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Monday, August 15, 2011

INDIAN FEDERAL STRUCTURE: State of states - More or less?!

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State of states! More or less?

India, which is currently organized into twenty eight states and seven federally administered union territories, was at the time of independence divided into two sets of territories, the territories of ‘British India’ and ‘Princely States’. Thereby hangs a tale of state of states in the country.

During the period of 1947-1950, the territories of the princely states were politically integrated into the Indian union. However, at the time of enforcement of new constitution in 1950, Indian states had fallen into four categories.

In 1953, central government appointed the ‘State Reorganization Commission’ under the chairmanship of Fazl Ali with Pandit Hridayanath Kunzru and Sardar KM Panikkar was the members. The purpose of forming the commission was to settle the problem of demand of states on linguistic lines.

Commission submitted its report in 1955 and basis on its proposal, the ‘State Reorganization Act’ was passed by Parliament in 1956. As per directions in the act 14 states and six union territories were formed.

Assam, Andhra, Bihar, Bombay, Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Mysore, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir were named in states category. And Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Laccadivi Islands, Andaman Nicobar Islands and Minicoy Amindivi Islands were formed as union territories.

In 1961, the Portuguese territories of Goa, Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli were liberated and formed into union territories of Goa. The ‘Bombay Reorganization Act’ was also passed in same year and created two states – Maharashtra and Gujarat. Similarly the ‘Punjab Reorganization Act’ was passed in 1966 and Punjab birfucated into Punjab and Haryana with Chandigarh as common capital.

While Nagaland was formed in 1962, Assam was reorganized in 1971 and Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya were given the status of states. Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram were made union territories. However in 1975, Sikkim was incorporated as the 22nd State of the Indian state.

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