Thursday, October 08, 2009

The States should pull up their socks

Sometime ago I had written about the Lessons India should learn from all the turmoil happening all around her.

Today, after reading about the increase in the naxalite activity and the home minstry's report that 20 states are under some form of naxal influence, I can safely say that our country need not look outside at all.

The Leftist Maoist movement has sprouted from the lack of development and opportunities available in parts of India and its heartening to see that our home minister P. Chidambaram himself openly talking about it.

While the reasons contributing to the naxalite violence could range from failed land reforms to non-existent local employment and development, they all point to a massive failure of our established governing structures.

The self-correcting features of our governing structures seem to have failed. While some states have taken great advantage of the system, like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra etc. Others have let the whole system rot or gamed it.

The next steps are quite clear. The home minister has promised to take back districts under the naxal influence followed by massive aid driven development. While this might work in the short-term, the long-term strategy has to be different.

I hope the wise home minister goes into why some states are unable to drill down economic benefits that stagnate at the state capital.

Should these "weak states" be treated differently? Should there be more economic devolution to the states and from the states down to the district / panchayat level? Should more smaller states be created from bigger ones?

The questions are many, the answers are few and far in between.

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