- Regionalism, a political ideology that focuses on the interests of a particular region or group of regions. Regionalism seeks to the political attributes associated with people’s love for their region, culture, language, etc, with a view to maintain their independent identity.
- Further, Regionalism is a political movement that seeks to advance regional cause of development. As a process it plays role within the nation as well as at international level.
- Both types of regionalism have different meanings and have positive as well as negative impact on society, polity, diplomacy, economy, security, culture, development, negotiations, etc.
- The meaning of the term of regionalism at national level refers to a process in which sub-state factors become increasingly powerful.
- Besides, Regionalism means strong attachment to a particular region or a state as against the country as a whole. This feeling arises either due to the continuous neglect of a particular area or because the people of a particular region become politically aware and seek to fight against perceived discrimination.
- Flence, Regionalism leads to amplifying a region’s influence and magnifying its political prowess through pacifistic ways such as devolution and decentralization as well as more aggressive means like separatism or even a struggle for independence. For example, demand for separate state as Telangana, Gorkha territorial Administration, Vidarbha region, Bundelkhand region in UP and even early demand for separate states on linguistic basis.
- Iqbal Narain has identified three major types of regionalism in India.
- Supra-State Regionalism: It is built around the issues of common interest in which group of states form a common political alliance, directed against either the similar alliance of other states or the union. It is issue specific. Dravidian movement in southern states is an example.
- Inter State Regionalism: It is co-terminus with state boundaries and involves juxtaposing of on or more state identities against another or specific issues, which threaten their interest. River water in general and border dispute in particular are its manifestations. It is evident from conflict between Karnatka and Tamil Nadu over sharing of Cauvery water, or border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka.
- Intra-State Regionalism: In this, a regional community is against the state in which they are situated. It aimed at assuring oneself of self-identity and selfdevelopment. E.g Khalistan movement.
Regionalism has remained perhaps the most potent force in Indian politics ever since independence (1947), if not before. It has remained the main basis of many regional political parties which have governed many states since the late 1960s.
Three clear patterns can be identified in the post independence phases of accommodation of regional identity through statehood.
- In the 1950s and 1960s, intense (ethnic) mass mobilization, often taking on a violent character, was the main force behind the state’s response with an institutional package for statehood. Andhra Pradesh in India’s south showed the way. The fast unto death in 1952 of the legendary (Telugu) leader Potti Sriramulu for a state for the Telegu-speakers out of the composite Madras Presidency moved an otherwise reluctant Jawaharlal Nehru, a top nationalist leader and it was followed by State reorganization commission under Fazl Ali paving way for State Reorganization Act, 1956.
- In the 1970s and 1980s, the main focus of reorganization was India’s North-east. The basis of reorganization was tribal insurgency for separation and statehood. The main institutional response of the Union government was the North-eastern States Reorganisation Act, 1971 which upgraded the Union Territories of Manipur and Tripura, and the Sub-State of Meghalaya to full statehood, and Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh (then Tribal Districts) to Union Territories. The latter became states in 1986. Goa (based on Konkani language (8th Schedule)), which became a state in 1987, was the sole exception.
- The movements for the three new states (created in 2000) – Chhattisgarh out of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand out of Bihar and Uttaranchal out of Uttar Pradesh – were long-drawn but became vigorous in the 1990s. And the most recent one, we can see with the division of Andhra Pradesh, giving a separate Telangana, which started in 1950s.
Causes of Regionalism
Historical and Cultural
- The factor of history buttresses regionalism by way of cultural heritage, folk lore, myths and symbolism. The historical-forces act as catalytic agents in fostering regional awareness at the inter-regional as well as intraregional levels, particularly because of the shared sociocultural experiences and memories of a common past.
- People of a particular cultural group also derive inspirations from the noble deeds and glorious achievements of the local heroes.
- The cultural forces operating through the gamut of customs, traditional ways and mannerisms, values and various institutional complexes; social, economic and religious have helped reinforce the historical memories and have determined the distinctive forms of mental sets and behavioural pattern of different regional groups.
In recent times, unwanted migration has led to imbalance in the demography of a region. This has disturbed the basic economic activities, ethnic identity of the natives. This can be witnessed in the recent protest in Assam against illegal migrants from Bangladesh by asserting their own Assames identities.
