First Schedule of the Constitution are Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharakhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The Union Territories- centrally administered territories, are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh,Delhi , Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Havfeli, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry.

There are two expressions used in the context of governance in India-' Union of India' and 'Territory of India' : the former includes States'that share federal powers with the Union Government and is a political expression; the latter includes not only States but all other units like UT's and so on and thus is a geographical expression. In other words, territory of India encompasses a larger area than Union of India.That is, Territory of India encompasses the entire territory over which Indian sovereignty is exercised while Union of India covers only the federal system.

Government of India can acquire any territory by purchase, treaty, cession, conquest or any other method administer it on the basis of Parliamentary Act.

The States and the territories thereof are specified in the First Schedule. ‘The territory of India ' comprises of the territories of the States; the Union territories specified in the First Schedule; and such' other territories as may be acquired. For example, Sikkim in 1974 and Puducherry (Pondicherry then) in 1950’s.

Art.2 says that the Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions, as it thinks fit.

Art 3. Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States: - Parliament may by law:-

  • form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a Rart of any State;
  • increase the area of any State;
  • diminish the area of any State;
  • alter the boundaries of any State;
  • alter the name of any State;

The relevant Bill may be introduced in either House of Parliament only on the recommendation of the President. The Bill should be .referred by the President to the Legislature/Legislatures of the State/States for expressing views within such period as may be specified in the reference. Such period may be extended by the President. The opinion of the State Legislature/s is not binding on the President. The Bill needs to be passed by the Parliament by a simple majority.

Art.4 says that laws made under Articles 2 and 3 to provide for the amendment of the First and the Fourth Schedules and supplemental, incidental and consequential matters are not to be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purposes of Article 368.

There are instances where the State legislatures have passed resolution for creating new states. But Constitutionally, states can not initiate the process of creation of states etc. It has to start from the Union Council of Ministers advising the President to recommend the introduction of the Bill in the Parliament.

Uttar Pradesh assembly in November 2011 passed a motion by voice-vote to divide the state into four smaller parts. The resolution was for dividing UP into — Poorvanchal, Paschim Pradesh, Awadh Pradesh and Bundelkhand. It has only suggestive value but no material significance in Constitutional terms.

 

 

Is the process of creation and abolition of states unitary?

A federation is one consisting of'an indestructible Union of indestructible States’ as in the USA.- India, though a federation, has Constitutional mandate for the abolition of a state. That is , in India, states are not' indestructible’. A state can be abolished or merged with another state. Its boundaries, area and name can be changed. The process is initiated by the Union Government and the role of the affected state is only to express its opin ion which is not binding on the Union Government. Parliament needs to pass the Bill only by a simple majority.The Council of States(Rajya Sabha) which is the representative of states does not have any special powers in this matter. Thus, the process is unitary. However, there are certain aspects that require consideration

  • President is given the power to refer the Bill to the state concerned. The Bill can not be introduced in the Parliament without the Presidential recommendation. It acts as a check to politicise the matter to serve the partisan interests of any political group.
  • The need for political reorganisation and integration after Independence even in the face of any provincial resistance was the overriding factor.600 Princely states that were undemocratic had to be absorbed into India and had to be made parts of different states for democratic and administrative reasons.
  • The Constitution was drafted at a time when the country was partitioned and the danger from centrifugal tendencies made the Constituent Assembly members feel the need for a strong centre.

It is true that the provisions in Art.2 and 3 are unitary in content. But, as shown above, the need to for centralization of power was strongly felt across the political spectrum.

In recent years, however, there has been an opinion that the Union is strong after 65 years of Independence and states may be given more powers including the power to influence formation of new states.

 

The case of Pondicherry( Puducherry)

It is a former French colony . A treaty of cession was signed by India and France in 1956. It was ratified by the French parliament in 1962. Till 1962, therefore, it could not be given the status of a Union Territory and was given the status of 'acquired territory’ . In 1962 India and France exchanged the instruments of ratification under which France ceded to India full sovereignty over the territories it held. It came to be administered as the Union Territory of Pondicherry from 1963 .Parliament in 2006 passed a Bill to rename the Union Territory (UT) of Pondicherry as Puducherry in response to the wishes of the people of the Union Territory expressed through a unanimous resolution by the legislative Assembly in 1980.The Bill amends Part Vlll, the First and Fourth Schedules of the Constitution and the Government of Union Territories Act 1963.

Puducherry encompasses four regions - Puducherry, Karaikal (near Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu), Mahe (near Thalassery, Kerala) and Yanam (near Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh).

