How far the demand for greater state autonomy has impacted the unity and integrity of our nation? Give examples.
The demand for more autonomy is one of the most controversial issues of the Indian federalism, although our constitution envisages division of powers between state and central government, under 7th schedule. Our founding fathers created a very powerful centre due to many compelling reasons.
TYPES OF DEMANDS FOR STATE AUTONOMY
- Demand for regional autonomy within the State: People belonging to various regions have demanded recognition of their regional identities. Genesis of such demand lies in regional imbalances resulting from inefficient planning. Example: Ladakhis in J&K
- Demand for Autonomy for State: Since the 1960s, with the emergence of regional parties, the demand for state autonomy has been gaining more and more strength due to central political interference. In punjab the Akali Dal, in Tamilnadu the DMK, National conference in J&K have been continuously demanding a larger share of powers for the states
- Demand for Full Statehood: The union territories have been putting forward such demands like NCT of Delhi. Most of such demands have already been accepted Example: Himachal Pradesh 1971 etc.
- Secessionism: It involves militant and fundamentalists groups advocating separation from india on the basis of ethnicity or any other factors. Example: Isac Muivah NSCN in Nagaland.
REASONS BEHIND GROWING DEMAND OF STATE AUTONOMY
1. Political: CSS (Central Sector Schemes) are not quite successful and popular among states. The extent of the need of MNREGA varies across states.
- Demand of changing some of the items in the concurrent list to state list.
- Misuse of post of Governor by centre. Example: Uttarakhand case ‘16
2. Economic: States have no much say in financial devolution and pressure of globalisation pressing for more autonomy for states
3. Administrative: States wants larger share in deciding the governors/administrators Example: kejriwal-jung issue.
IMPACT ON NATIONAL UNITY AND INTEGRITY
- India witnessed rise of regional parties. Example: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha for pressing separation of Jharkhand from Bihar.
- Linguistic reorganization: These decades witnessed intense mass mobilisation, often taking violent character for demanding statehood. Example: Potti Sri Ramallu death This resulted into formation of State Reorganisation Committee, which recommended reorganization on linguistic basis.
- Tribal insurgency: This period witnessed intensification of tribal insurgency for separation and statehood. As a result, government passed North Eastern States Reorganisation Act. It upgraded UTs of Manipur and Tripura, the sub state of Meghalaya to full statehood.
- Creations of separate states: The demand led to vigorous movements for creations of separate states due to rising sense of regional deprivations. It resulted in formation of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and Chhattisgarh.
- Secessionist tendencies: The demands led to secessionist tendencies in Punjab as Khalistan movement. This was followed by disturbances in Jammu and Kashmir. Farooq abdullah, CM of J&K, pitched for greater autonomy.
- In many instances, granting statehood and autonomy produced positive results. Example: Autonomy in North East suppressed secessionist tendencies.
- Greater autonomy paved the way for improved cooperative federalism in India and in turn economic progress. Example: Punjab and Haryana.
The state autonomy is essential for the governance of states, since state governments are closer to the people and only when they acquire it, they would be able to serve the people in a manner envisaged. At the same time, it must be ensured that, unity and integrity of our country remains succinct.