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Does a Telangana state make sense?
Telengana Rashtra Samiti chief Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao is currently on a 'fast unto death' over the demand to grant statehood to Telengana. The 'fight' for a separate Telangana state is around 40 years old now.
One of the main arguments quoted by those in favour of creating a new state is the fact that 'fruits of development' haven't even reached their areas. The rest of the state enjoys the benefits while they are poor, unemployed, landless and humiliated. With huge states, and a pathetic governance & administration system, it is but natural that some people and areas benefit at the cost of others. But if the newly created state was too small, then it loses out on the benefits that economy of scale provides. Overall cultivable land, land available for industries, resources such as electricity & water etc. may not be sufficient & efficient enough given the smaller scale. In addition, higher administrative overheads (government staff, for example) could drag down efficiency even further.
Overall, most state capitals in India are located almost near the borders. See this political map. Srinagar, Jammu, Shimla, Dehradun, Gangtok, Itanagar, Dispur, Kohima, Agartala, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Mumbai, Panaji, Bangalore, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram. Sometimes it is a function of the central parts of the state being uninhabitable. Sometimes it is due to historical and legacy reasons. But the fact does remain that the centre of administration in most states is far away (geographically and metaphorically) from the bulk of the people.
I compared the populations and number of MLAs for a few Indian states (high population, medium-sized population and low population) and the results indicate that a population per MLA ratio of around 2 lakhs to 3 lakhs is an acceptable number. States with values below 2 lakhs tend to be really tiny, and have less than 100 MLAs thereby increasing the risk of unstable governments. All the data is sourced from Wikipedia articles.
Notice that the north-east states (except Assam) prominently have very small ratios, and ridiculously small legislative assemblies. Yet, given they are all culturally so different from each other, it would not make any sense to consider them as one big unit.
Now lets consider the Telangana demand. It is claimed that the population of a new Telangana state would be around 30 million (3 crores). So it would come into the 'mid-sized state' category, similar to Kerala, Orissa, etc. In itself, that means it won't be a tiny dot on the map. But there's also a need to have a functioning legislature and a stable government. Will that be possible, especially given how K Chandrashekar Rao, even when in power, launches agitations at the drop of a hat, especially if it seems like his popularity is waning?
If Telangana (land of the Telugus) was created as an outcome of a fast, it would perhaps be an ironical (or apt, perhaps?) situation for Andhra Pradesh and an apt tribute to Potti Sreeramulu, whose death (in Dec 1952) after a fast resulted in AP being created out of the Madras Presidency in 1953.
What next? Syed Ali Geelani going on a fast demanding Kashmir as a separate state? What about Vidarbha? Who will volunteer for that fast? Random farmers or P Sainath?
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