- Economics play a predominant role in shaping the regionalism of a country. India is economically underdeveloped in spite of the many achievements registered since independence. The resources are scarce and demands are disproportionately heavy and ever growing on account of continued population explosion. The scarcity of technical know-how, corruption, deteriorating law and order situation have created a dismal mosaic of politico-economic life in the nation.
- Economically, regionalism is the outcome of some real or perceived sense of internal colonialism, the result of maldevelopment or asymmetrical development. Regionalism is the response to unequal sharing of benefits of developmental activity.
Reasons for Regional Disparity
- Low Rate of Economic Growth: The economic growth of India has been fluctuating since independence. But with respect to High population growth, the economic growth has not been enough to catch the development with full speed.
- Socio-economic and Political Organisation of States: The states have been unable to do the adequate land reforms and the feudal mentality still persists. Bhoodan and Gramdaan movements, after independence, were not enthusiastically carried out and even land under ‘Land Banks’ were not efficiently distributed. The political activities in the backward states were limited to vote bank politics and scams ruined the process further.
- Inadequate Infrastructural Facilities in Backward States: The level of infrastructural development, such as: power distribution, irrigation facilities, roads, modern markets for agricultural produce has been at back stage. All these are state list subjects.
- Inadequate Social Expenditure by States on Education, Health and Sanitation: These subjects are core for human resource development. The states which have invested heavily on these subjects not surprisingly are the developed states. For example, Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc. where health care services in Primary health centre has become a bench mark for other states.
- Political and Administration Failure: This is a source of tension and gives birth to sub-regional movements for separate states. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and recently Telangana are result of these failures only. Many such demands are in pipeline such as- Vidarbha, Saurashtra, Darjeeling and Bodoland, etc. These failures also weaken the confidence of private players and do not attract investors in the states.
- Assertion by setter off better States: Some times better developed regions protest against the diversion of their resources to the under-developed region, e.g demand of Harit Pradesh by the area benefitted by Green Revolution
Sons of the Soil Doctrine
‘Son of the soil’ doctrine explains a form of regionalism, which is in discussion since 1950. According to it, a state specifically belongs to the main linguistic group inhabiting it or that the state constitutes the exclusive homeland of its main language speakers, who are the sons of the soil or local residents.
There remains a competition for job between migrant and local educated middle class youth. This theory works mostly in cities, because here outsiders also, get opportunity for education, health, job etc.
In such theories, major involvement of people is due to rising aspiration vis-a-vis better resource access, quality of life.
Economy’s failure to create enough employment opportunity underscores son of soils doctrines and also fuels the discontenment
Language is a strong cultural force that holds and defines unity and diversity of a nation. Linguistic homogeneity strengthens regionalism both in positive and negative senses, In the former in terms of strength in unity and in the latter through emotional frenzy.
Linguistic Reorganization of States
- The early voice of regionalism came on account of language that is why the State Reorganization Commission in 1950s recommended formation of states based on language.
- It was the demand of Potti Sriramulu, a freedom fighter and a devoted follower of Mahatma Gandhi, that led to the creation of Andhra Pradesh state and linguistic recognition of the states in India.
- Sriramulu’s death forced Jawaharlal Nehru to agree to the various demands from other parts of the country with similar demands. Consequently, in 1954, a States Reorganisation Committee was formed with Fazal Ali as its head, which recommended the formation of 16 new states and 3 Union Territories based on language.
- However, intra-state regionalism circumvents the bond of common language where economic grievances of a subregion takes precedence over language.
The territorial orientation based on geographical boundaries relate to the inhabitants of a particular region which are symbolic, at least in the Indian context. This is more so because of the linguistic distribution along geographical boundaries. The topographic and climatic variations along with differences in the settlement pattern induce in people the concept of regionalism.
Regions Rather than States: A Cultural Unit
- This aspect can be seen in terms of broader meaning of culture transcending singular aspect of language. States demarcated on linguistic lines or on development lines may have cross border cultural resemblances. State is a construct out of political consideration and need not always be a cultural construct.
- The conflict in the North east is the manifestation of this aspect. The regular voice of ‘Great Nagalim’ reflects the very need of cultural connect across the states spreading in nearby states.
- The meaning of culture itself is amorphous amalgamating multiple aspects of cuisine, customs, beliefs, costumes etc. This lents a porous nature to the state which can be exploited for political gains.
- Political parties, especially the regional political parties as well as local leaders, exploit the regional sentiments, regional deprivation and convert them to solidify their factional support bases. They give place to the regional problems in their election manifesto and vouch for political and regional development.
