Why division of UP is the only option to improve governance in the state
Opinion

Why division of UP is the only option to improve governance in the state

In 2011, then UP Chief Minister, Mayawati had passed a resolution in the Assembly to split the states into four smaller states, namely, Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh and Paschim Pradesh to provide better administration. The resolution later got stuck with the Congress government at the centre. The state of Uttar Pradesh has reported the highest number of communal incidents for three years. While 155 incidents took place in 2015, the number was 162 the following year and situation got worse in 2017 when 195 incidents were recorded. Another depressing fact is that on an average eight women are raped and 30 abducted every day in UP. The data shared by the Ministry of Home Affairs show the state to be failing on crucial benchmarks for the safety of citizens. Also, According to the National Human Rights Commission, in the 10-month period, after Adityanath took over power with a thumping majority, Uttar Pradesh topped the list of states of fake encounters and custodial deaths. As far as UP’s growth is concerned, the state lags behind in terms of economic development. The state’s social development indicators are equally disappointing. A 2013 study by the Reserve Bank of India revealed that with a total of 29.43 per cent of its population in the Below Poverty Line category. According to the 2011 Census, on an average, only 27.3 per cent people in UP have access to tap water. In its Election Manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha, the also BJP also highlighted upon the recognition of regional aspirations. In the section titled ‘Strengthen the Framework’, the party emphasised on greater decentralisation through smaller states.

Minimum States Maximum Governance

Yogi Adityanath governs more number of people than several heads of states and governments of other countries. Out of the 19 fake encounters recorded during this 10-month period UP again leads with six deaths. Incidentally, in Jammu and Kashmir, there was only one fake encounter registered. Naxal-affected Jharkhand recorded only one such case. Rajasthan recorded three and Punjab two cases of fake encounters. In criminal cases too UP topped. Of the over 30,000 murders registered in the country in 2016, UP had 4,889 cases. The size of a state is inversely proportional to better governance. Many states in India are performing better than the bigger ones, for instance, Goa, Sikkim, Kerala, Mizoram, Puducherry (UT), and Telangana because they have more targeted governance. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in our country and had it been a separate country, it would probably be the 6th most populous country in the world. The population of Uttar Pradesh is more than the population of our neighbours Pakistan and Bangladesh. The division of Uttar Pradesh would result in four governments who would formulate policies for five crore people each, instead of the existing single government which fails to govern 20 crore people. By simple maths, there will be more efficiency in the administration and less pressure of performance on the governance.

Proximity To The State Capital

The access to the capital of the state should be easy from around any corner of the state. In Uttar Pradesh, the distance between Lucknow and Nepal’s capital Kathmandu is less than the distance between Lucknow and Saharanpur district. In a small state, the local issues are given more importance whereas in a larger state, the same problems could be brushed aside as a trivial issue pertaining only to a small area or certain districts. The creation of new states will also result in the creation of new capital cities which will give rise to investments being poured into that city and also the accessibility of people to their respective district headquarters will not be a tedious task. UP’s Bareilly recorded the highest number of custodial death at 25, followed by Agra (21) and Allahabad (19). While PM’s constituency Varanasi recorded nine judicial deaths, Chief Minister’s constituency Gorakhpur recorded two deaths. Communally sensitive Kasganj reported five deaths in judicial custody. It is a known fact that the capital city is where the people of the state go to air their grievances as all major government offices, judicial houses like state high courts and political quarters are housed there. A new state would more often than not, mean a closer capital city and thus provide relief to the people. But if a citizen in UP’s Saharanpur is to be heard in any of the state commissions or courts, he has to travel over 700 km to Lucknow, spending large amounts of money in an attempt to get justice. Thus, reduced distances between the state capital and peripheral areas would improve the quality of governance and administrative responsiveness. Administrative reform through decentralisation would further help bring in accountability of the political establishment to its citizens.

Emergence of New Politics In The States

If given a smaller state to manage, our political leaders would provide their respective jurisdictions with better administration. Areas in the original state that were ignored would now be considered, and be given access to better development. In a huge state like UP, the allocation of funds by the centre can never be evenly distributed and some districts stand to lose and remain backward, while the part which holds maximum political affiliate develops. Also, every political party has its own concentrated vote banks. If certain political parties have a better grip, for whatever reasons, over certain districts, then they can come in power in a smaller state, while forming the government in the existing Uttar Pradesh might be a far-fetched dream. Also, many new local parties will contest in elections which will be a healthy sign for democracy. Usually, when new states are being created, and if a majority of the people in the new state belong to a particular language or religion or caste, it will not lead to unrest situations or the minorities feeling left out or migrating to other states. Uttar Pradesh does not have a uniform culture. The culture of Western is a difference from Bhojpuri Culture in east or Bundelkhandi in south or Awadhi in the Centre but the Hindi language binds all the communities together. Many people assume that Mayawati was the first to propose the division up of UP into four smaller administrative units. However, in 1955, Dr BR Ambedkar proposed the idea of splitting UP into three states – through his book, ‘Thoughts On Linguistic States’. He emphasised on the creation of three states, with Meerut as the capital of the Western Region, Allahabad as the capital of the Eastern Region and Kanpur as the capital of the Central region. Dr Ambedkar on splitting UP into 3 states had said,“Each of these three States should have a population of approximately two crores which should be regarded as the standard size of population for a State to administer effectively”. This is precisely what the BSP supremo had in mind while proposing the division in 2011. However, Mayawati lost power in 2012 and ended up with just 80 seats against 206 seats in 2007, her demand lost momentum and the division of Uttar Pradesh surprisingly finds no mention in manifestos of other parties or in speeches made by their leaders during 2017 elections.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The writer is a student of Christ University, he tweets at @VivashwanSingh

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