 

The case of Sikkim

Sikkim was originally a protectorate* of India. Reflecting the wishes of the people of Sikkim , the Constitution (Thirty-fifth amendment) was passed in Parliament in 1974 to up-grade the status of Sikkim from a protectorate to an associate state of the Indian Union.

Sikkim Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution in J 975, abolishing the institution of the Chogyal ( royalty) and declaring Sikkim as a constituent unit of India. The Assembly also resolved to submit its resolution to the people of Sikkim by way of a general referendum. Consequently , Parliament made the Thirty- sixth Constitution Amendment Act in 1975 and Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union.

*ln international law, a protectorate is a political entity that formally agrees by treaty to enter into a relationship with another, stronger state, called the protector, which agrees to protect it (diplomatically or militarily) against third parties, in exchange for which the protectorate usually accepts specified obligations.

Union Territories

The reasons for having UTs differ with the Union Territory in question. General reasons are:Unique history; geographical size/location ; cultural heritage; Iriter-State disputes; need for territories administered by the Union Government.

Specific reasons are

  1. Delhi - capital of India.
  2. Puducherry - French colonial & cultural heritage - small far-flung areas.
  3. Daman & Diu - Portuguese colonial & cultural heritage - far from Goa.
  4. Dadra & Nagar Haveli - Portuguese heritage - far from Goa, Daman & Diu.
  5. Andaman & Nicobar - group of islands deep into the Bay of Bengal - far from the mainland.
  6. Lakshwadweep - group of small islands deep into the Arabian Sea - far from mainland.
  7. Chandigarh - dispute between states of Punjab & Haryana - Punjab Accord - awarded to Punjab - transfer not yet through - continues as UT.

 

Creating New States

Even before Independence, Government was exploring the appropriate basis for states reorganization. Dhar Commission was set up by the President of the Indian Constituent Assembly in 1948 to consider the question of reorganization of states in India. The Commission favoured reorganization on the basis of administrative efficacy and not language. The Indian National Congress at its Jaipur Session (1948) set up a high level committee called Linguistic Provinces Committee -consisting of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramiah to consider the Dhar Commission's recommendations. In its report (J.V.P. Report) the Committee counseled utmost caution in proceeding with the proposal for the linguistic reorganization of states.

Political movements for the creation of new language -based states emerged after- independence. The Telugu-speaking people agitated in Madras State for the formation of separate Andhra. In 1953, the 16 Telugu-speaking districts of Madras State became the new State of Andhra. It comprised Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema Regions. In 1956 Andhra State was merged with the Telangana region of Hyderabad State to form a united Telugu-speaking state of Andhra Pradesh.

Jawahar Lai Nehru subsequently appointed the States Reorganization Commission ( 1953) that included Fazl AM, KM Panikkar and HN Kunzru. In 1955, the States Reorganization Commission submitted its report recommending that many British- imposed administrative boundaries be redrawn to recognize certain regional, cultural, and linguistic eonfigurations.The change was justified on the basis of administrative efficiency - the use of a single language in a given state. Explaining the criterion of language as the basis for constituting a state, it said:Linguistic homogeneity provides the only rational basis for reconstituting the state, for it reflects the social and cultural pattern of living obtaining in well defined regions of the country.

The four criteria laid down by the States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) for accepting the demand by a region for the formation of a State are:

  • Creation of new States should strengthen and preserve national unity.
  • States are to be formed on the basis of linguistic and cultural unity.
  • Financial, administrative and economic viability should govern the formation of new states.
  • It should aid the process of implementation of five years plans.

Parliament passed the States Reorganization Act ( 1956) that was based on the SRC report. This was the beginning of states' reorganization in India on a linguistic basis. It was a major development toward incorporating cultural identities into political and administrative units. The reorganisation of states and federal devolution of resources strengthened cultural diversity. Linguistic reorganization of states was the only viable model as it helped administrative efficiency; greater citizen convenience; effective management of diversities and thus strengthening the federal system of governance. It prevents fissiparous tendencies like separatism and disintegration.

Formation of States in India on the basis of languages in 1956 was because language represented relatively acceptable base in comparison to other contending criteria like geography, ethnicity, ecology, economic development and so on.

States Reorganization Act 1956 and Constitution(Seventh )Amendment Act 1956

The States Reorganization Act of 1956 was made to implement the recommendations of the SRC for linguistic reorganization of states and to revamp the territorial limits of India's states and territories. The Constitution(Seventh) Amendment Act wa? made to amend the Indian Constitution to replace the three types of states, known as Parts A, B, and C states, with a single class of states.

