By – Sherfuddeen Al Arafat
The Telangaana movement, its background, history, present and future holds a good lesson for policy makers, activists and all those who are concerned and want to propagate the idea of democracy and Social Justice. Democracy and Social Justice are like two dominos which stand together, when one domino falls the other domino falls, both the ideas are best served together. Skewed development, concentration of resources, wealth and power into the hands of few something which our founding fathers had stood against yet was never given the attention it deserved only to see all these injustices snowball into a mass movement which in turn became fertile ground for naxals to flourish. Clearly the lack of social justice preceded a failure of democracy.
If the essence of democracy had prevailed, our lawmakers could have heeded long back to the innumerable number of protests, death and destruction. Telengana a semi arid land with vast types of soils, two major rivers, vast resources of mica and bauxite to mention a few of them, Telengana in no way fits into a description of a backward region, yet social and economic justice has evaded the region for so long, a demand for a separate state is a natural conclusion while not being a solution in itself. To give an example of how one region has completely missed the exorbitant growth trajectory which Andhra Pradesh had cloaked in the last decade can be seen in the Backward Region Grant Fund scheme of the Union Government. This scheme identifies poor districts all over India and supplements them with addition funds to normalize regional imbalances. Of the total of 272 backward districts (all over India) identified by this scheme, 13 districts are from Andhra Pradesh, of which all the 9 districts of Telengana region are included. When such mass deprivation of socio economic development prevails, Telengana is just an after effect of the long prevalent malaise of skewed and phony development. And what more, political parties from all quarters have working round the clock to score brownie points, which will be evident during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
If we were to avoid another Telengana, affirmative action, social inclusion, Inclusive growth should be corner stones in policy making. The Backward districts should be given all the possible help from Central and State governments to remove the imbalances. Distribution of resources in favour of the disadvantaged people should be of adhered to with iron fist.
While smaller states may offer better administrative performance, but shared capitals, union territories jurisdictionally becomes a nightmare. Smaller states should be encouraged on administrative grounds and not caste, culture and language, if states continue to pull apart based on caste, language and culture, India as a country risks losing its plurality and its secular ethos. The present Neo liberal regime in India which is so obsessed with growth whilst downplaying social indicators, the most important being the most recent poverty estimation which drew flak from several quarters of the polity. The Neo liberal regime of the congress will have to introspect its socio economic policies if its political will is to avoid another Telengana the future.