- Some major political movement and Incidents reflecting Regionalism are described here under…..
Demand for Dravida Nadu
- Going back to the journey of Regionalism in India, it is noticeable that it emerged with Dravidian Movement, which started in Tamil Nadu in 1925. This movement, also known as ‘Self-Respect Movement’ initially focused on empowering Dalits, non-Brahmins, and poor people.
- Later it stood against imposition of Hindi as sole official language on non-Hindi speaking areas. But it was the demand of carving out their own Dravidistan or Dravida Nadu, which made it a secessionist movement. As early as 1960s the DMK proposed that the states of Madras, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Mysore should secede from the Indian union and form an independent ‘Republic of Dravida Nadu’.
- In the years after the formation of Andhra Pradesh, people of Telangana expressed dissatisfaction over howthe agreements and guarantees were implemented.
- Discontent with the 1956 Gentleman’s agreement intensified in January 1969, when the guarantees that had been agreed upon, were supposed to lapse.
- Government employees and opposition members of the state legislative assembly threatened ‘direct action’ in support of the students who spearheaded the movement.
- This movement since then finally culminated with formation of separate state of Telangana on 2nd June, 2014.
- It should be noted that roots of disparity in two regions was in colonial rule. Andhra was under direct rule of crown while Telangana was ruled by Nizam of Hyderabad, who was not so efficient ruler . So over time Andhra got more developed in comparison to Telangana.
Shiv Sena against Kannadigas
In 1966, Shiv Sena, in Maharashtra, launched its agitation against Kannadigas in the name of Marathi pride. The initial targets of its agitation were South Indians who were the workers of Udupi hotels in Mumbai. This agitation was labelled to be a retaliation of the lathi-charge on Marathi speaking people in the border areas. However, the frenzy died out without any untoward potential ramification.
Bodoland Demand within Assam
The Bodo agitation is led by the Assam Bodo Students Union which is demanding a separate state and has resorted to wide scale violence and series of crippling bandhs to pursue their demand.
One of the basic reasons of Assam agitations is the expansion of education, particularly higher education, but not industrialization and other job creating institutions is increasing the army of educated unemployed youths in the backward regions. These frustrated young men are lured
by the movements against the inflow of people from other countries and states who are projected as parasites eating into their jobs.
It was during the era of 1980s that Khalistan movement with its aim to create a Sikh homeland, often called Khalistan, cropped up in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. In fact this demand has also the colours of communalism, as the demand was only for Sikhs.
Attacks on Bihari Labourers by ULFA
In 2003, the ULFA was accused of killing labourers from Bihar in response to molestation and raping of many Assamese girls in a train in Bihar. This incident sparked off anti-Bihar sentiment in Assam, which withered away after some months though.
MNS Targeting of North Indians
It was in 2008 that Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers began their violent agitation against North Indians. Bhojpuri films were not allowed to run in theatres in Maharashtra. The targets were vendors and shopkeepers from North India in various parts of Maharashtra.
- Another form of regionalism in India has found expression in the form of interstate disputes. There are boundary disputes, For example, between Karnataka and Maharashtra on Belgaum where Marathi speaking population is surrounded by Kannada speaking people, between Kerala and Karnataka on Kasargod, between Assam and Nagaland on Rengma reserved forests. There is a dispute over Chandigarh in Punjab and Haryana.
- The first important dispute regarding the use of water resource was over the use of water of three rivers mainly Narmada, Krishna and Cauvery in which states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra were involved. Disputes also arose regarding use of Cauvery waters among the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Dispute between Punjab, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh over the use of waters of Ravi River. Issue over SYL – Satluj Yamuna link is looming between Haryana and Punjab.
Impact of Regionalism in India
- It is believed that regionalism plays important role in nation building, if the demands of the regions are accommodated by the political system of the country.
- Regional recognition in terms of state hood or state autonomy gives self-determination to the people of that particular region and they feel empowered and happy.
- Regional identities in India have not always defined themselves in opposition to and at the expense of , the national identity, noticed a democratic effect of such process in that India’s representative democracy has moved closer to the people who feel more involved and show greater concern for institutions of local and regional governance.
- For example: Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council (TTADC), formed in 1985, has served to protect an otherwise endangered tribal identity in the state by providing a democratic platform for former separatists to join the political mainstream and thereby reduced significantly the bases of political extremism in the state.