In order to understand the significance of the SR Act 1956 and the Constitution (Seventh) Amendment Act 1956, the nature of political and administrative organization under the British needs to be followed. British India had two types of territories

  • provinces, governed directly by British officials who were responsible to the Governor-General of India and
  • princely states under the control of local hereditary rulers having British government as the sovereign but enjoying autonomy based on a treaty

When India became Independent on August 15, 1947, British government dissolved their treaty relations with the over 600 princely states, who had the option of acceding to either India or Pakistan. Most of the princely states joined India. Hyderabad was incorporated into India after armed intervention.

In the three year period during 1947-1950 , the princely states were politically integrated into the Indian Union- either merged with the existing provinces or organised into new provinces.

The Constitution of India , when it came into existence on January ,26, 1950 had three classes of states.

  • The nine Part A states, which were the former governors' provinces of British India, were ruled by an elected governor and state legislature.
  • The eight Part B states were former princely states or groups of princely states, governed by a rajpramukh, who was often a former prince, along with an elected legislature. The rajpramukh was appointed by the President of India.
  • The ten Part C states included both the former chief commissioners' provinces and other centrally administered areas except Andaman and Nicobar islands. The chief commissioner was appointed by the President of India.

The States Reorganization Act 1956 brought about linguistic reorganization of the states under which absorbed the former British provinces and princely states on the basis of language. The Seventh Amendment to the Constitution (1956) abolished the difference between Part A and Part B states- both became "states" constituting a single category. Part C states were renamed "union territories." The personal privileges of the princes - the privy purse, the exemption from customs duty etc continued till they were abolished in 1971.

Criticism of Linguistic Reorganization of States

The linguistic reorganization of the states encouraged various ethnic groups to demand statehood. This was because ethnic identity was provided a territory under the scheme of linguistic reorganization. Such potential has been further sharpened because linguistic reorganization in a vast and diverse country like India cannot satisfy the cultural aspirations of all cultural and'ethnic groups.. The dissatisfactions of some of the unrecognized minority linguistic groups also continue to simmer. Such problems exist with regard to the Konkan region of Maharasthra/Goa, Nepali-speaking groups of Darjeeling, Sikkim, and Assam, and Maithili and Avadhi language groups in Bihar. There are several political parties which are ethnicity-based, and they build their strength by exploiting the linguistic identities of their constituencies. Demand for Telangana state shows the linguistic basis for creation of states is at best a partial remedy or no solution at all.Development takes Centre stage in the formation of new states after.the linguistic reorganisation of states has been completed.

 

The Sarkaria Commission (1988) hinted at weaknesses of the linguistic reorganization of states in this respect when it said:

Very often, the sub-national sentiment which- is initially based on linguistic, religious or ethnic groupings, gains strength with a blend of economic issues, such as those relating to... economic backwardness. One of the most significant developments has been the rise of linguistic chauvinism, rearrangement of the boundaries of the States on linguistic basis... resulting in fissiparous tendencies.

Three new states were created in 2000 not on the basis of language but primarily for economic growth and good governance: Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Uttarakhand.

Since the SRC report was acted upon first in 1956, many new States came into existence first in South and West and later in the Northwest and the Northeast. The last phase of the reorganization was in the north and the Central India in 2000.There are demands for new States still like Harita Pradesh (western UP); Bundelkhand(UP);Koshal (western Orissa); Telangana (AP); Kodagu (Karnataka); Vidarbha (Maharashtra); Jatland (Haryana); Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir); Bodoland (Assam); Gorkhaland (West Bengal); UTs of Pudicheri and Delhi.

Needless to say, the demands could not be met as it would lead to proliferation of states to a point of making federal coordination difficult; they are not economically viable; national unity would be threatened ; small states may be unable to tackle political threats like naxalism; small states are not necessarily better governed as seen in Jharkhand and the north east; political instability due to fractured verdicts with Independents deciding crucial issues of government formation and survival ;administrative problems about creation of institutions like High Court ; Secretariat etc; the costs of setting up a capital etc, to name some general reasons.

Experience of new states created in 2000

Uttarakhand, a hilly state recorded rapid economic growth and social gains and thus outperformed UP. New tax breaks and a surge in tourism helped.

Chhattisgarh, backward but resource-rich and once a part of Madhya Pradesh, is doing much better economically than before with consistently high growth.

