Division of Uttar Pradesh: To be or not to be?
The recent story
A viral social media news has been trending around the division of UP into 3 states, to the extent that it had to be personally denied from Uttar Pradesh government’s Fact Check handle on Twitter. So today we look at UP, and the what if scenario of its bifurcation while understanding both sides of the coin.
How big is UP?
With a population of 200 million, Uttar Pradesh is currently the most populous subdivision in the entire world. If UP was a country, it would be the 5th most populous country, only behind China, India, US & Indonesia.
Should UP be divided?
- Too big to be governed properly
- Socio-Economic Reasons: Ranked in the bottom five in the Index for Sustainable Development Goals, population growth rate of UP is double that of India while per capita income is half of the national average.
- Too much power for one state: UP has almost the same number of MPs as Karnataka, Rajasthan & Gujarat combined.
- Religion and caste dominate the elections, often causing crime and violence. Enabling smaller states allows for more inclusivity and better administration.
Latest attempt to split UP by Mayawati
Mayawati’s 2011 proposal was the latest attempt to split UP. Her bill proposed dividing Uttar Pradesh into four new states:
Why should UP be not divided?
- Development Disparity: Eastern regions of Bundelkhand & Purvanchal could face heavy ignorance in development and growth, since they aren’t high revenue-generating provinces.
- People don’t want it: No large scale state separation movements have happened that require attention from the Centre.
It might make more sense to divide the state on a district level, although that would dilute the CMO’s power.
Bifurcation examples of other Indian states:
- Chhattisgarh (from Madhya Pradesh): Having faced the longest battle for getting separated, currently the resource-rich Chattisgarh is one of the fastest growing states in the country.
- Jharkhand (from Bihar): Jharkhand had many tribunal communities facing misrepresentation and wanted separation to aid a socio-economic balance.
- Telangana (from Andhra Pradesh): The Telugu speaking community had fought for more than a decade for its separation from Andhra Pradesh with the issue of Hyderabad and its revenue taking centerstage.
One of the most polarised states in the country
Uttar Pradesh remains one of the most polarised states in the country, owing to its vast population, regional segregations and economic inequalities. Hindus are in majority while Muslims are the largest religious minority. It is this cultural amalgamation that has helped our nation face extremely difficult times of terror and yet it is the glue that binds the state.
So if not the split, what can be done?
- Enabling better district administration
- Improving sectoral police
- Enabling technology, growth & entrepreneurship in the state across all regions
This would be a more cost-efficient and time-intensive solution rather than splitting one of the most culturally significant parts of the nation.