- The socio-cultural diversity is also given due respect and it helps the regional people to practise their own culture too.
- Regionalism is often seen as a serious threat to the development, progress and unity of the nation. It results in internal security challenges by the insurgent groups, who propagate the feelings of regionalism against the mainstream politico-administrative setup of the country.
- Regionalism definitely impacts politics as days of coalition government and alliances are taking place. Regional demands become national demands, policies are launched to satisfy regional demands and generally those are extended to all pockets of country, hence national policies are now dominated by regional demands. E.g. MSP given to sugarcane, it was helpful for farmers in Maharashtra but it was implemented across all states resulting in agitations of farmers belonging to UP, Punjab and Haryana. Meanwhile it sowed seed of defection among ministers and targeting of corresponding minister.
- Some regional leaders play politics of vote bank based on language , culture, etc which is certainly against healthy democratic procedures. This always leads to demand for separate state and it was observed that after creating small states only few political leaders could run efficient government else alliances run government which ultimately makes administration machinery ineffective.
- Developmental plans are implemented unevenly focusing on regions bearing affilation of heavy weight leaders belongs are benefitted, hence unrest is generated among rest regions.
- Regionalism, also becomes a hurdle in the International Diplomacy, as seen in 2013 we saw how Tamil Nadu regional parties were against the Prime Minister of India, attending the Commonwealth heads meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka. These actions have their direct implication on the relation of India with Sri Lanka or other countries of the forums or in case of West Bengal Government not agreeing to Land Boundary agreement and Teesta River Water sharing, when the leaders at centre level were ready to do it.
- Some more Implications of Regionalism: An Analytical Perspective
Unity and Territorial Integrity
- Regionalism is a practice where in the masses support and withstands regional interests, regional culture and regional ideas over national considerations. Regionalism in India is a part of national integration which is an ongoing process as India is a nation in making. India progressively got divided into 29 states from 14 since the time of independence.
- Most of these states were made out of regional aspirations. Language based states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh spearheaded the protest over regional language. As a result of this we don’t have a national language even after six decades of independence. Secessionist tendencies fuelled demands of separate country like Dravidastan and independence of North Eastern states like Nagaland and Mizoram. It added to armed rebellion, militancy and insurgencies which are continues even till now. Further, rise of regional political parties exaggerated the regional identity of people and polarised them along regional lines.
- Though regionalism has many fallouts but it is a part of federal polity that we have adopted. It is just subnationalism and doesn’t stand in the way of our national unity. Regionalism is a way to respect the distinctiveness of regional culture and to maintain unity with diversity. Indian constitution has adequate provisions in all its parts to maintain the unity and integrity intact. Single citizenship and secularism are there to foster a sense of collectivity among citizens.
Linguistic States and Indian Unity
- In the early 1950s, many including Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru feared that states based on language might hasten a further subdivision of India. In fact, something like the reverse has happened. Far from undermining Indian unity, linguistic states have helped strengthen it. It has proved to be perfectly consistent to be Kannadiga and Indian, Bengali and Indian, Tamil and Indian, Gujarati and Indian at the same time. To be sure, these states based on language sometimes quarrel with each other. While these disputes are not pretty, they could in fact have been far worse.
- Evidence from the international polity like In the same year, 1956, that the SRC mandated the redrawing of the map of India on linguistic lines, the Parliament of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then known) proclaimed Sinhala the country’s sole official language despite protests from the Tamils of the north. One left-wing Sinhala MP issued a prophetic warning to the chauvinists. “One language, two nations”, he said, adding: “Two languages, one nation”.
- The civil war that has raged in Sri Lanka since 1983 is partly based on the denial by the majority linguistic group of the rights of the minority. Another of India’s neighbours, Pakistan, was divided in 1971 because the Punjabi and Urdu speakers of its western wing would not respect the sentiments of the Bengalis in the east. It is the formation of linguistic states that has allowed India to escape an even worse fate. If the aspirations of the Indian language communities had been ignored, what we might have had- “One language, fourteen or fifteen nations.”
Regionalism and Nationalism
- Historians of modern India have highlighted, how the growth of Indian nationalism against British colonialism since the nineteenth century gave birth to intense awakening among various region-based linguistic nationalities for identity and self-determination, often in opposition to the panIndian nationalism.