Jharkhand in eastern India has faltered after separating from Bihar. But Bihar itself has thrived, with double-digit economic growth and striking social progress since separation. While the reasons for the impressive gains of two small states and the third parent state are many and leadership, improved administration and the overall positive growth

 

climate in the country were helpful, the fact also remains that the earlier oversized states did deter uniform and robust growth and social development.

Ramachandra Guha, eminent historian holds that the creation of linguistic states has safeguarded the unity of India. Pakistan was divided, and Sri Lanka subject to a protracted civil war, because Bengali speakers in the one case and Tamil speakers in the other were refused the autonomy and dignity they wanted and deserved. On the other hand, the fact that in India citizens are free to educate and administer themselves in their own language has created a feeling of comfort and security.

He further says: Linguistic states were crucial at one stage of Indian history, but have they now outlived their usefulness? In north Karnataka, in the inland districts of Andhra Pradesh and of Maharashtra, and in the hilly districts of northern Bengal — in all these places there are vigorous movements calling for separation from the parent province. Are these movements legitimate, and will they persist? Or are they spurious and hence to be disregarded?

The answer lies in a case by case study of these movements. There may be a case for 2nd SRC to consider the historic experience with states reorganisation; lay down new principles for formation of new states; and recommend solutions for the demands we have witnesses so far.

Ram Guha like many others believes that linguistic states were necessary in the first, early, stages of Indian independence, it may now be time for a further reorganisation of states. The proponents of Telangana, Vidharbha, and Gorkhaland all have a robust case.Their regions are well defined in an ecological and cultural sense, and have historically been neglected by the more powerful or richer parts of the State. Likewise, Uttar Pradesh is far too large to be administered as a single unit. Breaking it up into three or four states would lead to more effective and focused governance.After 65 testing years of independence, there need no longer be any fear about the unity of India. The country is not about to Balkan ise(break up). The real problems in India today have to do with the quality of governance. Smaller states may be one way to address this problem. All states and UTs believe that the robust democracy ofjndia and the prospect for prosperity can not be compromised with and this feeling justifies creation of new states where gound realities justify the same.

Big States or Small States?

States reorganization has been taking place since mid-fifties-first in south and later in northwest and northeast and now in the northern, central and eastern India so that big states are made more governable through bifurcation on linguistic, cultural, ecological, economic or any other criterion or a combination of them. The case for small states rests on

  • big states needed to be divided for administrative viability
  • better system of administration through participative planning
  • avoidineglect of certain regions and sections of society
  • remove regional economic imbalances etc.

Examples of Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are shown as successful small States. Northeast is cited to show that without the reorganization, there would have been greater levels of insurgency .The above analysis shows that the creation of small states in 2000 has produced dividends.

While there is no opposition to carving more states out of the big states like Bihar, MP and UP as social and economic indicators show that for reasons of governability, there should be bifurcation, the costs are cited as thd following

  • viability problems creating fiscal stress for Centre;
  • more demands by other regions
  • leave the parent state with drastically reduced resources
  • federal coordination becomes difficult
  • higher rates of taxation on citizens to raise the required resources for the following reason: when a UT becomes a State, it foregoes financial assistance that it enjoys as a UT . It necessitates resort to higher taxation to compensate for the central assistance that is no longer available.

According to some development experts, the need for division of big states is undeniable but the debate regarding the desirability of small states is basically one of how to enable balanced development and facilitate better administration. According to them, the answer lies in Local self government institutions;institutionalization of regional planning through autonomous councils etc;sustaining the existing funding mechanisms through Planning Commission( Gadgil formula for plan assistances) and Finance Commission - mediated transfers on the basis of poverty; special category states etc.

Another policy that the GOl adopted is to give concessional funds to underdeveloped states for growth and political stability so as to prevent demands for smaller states. Special category status for certain states has been given to transfer funds to them for plan projects at concessional terms by the' Planning Commission. 90% of the financial transfers for planned projects are grants and the rest is loan which is very different from the terms at which other states receive funds - 70% loan and 30% grants.

Given the sensitivities associated with proliferation of States, the need is to take the following measures for the improvement of governance and welfare.

 

Second SRC

It is true that the substantial part of political reorganization of states has been completed- initially on the basis of language and later on developmental lines. It is very clear that the linguistic division of states has played a crucial role in holding a diverse country like India together.The task however is not complete: there are many regions demanding separate statehood. It may lead to deepening democracy; reduction of regional imbalances; expeditious development and so on.

