The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has submitted a note outlining its stand on the question of the formation of a separate Telengana. This has been submitted by the General Secretary, Prakash Karat in response to a request from Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Chairman of the Group, appointed by the UPA Coordination Committee to consider the demand for the formation of a Telengana state.
The note submitted by the Party is enclosed and is being released to the press.
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Stand on Telengana Issue
1. The formation of Andhra Pradesh was the result of a sustained movement for the creation of a unified linguistic state for all the Telugu-speaking people. The Vishalandhra movement was actually demanding the fulfillment of a promise made during the freedom struggle that the provinces of India would be reorganized on a linguistic basis. The Indian National Congress first accorded recognition to this principle by reorganizing the pradesh provincial committees of the Congress party on a linguistic basis as early as 1921 at the Nagpur session.
2. The creation of linguistic states undid the legacy of colonial rule which set up multi-lingual provinces purely for the administrative purposes of the British rulers. The States Reorganisation Committee explicitly recognised the linguistic principle for the formation of states. The formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956 was followed by the setting up of states like Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and so forth. Thus, one of the major steps for democratizing the Indian State system was undertaken. Restructuring the states on linguistic lines was an essential step for expanding democracy since it enabled people to have an administration and educational set-up in their own language. Within such a state adequate safeguards for linguistic minorities was to be provided.
3. The formation of linguistic states provided the bedrock for the federal system in our country. The states thus formed have developed and contributed to the federal polity and the democratic political system. Dividing these states into smaller states will weaken the federal principle. Small states emerging out of the division of the linguistically homogenous states will be more dependent on the Centre and this will militate against the federal principle. The CPI(M) has always held that we need both a strong Centre and strong states to strengthen national unity.
4. Uneven development and regional backwardness within states have grown since independence. The nature of capitalist development is such where capital and resources flow into developed areas and where infrastructure exists. This aggravates the problem of regional disparities. Such problems exist irrespective of the size and locations of states.
5. Telengana is a region which has been historically underdeveloped and backward since the days of the Nizam. It is true that over the decades the development of the region has lagged behind and the scope for employment opportunities has not been commensurate to the needs. The proportion of irrigated area to total sown area is less in Telengana and the Rayalseema areas. Most of the educationally backward mandals are situated in Telengana and North Andhra. A large section of those who suffer due to the underdevelopment of the Telengana region are the tribals, dalits and minorities.
6. The division of the state of Andhra Pradesh is however, not the solution for the problems of backwardness. It will be misleading to conclude that a separate state per se will ensure development. The problems of underdevelopment and socio-economic backwardness have to be tackled through specific measures.
· Priority should be given to those irrigation projects which cater to the needs of Telengana and other backward areas of Andhra Pradesh.
· A comprehensive land distribution programme should be undertaken in the state with special focus on Telengana.
· A crash programme has to be adopted to improve educational facilities in the identified backward mandals.
· Special measures must be adopted to improve the economic and social position of the dalits, girijans (tribal people) and minorities.
· A high-powered committee should be formed to undertake a comprehensive study of the imbalanced development among different regions and districts. A development index for each mandal should be developed on this basis and comprehensive plans to be prepared.
· There should be strict implementation of GO No. 610 and rectification of past distortions.
· Special funds to be earmarked for the development of backward areas in every budget and a separate mechanism to be created to oversee the implementation of the special plans for the backward areas.
We urge the sub-committee on Telengana of the United Progressive Alliance to consider all these aspects carefully. It should also keep in mind that the division of Andhra Pradesh which was the first major state to be formed on the linguistic basis will open up a plethora of demands for new states to be carved out from the existing linguistic states. Instead of tackling the root cause of regional imbalance, backwardness and underdevelopment, the demand for setting up of new states will be a diversion and open up a host of intra-state problems which can heighten differences and weaken the unity of the people.