- To mobilise people from all over India, leaders of mainstream nationalism had to recognise and mobilise the local leaders, they had to reach out to the people in local languages. The mass mobilization was only possible, when people became aware of their regional needs and its importance.
- The mainstream Indian nationalism had continuously grappled with regional nationalism. Under the heavy weight of regional identities of the people of India, the Indian National Congress (INC) could have hardly remained immune from it. It gradually became, in fact, an inter-regional coalition of forces. And for that reason only and to further strengthen the feeling of nationalism, INC used to have their annual meetings in different regions of India, raising the consciousness of people against the colonial exploitation.
- Regionalism in Indian Politics is fast spreading across various states of India. It has become a striking feature of the Indian political party system. The rise of regional political parties have played significant role in the regional, state and even national politics of our democratic country.
- A regional political party usually confines its activities within the boundary of a state or region. It often represents the interest of a particular regional group, language group, ethnic group or cultural group. While forming their policies these regional political parties have often shown ideological integrity. They are generally not interested in taking part in national politics. Rather sometimes they show militant attitude towards the national politics or to the Central Government. While showing this militant attitude they often get themselves engaged in unscrupulous political activities.
- From the start of the 21st century, the amalgamation of national economies into regional blocks has brought with it great opportunities for the states involved as well as challenges for both national and foreign policies.
- The inherent advantages to regionalism strengthening autonomy, improving bargaining power and promoting individual economies – as the real allure of regionalism.
- However, when there is an increasing call for integration of economies as in European union, ASEAN, India must too show economic common sense by integrating its disparate economy. Recent Goods and Services Tax (GST), a pan India economic integration plus e-NAM in Agricultural marketing are new development along with various initiatives for cooperative federalism make it imperative for India to really show political and economic solidarity across the region.
- While the origins and reasons for regionalism are implicit, its impact on an increasingly globalized world economy are less so as national economies continue to push for fewer tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and movement within regional blocks.
- Further, the tendency of national governments to use regional bodies as alternative avenues to pursue their shared political and economic interests gives impetus to the issue of regionalism’s impact.
Demand for Regional Autonomy and States Politics
- The demand for more autonomy is one of the most controversial issues of the Indian federalism, although federalism is an important feature of the constitutional structure of the Indian democracy – The scheme of distribution of powers in every federal system is very much influenced by the operation of socio-cultural, economic, political, and historical factors and as such the constitution of India does not lay any emphasis on autonomy of states in any assumed role for fulfilling political ambitions of such groups, which can identify themselves within the states.
- Rather, it proceeds on the basis of single citizenship with same rights and obligations for people living anywhere on the Indian Territory.
- The process of separation of national politics from state politics is made difficult by the constitutional position created by the concurrent list of the seventh schedule of the constitution, which gives jurisdiction to parliament in matter, which operate locally, or in civil life of people. Under the Indian Constitution there is a distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States (Article 246).
- The interdependence of union and state government in Indian political system is responsible for dual trends towards centralization and decentralization-centralization in response to, for example, the exigencies of national planning and decentralization as a result of many factors including centre’s dependence upon the states for the administration of its programmes.
- Demands for regional autonomy have always been because of the very diverse aspirations of people from every nook and corner of the country. On various ground there have been resentments to show regional solidarity and hence assertion of autonomy on political, economic and cultural ground.
- Though the first State Reorganisation Commission (SRC) did address the demand on linguistic ground, the refashioning demand on multiple other grounds like development deprivation, ethnic solidarity, discrimination from other part of the same state, lack of opportunity to some micro region, and on religious ground as well.
- The very idea of fiscal federalism is not percolating down and the packages promised to the backward region in not able to meet the immediate aspirations of people like in Vidarbha region or Bundelkhand region from where voices have been coming up to have separate state.
- J&K has its own history and various development in terms of Pakistan supported fanning of separatism as well in house separatist groups who feel disenchanted with India, may be due to personal interest or narrow religious interest, have been raising the concern to secede the very special status and many separate provisions have too alienated population from main land coupled with failure of implementation of governance measures.
- Such violent voice in terms of Gorkhaland too can be seen where there is perpetual feeling of marginalization from the plain Assam and Bengali population. Despite GTC autonomous and tripartite arrangement, the issue of their ethnic solidarity is yet to be fulfilled.
- In past too Tamil Nadu had shown such sort of reservation to have its own separate land but the very political engagement in constructive manner could address the issue and now it is one of the most developed and integrated state .