In this context a second SRC is being recommended to look back at the reorganization sofar; what are the outcomes and experiences; what general and specific principles can be laid down for formation o states; can the states concerned have a greater say^ as there is a resurgence of regionalism in the country and so on.

Besides, twenty years of economic liberalisation has fundamentally altered the political economy of India. Regional imbalances have grown and have created political tensions. Regionalist sentiment is on the rise and requires solution. Therefore, a Second State Reorganisation Commission is necessary to redraw India’s federal map, creating many smaller states keeping in mind economic viability and political stability.

The demand for statehood has the following explanatory factors:

  • “Development deficit” due to the uneven development of the country is one reason. Those regions.that have not seen fruits of growth want a new state.
  • Population explosion- electorate today is about 70 crores which is a five fold increase over the I950’s figure. It has created pressures' that have found expression as demands for special status.
  • Cultural identities have become the basis for political agitations for separate statehood which is partly the offshoot of language-based statehood followed since 1950’s.
  • Political parties also are instrumental in encouraging such demands for their own ends.

So far, a range of Constitutional and non-Constitutional mechanisms have been put in place to satisfy demands for autonomy and respect for cultural identity . They are

  • special category states like the north east, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand etc that receive central plan assistance at liberal terms
  • there are autonomous councils as in Ladakh, Darjeeling, Bodo where regions enjoy autonomy in administration
  • development boards (Art. 371(2)) for the backward regions of the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat
  • Finance Commission recommends more finances in terms of tax share and grants for the underdeveloped states
  • 73rd and 74lh Amendment Acts for local self government strive to satisfy local aspirations through decentralized governance
  • Inclusions of languages in the 8th schedule of the Constitution for the cultural development of the people.
  • Sixth Schedule benefits

In spite of the above facilities, there is a feeling that a second SRC be formed to recommend further steps.

 

Vijay Kelksir Committee on Balanced Regional Development

Maharashtra Government in 2011 setup a Committee to study ‘Alternative approaches to balance regional development in Maharashtra State’ under leadership of renctWned Economist and Ex-Chairman of 13th Finance Commission Dr. Vijay Kelkar. This is the second such committee, after one chaired by Dr. V M Dandekar, which had submitted its report in 1984. The New Committee will recommend measures to achieve a balance growth and improvement in Human Development Index in the State of Maharashtra

It is expected to submit its report in 2013. It is expected to recommend greater and immediate attention to the problems of Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and other Naxal affected districts as unless attention was paid to the developmental concerns of the region, there could be difficulty in maintaining law and order.

Democratic decentralization of governance may also receive adequate attention as local bodies should get more funds in state budget. State of Kqrala reserves 33% of funds for local bodies and may have to be emulated.

Kelkar Committee is expected to look into the potential of development of each region in various social and economic sectors. A mechanism for continued guidance regarding future allocations to be made by the government in various sectors is necessary and also to suggest mid term corrections wherever necessary. The need for a monitoring mechanism of region-wise expenditure has been stressed by many.

Nation, State and Nation-State

While the terms Nation and State are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. A State (note the capital "S") is a self-governing political entity within certan geographical boundaries internationally recognised. A "state" (with a lower-case "s") is usually a division of a federal State (such as the states of India). Nations are culturally homogeneous groups of people, larger than a single tribe or community, which share a common language, institutions, religion, and historical experience. When a nationality has a State of its own, it is called a nation-State. There are some States which havetwo nations, such as Canada and Belgium.There are nations without States: Kurds and Palestinians are stateless nationalities.

A State is characterized by the following:

  • Has territory which has internationally recognized boundaries
  • Has people who live there on an ongoing basis.
  • Has sovereignty, that is ,no other State should have power over the State's territory, people and resources. There is no authority, in within or outside, that has control over the Government
  • Has external recognition by other States.
  • Has economic activity and an organized economy; regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.
  • Has a government which provides public services and police power.

India, like all other countries, is a nation in making.

 

Telangana ,

An early expression of regionalism was the Telangana movement ini:he state of Andhra Pradesh. The region consists of 10 northwestern districts of Andhra Pradesh including the state capital, Hyderabad with a population of 3.5 crores. The Krishna and Godavari rivers flow through the region from west to east. In 1953, based on the recommendation of the States Reorganisation Commission, Telugu-speaking areas were separated from the former Madras States to form Andhra, India's first state established along linguistic lines. Telangana was merged with Andhra to form the new state of Andhra Pradesh in 1956.

