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Saturday, February 13, 2010

తెలంగాణా కలలకు సాకారం - ఈ దశాబ్ది

The midnight announcement by our home minister has invigorated the dormant demands for new states, till now strangled by the callous attitude of various governments at the centre and the state. The debate this time is fresh, once again but with a foregone topic in the sight. Is Telangana a big answer to our developmental bottlenecks? The answer, beyond reasonable doubts is in affirmative. As we paddle through the aisle of Telangana’s marriage with Andhra Pradesh and their palpable divorce, the latter undoubtedly seems to be having the decisive edge. Bigger is not always better. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar are the three biggest states of our country (on a combined index of population and area) and these unfailingly have topped the most undesired charts on developmental fronts. Bihar in a 2005 study was proved to be the most corrupt state, Madhya Pradesh holds the record for the most number of malnourished children and Uttar Pradesh, as confessed by its chief minister herself has become highly unmanageable. Legitimate socio-economic grievances can and have taken problematical political forms. Decades of neglect and denial of opportunities, especially in education and employment, have left the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh underdeveloped and backward. The inexorable reality is that the region broadly fabricated by former princely states under the kingdom of Hyderabad has unfailingly fallen behind Rayalseema and Andhra Pradesh in development indices. The first major reorganization of Indian states took place in 1956, when our population was around 350 million which now has swollen by around 3.5 times to over 1 billion. It simply means larger number of people to take care of. The time now has come for another reconnaissance at our internal borders for an efficient management of brimming human resources. Small states can be an answer to the naxalism and majority of the other civil anti-government and nihilist movements, the root cause of which have been the failure of government to address their basic needs, leave alone the progressive issues. When the number of people governed under an administration is less and controllable, it can be definitely expected that at least a small part of the money released under the various schemes would flow to the bottom of the society. Haryana for example was carved out of Punjab in 1966 and today is one of the most prosperous states in our country excelling quintessentially in all the three sectors of manufacturing-primary (agriculture), secondary (industries) and tertiary (services). Kerala, down south, for example is the most literate and the least corrupt state in India. Goa on the western coast is one of the most efficiently managed states and is a honey for the tourist bees from all over the globe. Chandigarh being a Union Territory is scoring high on economical and social aspects because of the small size of area and population its administrators have to manage.

Regional discrimination is congenial to this generation Telanganites, entirely contrary to what they had been assured in the Gentleman’s agreement of 1956 signed before the formation of present day Andhra Pradesh. 9 out of the 10 districts in this region have been recognized by our government as backward regions and that too during an era when Andhra Pradesh as a state is travelling great guns in economic spheres with being the fourth largest Indian state in terms of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and possessing IT exports of over Rs.190, 000 millions, and yet, Telangana unwillingly fails to taste the ripening fruit. Despite controlling headwaters of Krishna and Godavari, the two major rivers of south within its geographical ambit, over 70 % of Telangana’s cultivable land, due to lack of irrigational facilities coupled of course with rural hinterlands on the Deccan plateau, suffers from drought every single year abetting ever increasing farmer suicides. Para 382 of the States Reorganization Committee, in fact, gave inhabitants of Telangana the right to decide about their own future when the public opinion got crystallized. Hyderabad seems to be suffering the most due to the political turmoil that has tarnished its image as the IT capital and pharmaceutical hub of the country with the net losses of over Rs.500 crores since 9th December, 2009. The only solution to shield the city of pearls from the inevitable political tsunami that has hit the region can be on the lines of the impeccable model adopted for Chandigarh, when Haryana was carved out of Punjab. Hyderabad should be made a Union Territory while declaring it as capital of both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and then giving ample time to the former for nurturing one of its potential cities to serve as a future capital. Geography, no doubt plays a restraining factor, but our constitution has provisions for this. Hyderabad, this way will fall away from the realm of regional disturbances to continue its trajectory of unabated growth and development. Congress, in fact, in its manifesto of these general elections had a provision for the formation of Telangana and the people have conveyed their verdict conspicuously through ballots. Now, it is the time to live by the promises made as long as five decades ago. The population of our country is more than 1 billion and our federal structure consists of 28 states (as of now) and seven union territories, which means an effective around 28.5 million people under one administration. Isn’t this too much to control, manage, nurture and develop? The base of our spiralling problems, which share an inextricable relationship with each other, is indeed our overpopulation. The best step forward is a complete metamorphosis from a population liability to a population asset which can be achieved by none other than its efficacious management, by catering to their problems and by an inclusive walk towards the spheres of development. Telangana is just a pragmatic example. The process no doubt has its own complications, but then utopia is existent only in dreams.

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