- Similarly, the Khalistan movement too got the violent face in early 1980s but later with apt policy and proportionate tough hand could discourage the separatist tendency which once had got strong militant face.
- So, it has been mostly about the political wing from state as well as concerned region side to find amicably political solution to address the concerns.
Efforts to Address Regionalism
Unitary Features of our Constitution
It includes one constitution, all india services, integrated judiciary etc.
State Reorganisation Commission
- The States Reorganisation Commission was headed by Mr. Fazl Ali and its two other members were Pandit Hridayanath Kunzuru and Sardar K.M. Panikar.
- The States Reorganisation Commission was constituted with an important mandate to work for country’s reforms to assure better administration for divisions for that reorganization of states. Its major roles were to identify constituent units in the country under proper classification on the basis of several grounds including the most notable one of linguistic grounds.
Need for 2nd State Reorganistion Commission
- In light of the violent protests and disruptions in daily life in both Telangana and Seemandhra regions of AP as well as the disruptions in parliament prior to passing of Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill, it would be worthwhile for the centre to think about the whole issue of creating new states in a rational, non-adhoc and a political way.
- An expert body, which could be named ‘States Reorganization Commission’ (SRC), will be a rational arbiter in considering the regional demands for creation of smaller states. It will be insulated from the biased ideologies and political compulsions that influence and even bind the ruling political party at the centre.
- Also, such a commission will give the people an assurance that their claims are being considered by an unbiased commission and thus preclude violent protests and disruptions that usually accompany such movements for separate states.
- States Reorganisation Commission should identify the reasons for demand of a separate state, verify if the expectations will be actually fulfilled on its formation.
Fifth and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution
- The basic thrust of the Fifth and Sixth Schedule of the constitution is the protection of cultural distinctiveness of Tribal inparts. It also provides protection to the tribals on account of their economic disadvantages so that they could maintain their tribal identity without any coercion or exploitation.
- The interests of Scheduled Tribes outside the North east is protected by Fifth Schedule. The fifth schedule designates “Schedule areas” in large parts of India in which the interests of the “Scheduled Tribes” are to be protected. The Scheduled area has more than 50 percent tribal population.
- The Sixth Schedule is related to the administration of the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram in the North-east. It has provisions for the formation of autonomous districts and autonomous regions within the districts as there are different schedule tribes within the district.
Powers of Governor Under Fifth Schedule
- The Powers of Governor are important in the application of the provision of Fifth Schedule. He enjoys the power to modify, annul or limit the application of any law made byParliament or State legislature in the areas designated as Schedule Areas.
- For good governance of the area, he has the power to make regulations. He regulates land allotments to members of Schedule Tribes. He is also authorized to regulate business like money lending in the Fifth Schedule area.
Tribes Advisory Council
- The Fifth Schedule provides the provision of a Tribes Advisory Council. It deals with the provision of establishment of Tribes Advisory Council consisting of not more than twenty members. Three fourth of its representatives would consist of Schedule tribes members of the State Assembly.
- The Fifth Schedule also provides the establishment of Tribes Advisory Council in states which have Schedule Tribes population but do not have Scheduled Areas if the President so directs for the formation of Tribes Advisory Council in those areas.
- Tribes Advisory Council advises on matters related to the welfare and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes in the state which are referred to the council by the Governor.
Provisions of Sixth Schedule of the Constitution
- The Sixth Schedule is different from the Fifth Schedule as it deals with the details of the mechanism and institutions essential for governance of the autonomous districts in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. These autonomous districts are directly administered by the Governor. The Sixth Schedule deals with the constitution, powers and functions of District Councils and Regional Councils in these autonomous districts.
- These Councils enjoy legislative powers on specific subjects and are also allotted certain sources of taxation. These councils also have the powers to set up and administer their system of justice and maintain administrative and welfare services in respect of land, revenue, forests, education, public health etc.
- The Indian Constitution provides funds under Article 275(1) to both Schedule Fifth and Schedule Sixth areas for the purpose of promoting the welfare of Scheduled tribes or raising the level of administration of the Schedule Areas.
- The Autonomous districts are the mechanism to safeguard the traditional heritage of the Tribals, their customary practices and usages and also maintaining economic security. This is achieved by conferring on them Executive, Legislative and judicial powers along with development and financial powers and functions.