The concerns about Telangana stem essentially from economic under-development. Compared to the costal region, the contrast is stark. Being backward , people of Telangana had the disadvantage in education and jobs. The Telangana movement grew out of a sense of neglect. The movement demanded redress for economic grievances and recognition of a sense of cultural distinctness. The local disadvantaged people of Telangana are called Mulkis.

The 1956 "gentlemen's agreement" provided reassurances to the Telangana people in education , jobs and ministerial berths. The use of Urdu was to continue in the administration and the judiciary . A Regional Council for Telangana was to be responsible for economic development, and its members were to be elected by the members of the state legislative assembly from the region. The demand for Telangana as a separate state re-emerged in recent.

Srikrishna Commission

Srikrishna Committee on Telangana or Committee for consultations on the situation in Andhra Pradesh (CCSAP) is a committee headed by former chief justice B. N. Srikrishna to look into the demand for separate statehood for Telangana or keep the State united in the present form, Andhra Pradesh. The committee was constituted by the Government of India in 2010.

The Sri Krishna Committee submitted a comprehensive 461-page report after their detailed across the state which included consultations with various political as well as social groups.

The six options presented in the report were as follows:

  1. Maintaining Status Quo - Keeping the Andhra Pradesh State as it is with no change in the Telangana, Seemandhra and coastal regions.
  2. Bifurcating the state of Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telengana regions with both of them developing their own capitals in due course of time. Hyderabad to be converted to a Union Territory - This proposal was similar to thePunjab-Haryana-Chandigarh model.
  3. Dividing Andhra Pradesh into two states - One of Rayala-Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital and second one of the Coastal Andhra Pradesh
  4. Dividing Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory that will be linked geographically to district Guntur in coastal Andhra via Nalgonda district in the southeast and via Mahbeobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema
  5. Bifurcation of the State into Telangana' and Seemandhra as per existing boundaries with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra to have a new capital. This was the second most preferred option according to the report.
  6. Keeping the State united and providing for creation of a statutorily empowered Telangana Regional Council for socio-economic development and political development of Telangana region. This was the most preferred option

The Committee's report suggested options 1 through 4 to be not feasible. The Fifth option is to bifurcate the State into Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital and Seemandhra which is to have a new capital city. The Committee noted that "Separation is recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably amongst all the three regions." The Sixth and the option that the Committee recommended as the "way forward" is to keep the state united and set up Telangana Regional Council with adequate transfer of funds, functions and functionaries in keeping with the spirit of Gentlemen's Agreement of 1956" .

While the creation of the separate state of Telangana is recognised as necessary given the widespread support it receives from within the 13 districts, there is no political consensus.Future status of Hyderabad is also contentious—the options being whether Hyderabad should be the capital of Telangana alone; joint capital; made into a UT with joint capital status atleast with a time frame by when a separate capital is set up and built for rest of Andhra.

Advocates say that Telangana can be set up as it satisfies the core prerequisites: economic viability and it has no border disputes.

Concerns are: left wing extremism; there are 13 autonomous development councils in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura; All of them will immediately ask for statehood; for 2,300 Telugu speaker people lived together ; creation separate state may not solve underdevelopment problems; staying within wider AP will give them access to resources etc.

Regionalism

Regionalism refers to a group of people in a region or a state coming together to demand and agitate for more powers of autonomy or a separate sate for any of the following reasons

  • Collective feeling of neglect in the context of uneven development
  • Economic backwardness
  • Their resources are being spent on others
  • The state is too large for them to be given adequate attention for development:
  • Ethnic identity being asserted

Government .reacted to the regionalist demands in the following manner

  • Grant of a separate state- Uttarakhand, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand in 2000
  • Autonomous council
  • Inclusion of the language in the Eighth Schedule as in the case of Bodos
  • Special provisions for certain regions in a State which are underdeveloped- Art.371 (2) for Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  • Constitutional establishment of the local self government institutions( 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts in 1992).

Regionalism as seen in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and elsewhere has the effect of stabilizing the polity with the following contributions /

  • Ensuring that the regional feeling of neglect does not degenerate into separatism
  • Checking the centralization tendency and help the states receive more powers and thus develop 'cooperative federalism’
  • Contribute to better management of 'cultural diversities’ through devolution of powers
  • Greater proximity of the government to the people and thus help evolve participative planning systems.

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The current demand for the break-up of large states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh needs to be examined seriously and dispassionately in its historical and contemporary context. After Independence, following Partition, Jawaharlal Nehru felt that the idea of linguistic states needed to be postponed since he feared it would foster local nationalisms, breed parochialism and undermine national unity. So, he argued for large states within a strong political Union and a socialist economy that would enable centralised planning of resources, leading to equitable regional development.

