Aug. 2 – The Indian central government has agreed to establish the new state of Telangana after congress’ ruling-party coalition gave its endorsement. As the country’s 29th state, Telangana will be formed by splitting the coastal state of Andhra Pradesh into two regions. Of the 23 districts that are currently a part of Andhra Pradesh, 10 will become the state of Telangana, with Hyderabad serving as the capital of both states for a ten-year period.
The creation of India’s 29th state has been on the political agenda for several decades, but came to the fore of public awareness in 2009 when the government announced formal plans to pursue the establishment of Telangana. Proponents of the new state sought to resolve regional economic disparities through the greater control of their districts that statehood would provide. Despite the progress they had made, plans were halted as violent protests broke out in the region.
Through continued pressure, advocates for the Telangana state again led congress to reconsider the proposition this year. The decision to establish Telangana has been met with wider approval and fanfare.
“This is good for Hyderabad and good for India as India is too large and needs smaller states for better governance,” said Biksham Gujja, a scientist and Telangana activist.
Proponents believe statehood will allow those in the newly formed region to confront mafia and other forms of corruption affecting the area, resulting in economic growth and an improved investment environment.
Despite popularity among Indian activists, congress’s plans have again come under fire by political leaders who believe the move has been inspired by political, rather than economic, motives.
“The decision to create Telangana… is just a cynical move by the congress keeping in mind the 2014 general elections,” said political commentator Parakala Prabhakar.
Sharing these views, several public officials have resigned in protest, including 26 members of the 545-person congress and 17 legislators.
Nonetheless, even if congress’ motives are suspect, many analysts believe the creation of Telangana will be a positive development for the region.
“Smaller states are a good idea. The experience in the past shows that smaller states are able to govern and develop better,” said Sanjay Kumar , member of the Centre for the Study of Developing Society.
As per Indian law, the establishment of Telangana must also be approved by India’s parliament before the state will receive official status.
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