Role of Governor
- The Governor under the provision of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution is empowered to determine areas under the administration of the council. He has the authority to form new autonomous districts. He can increase or decrease the area of any autonomous districts or Districts Councils. He is also empowered to unite two or more districts or its parts to carve out one autonomous district from it.
- The Governor can also define the boundaries or alter the name of any autonomous district. But it should be noted that such changes can only be brought in the composition of the territory of Autonomous District Councils by the Governor after the submission of report of the appointed commission for that purpose.
Special State Category Status
- The Constitution does not include any provision for categorisation of any State in India as a Special Category Status (SCS) State. But, recognising that some regions in the country were historically disadvantaged in contrast to others, Central plan assistance to SCS States has been granted in the past by the erstwhile Planning Commission body, National Development Council (NDC).
- The NDC granted this status based on a number of features of the States which included: hilly and difficult terrain, low population density or the presence of sizeable tribal population, strategic location along international borders, economic and infrastructural backwardness and non-viable nature of State finances.
- Following the constitution of the NITI Aayog (after the dissolution of the Planning Commission) and the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC), Central plan assistance to SCS States has been subsumed in an increased devolution of the divisible pool to all States (from 32% in the 13th FC recommendations to 42%) and do not any longer appear in plan expenditure.
- The FFC also recommended variables such as ‘forest cover’ to be included in devolution, with a weightage of 7.5 in the criteria and which could benefit north-eastern States that were previously given SCS assistance. Besides, assistance to Centrally Sponsored Schemes for SCS States was given with 90% Central share and 10% State share.
Reservation in Employment for Specific Regions
- The concept of job reservation relies upon government intervention into the labour relations area in order to promote the rights of some particular portion of the population.
- Since independence, the government of India has also tried to promote interests of certain population groups in the employment area. An example can be seen as following:
- The Governor has approved four important notifications as provided for under the 118th amendment – Article 371 (J) – to the Constitution and, among other things, this will enable the formation of the Hyderabad-Karnataka Region Development Board Order 2013.
- Henceforth, the Governor would play a significant role in the development of the region. The other notifications are the Karnataka Educational Institutions (Regulations of Admission in the Hyderabad-Karnataka Region) Order 2013, which provides for reservation of 70 per cent of the available seats in Hyderabad-Karnataka Region and 8 per cent seats in State-wide institutions, the Karnataka Public Employment (Reservation in Appointment for HyderabadKarnataka Region) Order 2013, which provides for the creation of a local cadre and reservation in the HyderabadKarnataka region as: Group A Junior Scale – 75 per cent, Group B- 75 per cent, Group C – 80 per cent and Group D – 85 per cent, besides reservation of 8 per cent of the posts in the State-level offices or institutions or apex institutions.
Inter State Council
- The Inter State Council is a constitutional body created under the Article 263 of the Constitution in pursuance to the Sarkaria Commission recommendations.
- The Inter State Council has become significant in the backdrop of tensions brewing between Centre and some states regarding resource allocation and disputes related to jurisdiction. The Inter State Council can act as a forum for ironing out these disputes in pursuance to cooperative federalism.
- GST: Goods and services tax was launched with a motto of one nation one tax and one market try to integrate the India in economic sense
- Finance Commission: through devolution of fund to states, it promotes fiscal federalism.
- Niti Aayog: it has replaced the planning commission, pursued the bottom up approach and gave more say to the states in the matter of planning.
- Balanced Regional Development: through use of public sector undertakings and giving concession in case of investment in the under-developed area. Recent initiatives like Aspiration District Program is a welcome initiative.
- It can well be now understood how regionalism is a double edge sword for a nation as well for group of nations. Constitution of India under Article-19, gives every citizen a fundamental right to move around and settle down peacefully in any part of the country. And, as a citizen of India everyone should respect this fundamental right of other persons, maintaining the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam even in the country.
- The need of the hour is to develop each region of India, through devolution of power to local governments and empowering people for their participation in decision making. The governments at state level need to find out the alternative resources of energy, source of employment for local people, use of technology in governance, planning and for agriculture development. The 12th five year targets for “Faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth”, which will be instrumental for balanced regional growth.
- As the very Indian concept of “salad Bowl” is in its ethos, it must make all effort to integrate each difference to uphold the core of Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam. Regionalism must be only for overall good of Indian society to make it truly welcoming and unique in present era when centrifugal forces are at worst all over the world as in west Asia, Europe.