Further, it was thought that the interchange of capital and labour between the richer and poorer sub-regions in large states would create greater equality over time. B R Ambedkar, on the other hand, held that the doctrine of “one language, many states” would enshrine the principles of language and size: there could be four states carved out of Maharashtra, for example, all of which would speak Marathi but be of a viable size.

Today, the situation has undergone a substantial change. There are increasing demands for carving out smaller states out of the large, single-language states created after Independence. In the contemporary post-Congress and post-reform era, states have emerged as important players determining national political patterns. In many states, an upsurge from below has brought the hitherto underprivileged groups to power, creating new political elites. And in the era of coalition, governments, regional or state parties have become partners in central governance. The establishment of a market economy, too, has opened the floodgates to private capital that has led to increasing regional inequalities and, thus, contributed to the rising demands for smaller states.

Economic backwardness of sub-regions within large states has also emerged as an important ground on which demands for smaller states are being made. This is evident from the immediate demands for the formation of Vidharbha, Bodoland and Saurashtra, among other states. These developments have been responsible for a shift away from issues of language and culture - which had shaped the earlier process of reorganisation - to those of better governance and greater participation, administrative convenience, economic viability etc.

In this situation, the move towards smaller states appears to be inevitable and would lead to more democratisation. The formation of three new states in 2000 - Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand - has provided a fillip to this process. It also points to a new confidence in the political elite in comparison to the early years of Independence. Today, fears of the Centre weakening due to the creation of a large number of small states are unfounded. Many small states were created after 1956 - Punjab, Haryana and some in the north-east - which strengthened rather than weakened the Union. Even as the older federal structure served the polity created at Independence, there is a need to redraw the map of India in keeping with the new social and political order. Reorganisation needs to be seen not as a task undertaken at a single point of time, but as qn ongoing process that remains unfinished.

At the same time, the creation of a federation consisting of smaller states is a complex task and requires careful attention. Many critics have correctly argued that the mere creation of smaller states out of the existing bigger ones does not guarantee good governance and faster and inclusive economic development. Considering the plethora of demands being raised, it is time for a second States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) that can redraw India’s federal map, creating many smaller states and keeping in mind the twin criteria of economic viability and people’s aspirations.

 

Kachchatheevu

Kachchatheevu is an uninhabited island belonging to Sri Lanka. This island was given to Sri Lanka by India in 1974. Since then it has been a source of controversy between the two countries. This is because the sea around Kachativu is rich in prawns, and attracts fishermen from Rameswaram. 1974 agreement expressly protected the "traditional rights" of Indian fishermen to visit Kachativu and the right of pilgrims to take part in the St. Anthony's festival there. Article 5 of the agreement states: "... Indian fishermen and pilgrims will enjoy access to visit Kachativu as hitherto, and will not be required by Sri Lanka to obtain travel documents or visas for these purposes." Article 6 says, "The vessels of India and Sri Lanka will enjoy in each other's waters such rights as they have traditionally enjoyed therein"

However, Indian fishermen have been fired at and killed many times by Sri Lankan navy.

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court requesting that the Central government be directed to retake control of Katchatheevu island, which was ceded to Sri Lanka by India through treaties concluded between the two neighbours in 1974 and 1976.

Two issues are involved here: whether an order issued by Supreme Court will be binding on Sri Lanka; status under international law (which governs territorial disputes between states) of any claim that Tamil Nadu may persuade the Centre to make.

The petitioners have argued that ceding of Indian territory requires amendment of the Constitution by Parliament. This is correct as a matter of Indian law. The territory of India is defined in Article 1(2) of the Constitution read with First Schedule to the Constitution. Entry 7 in Schedule-1 defines the territorial extent of the State of Tamil Nadu. Thus, alienation of any part of the territory of Tamil Nadu, to be valid in Indian law, requires an amendment of the first Schedule to the Constitution. This position was clarified by the Supreme Court of India in Berubari Union case (I960). A treaty entered into by India ceding Indian territory to a foreign power is without effect in Indian law unless Parliament chooses to give effect to the same through an amendment to the Constitution.

