Small States

The formation of three small States in 2000, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand nourished hopes that democracy would be deepened. Do you think democracy has deepened in these states and these states have fulfilled the objectives behind their formation? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The formation of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand after years of struggle against injustice and exploitation had nourished hopes of democracy, but these were belied because:
  • Representatives of these regions colluded with national parties prioritising identity politics over the appeals and struggles for justice of its own people.
  • Tribal, SCs AND STs have been victims of exploitation, discrimination, forceful evictions, denial of rights and land grabbing even after formation of autonomous states.
  • The Forest rights act 2006,PESA act, 5TH schedule provisions, land reform acts, redistribution and decentralisation initiatives empowering Gram Sabha have been only partially implemented.
  • Also the real empowerment comes from devolution of power to local bodies, which has not happened.
  • The parties in parent state and the issues thereof still have a large bearing on domestic politics
  • Often Tribe Advisory Council and Gram Sabhas are not in consonance over issues like resources
  • There are vested interests in keeping the people illiterate, unemployed etc. as most of these regions are minerals rich and many big corporates eye these regions.
  • Many welfare schemes not properly implemented due to distance and awareness reasons. Tribal are not aware of their Constitutional rights
Were objectives achieved?
  • The states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are mineral and resource regions. despite this both regions suffer from acute poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and unemployment.
  • This is because locals don’t get due share in licensing, mining, royalty and profits
  • Political instability, immoral defections(e.g. -in Uttarakhand),vested interests(e.g.-coal scam), horse-trading and repeated on-off President’s rule(e.g.- in Jharkhand) prevents continuity and predictability in policies adversely affecting citizen welfare.
  • Persistent LWE, thereafter CRPFs operation and then retaliation have left state citizenry in a crossfire and a constant spinoff
To create more decentralisation and deepening of democracy, the empowerment of local bodies is required which is not comprehensive. For example State Finance Commission is irregular. Mining rights and corruption of government officials have often clashed. Large displacement of people happens and land reforms are poor and so are all socio-economic parameters
Thus we need to take multiple measures to ensure grass-roots democracy, rights and entitlements for the poor in these regions if we want an assured and peaceful development of the region



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