Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Need for more states: Factors behind Development

This is a topic very close to my heart. It always has been a hot topic of discussion, which has invoked great debates. There has been always 2 forces one which wants more states, while other who want consolidation of the states.  Does formation of more states mean danger or does it mean more opportunities. To assess this we need to understand what might be the reasons. What are the factors that helps a state to progress much ahead than the others. 

India is a land of contrasts. On one hand we have states like Kerala where the HDI Factor which could rival many better countries and on the other side we have states like UP which have people living in worse conditions than even Sub Saharan Nations!!! Then there is a category of states known as BIMARU states, Bimar in Hindi means sick. The BIMARU states constitute 174 out of 545 Lok Sabha’s seat (Lower House), which is 32% of the total seats! And almost all PM’s came from these states and these are one of the bigger states in India yet these surprisingly are the most backward.  

India is considered a global success story and imagine that people living here in conditions which are worse than even the worst of the countries worldwide. Why it is so that a country considered on right path has such conditions, has such drastic contrasts

People say that smaller states have performed better than bigger states but then critics have pointed out that bigger states like Maharashtra have done better while smaller states many of them in North East are struggling. Critics have also pointed out that smaller states could mean a drive towards Balkanisation of the country. This is a very important question that cannot be generalized and we have to go into detail to understand the topic. 

Firstly to start with there have been certain pointers that point to chance of success be more than others
1.    Homogenous Culture
When a state consists of a homogenous culture then broadly it helps to get the political leader over his vs. our culture. The population is less concerned about their culture being in danger and more focus goes towards development. This mean governance not culture get’s precedence. This can be seen in the new state of Uttarakhand or now cut state of Bihar could get over the fight of Hill men vs. Plain people or Tribal vs. Non Tribal. Not taking credit away from Nitish Kumar, but a homogenous factor of Bihar coming out has surely helped him. 

People will now question by that logic demand for Telegana should have never come. Well to answer that kindly go through the points stated below

2.    Management Range of Population
Whenever a manager has to form a team which should small enough so that it can be managed well and big enough that it should have the ability to keep ideating and keep coming with new ideas. If he goes beyond that range the team will not be effective. 

In a similar way the state is also like a team which effectively implement the policies of the government. This team on a political scale is represented by MP’s and on a bureaucratic level represent by the District Collector’s. Studies have shown that this size should be limited between 5 to 22-23 members. The states which are below will be stagnated on the ideating power and lose the scale to maximize itself, while a state with huge team simply will not be humanely possible to manage.

Many of the states which have done better on HDI index fall in this range like Punjab, Haryana, and Uttarakhand. However there are many cases which fall in the range and are not doing good and some which are beyond that and doing better than others. Why so because there are some other factors also

3.    Size of State
Like Population of the state has an effect on how effective the management will be, similarly area also has a major impact. Imagine 2 people managing specific area as collectors. One has a huge area of 15000 Sq Km and another has just 1000 Sq Km. Taking the areas as circle (Which will never be such a case. We all know how the District’s are), the first one will have end to end distance of atleast 140 Km while second one as 36 Km. This means that the first collector for the same work would travel atleast 3 Hrs while First Collector will be sipping coffee.

I am not suggesting that all states should have equal area, but what I am suggesting in that if a state has a wide geographical spread then it will somewhere have an impact on the development activities and hence super area states would need to be trimmed. However if the state is small in area then it means that it will lack in resources in taking up big projects. The plausible range of State according to me would range from 35000 Sq Km to around 105000 Sq Km. This number has been derived from a guestimate based on experience I gained while going to so many places across the country thanks to my job, data collected from present states and some level of guess.

4.    Capital as Focal Centres
Every state has a capital. The capital will always have government offices and a level on government investment in that city. This leads to many other people being indirectly involved with the capital. In most of the states the development is around the capital cities, like Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and many more. These capitals turn out as focal points of development and mostly any other city comes up. (If you are thinking about Pune or Mysore remember they come in the focal range of the capital as they are just 3-4 Hrs away). 

When a state is bigger in area then the far flung regions will be left out of the range of the focal points. This can be seen in many of the bigger states like the advanced states like Maharashtra & Gujarat where areas like Vidarbha, Marathwada in the first state and Saurashtra & Kutch in the later. Infact Vidarbha and Saurashtra can be compared to the most backward of the area across the country. The same case can be seen in other states like North Karnataka (Kar), Telegana & Rayalseema (AP), Coimbatore Region (TN).

When we put the states of India on the 3 factors of Homogeneity, MP’s (Effective Team Management) & Area of the states, and give points to the states, the states with all 3 in the right zone are one of the most progressive states. Infact if we see the development and the above factor there is a high Correlation factor of 0.59.A 0.50 factor is a very strong case presenting that these 3 factors have a very strong influence besides other local factors like leadership, culture orientation. A state will have more chance of progress if it has the 3 factors rather than not having them. Having said that no one can mitigate the requirement of a strong and direction CM

The table below shows the status of every state on the 3 parameters and also shows the progress. The progress is measured as a factor of HDI of state, uniformity of development, growth rate of economy & level of services and industry. The last factor is important as if a state like many in North East is good in HDI, but lack in it, it can lead to a case of unemployment and can force people to migrate and bring discontent. It is due to lack of uniform development that many so called progressive states like Guj, Mah, Kar, TN etc have been put in the average zone.

Comparing the 3 factors with the progress made by states shows a high correlation factor of 0.59

As from the table we can easily see that all the states with 3 Pts  have high progress. Uttarakhand which is in average zone was few years ago in Bad zone and has rapidly gone into average zone and within a few years will go into the good zone as it is one of the fastest growing states.

Hence it is high time that we bring about a Second State Reorganization Committee which needs to completely redraw the internal map based of these factors so that we can accelerate the development of India

In the next part of my article I will look into the various concerns and myths that are associated with forming many states in India. To read the article click here Need for more States: Myths in making new states

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