Demand for the creation of new states has been a chronic feature of the Indian polity since the inception of the republic. Such agitations are typically based on claims of neglect or discrimination meted out to certain sections by the Central or State governments. Since long the issue of separate Vidarbha had been publicly debated, with invariably with every political party voicing for the same, the demand has reached its zenith. However, the question is whether smaller states are better governed than bigger ones? In our experience, both large and small states continue to be badly governed until there is effective devolution of funds, functions and functionaries to local authorities, that is, elected panchayats in villages and urban local bodies in cities.
For governance is not merely a question of how to deal with a neighbouring country or how to tackle Naxalism. It is more a question of good quality of living, of providing basic services of education, good health facilities, drinking water, employment and other basic requirements. In our race to accelerate growth, we have concentrated entirely on economic reforms to the total neglect of delivery of public good and services to the people at large.
Farzana Z Khan