The treaties of 1974 and 1976 establish a boundary line between India and Sri Lanka. Katchatheevu falls on the Sri Lankan side of this line. No legislation or amendment to the Constitution has been passed by Parliament of India to give effect to the treaties. In light of the above position, the treaties, so far as they concern Katchatheevu, are without effect in Indian law if Katchatheevu is included in the territory of India as defined in the First Schedule to the Constitution. Since Katchatheevu is not expressly mentioned in the First Schedule, the Supreme Court will have to enquire, based on the available facts, whether immediately before the commencement of the Constitution, the island was a part of the Province of Madras . For that under Art. 143, the President of India may seek the opinion, of the apex court.

Even if the Gourt were to find that Katchatheevu forms a part of the territory t>f Tamil Nadu and that it has been ceded to Sri Lanka illegally, this ruling will have no binding effect on Sri Lanka, which is in control of the island. As a sovereign state, Sri Lanka Is* immune from the jurisdiction of Indian courts. Hence, the Supreme Court can merely make a declaration on the historical illegality of the cession. Can the court then direct the Central government to retake possession of the island? While there may not be express constitutional limitations on the power of the court to direct the government to retake Katchatheevu (or any other territory considered in Indian law to be part of India), considering that the Government of India cannot retake territory possessed by another sovereign state without unilateral forceful action, the court is likely to exercise restraint in this regard. Judiciary does not dictate foreign policy.

If the Government of India chooses to entertain Tamil Nadu’s demand and raise the issue with Sri Lanka, the question of title to the island will need to be determined under international law between the two States.

As mentioned above, as per the treaties of 1974 and 1976, Katchatheevu would fall within the sovereign territory of Sri Lanka. Both the treaties state that they are subject to ratification. It may be argued that ‘ratification’ of a treaty ceding territory occurs, as a matter of Indian law, when Parliament amends the Constitution to give effect to the treaty. But the normal process of ratification is done by the Union cabinet. Under Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969, a state may pot invoke domestic law to avoid treaty obligations. International Court of Justice holds that non-, compliance with a ratification requirement in domestic law does not invalidate a treaty.

Prior to the conclusion of the two treaties, both Sri Lanka and India claimed sovereignty over the island. However, after 1974, India has not asserted its claims while Sri Lanka has continuously maintained control of the island. Such silence of one of the disputing parties in a territorial dispute has been construed as an abandonment of its claim in favour of the other party in several cases.

In sum, regaining control over the Katchatheevu island does not appear to be a realistic possibility both from an Indian law point of view as well as an international law angle. While Tamil Nadu’s concerns relating to the alleged harassment of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, which forms the context of the State’s renewed claims over Katchatheevu, need to be addressed, more feasible alternative solutions should be explored for the same.

(Substantially borrowed from the Hindu article)

India-Bangiadesh LBA:Constitution Amendment(119th) Bill 2013

The Indo-Bangladesh enclaves, also known as the chitmohols are the enclaves along the Bangladesh-India border, in Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal.In September 2011, the Prime Ministers of the two countries (Manmohan Singh of India and Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh) signed an accord on border demarcation and exchange of adversely held enclaves; however, the Indian parliament has yet to ratify it. Under this intended agreement, the enclave residents could continue to reside at their present location or move to the country of their choice.

119lh Amendment Bill to the Constitution relates to amending the Constitution to give effect to the 1974 lndia-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA); the protocol for this was agreed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in September 2011. If the CAB 119 is passed by the Parliament, would implement the LBA and fully demarcate the 4,100 km India-Bangladesh land border. Operationalising the LBA would also resolve the issue of enclaves and adverse possessions. Currently, India possesses 111 enclaves within Bangladesh, while the latter possesses 51 enclaves within Indian territory. Neither country can exercise jurisdiction over its enclaves due to geographical constraints. This leaves the 51,000 enclave residents virtually stateless. Devoid of any infrastructure - no access to schools or even police stations - in the enclaves, they lead a pitiable existence, running from pillar to post for even the most basic of amenities. This in turn has converted the enclaves into hubs of criminal activities ranging from smuggling to human trafficking. If the LBA comes into effect, it would lead to a exchange of the enclaves, ending the hardships of the enclave dwellers. However, despite the LBA having been ratified in Bangladesh, Indian parliament could not amend the Constitution so far.

Opposition to the deal is based on the fact that since the exchange of enclaves involves India ceding 17,149 acres of its territory to Dhaka in return for 7,110 acres, India would lose a few thousand acres.

However, large part of the land that India would be giving up has been lying fallow for decades. Besides the writ of the Indian state does not run in these landlocked enclaves. Hence, the so called loss in land area is symbolic but enhances security of Indians.

The document Union And Its Territory - Indian Polity and Governance Notes | Study Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters.
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