India needs 50 states, but change the system

India needs 50 states, but change the system

We should convert such an event into a positive chance for a better arrangement in the given democratic system. Language, the only major criterion for the reorganisation of states in the post-independent era in 1950s, remains no more a lone valid and solid base for the purpose. Economic development has become the need of the hour. Divisive and decisive forces such as language, caste, colour or creed could hardly be a base for geographical divisions any more.

India is a country of one billion plus in population. Geographical area-wise and population-wise it can easily afford to have 40 to 50 states in all. The only rider is that it should be a democratic federation with the presidential form of government as in the case of USA.

Direct election
The president and the governors should be directly elected for a term of 5-6 years with each incumbent allowed to serve only two terms in office and necessarily not succeeded by a close relative in the posts for at least two terms at a stretch. Elected executives would be assisted and advised by a group of experts as ministers, not more than five in each government.

Departmental activities should be guided, budgeted and monitored by advisory committees comprising members of parliament or state assemblies as the case may be. Direct election would be conducted once in 5-6 years only for the lowest chamber via, village panchayats and municipal bodies and also for the highest executive post in the country viz president and in the states viz the governors.

No public representative — elected or nominated — can hold any particular office for more than two terms. It would inject fresh blood into each chamber of public representatives. Direct election to the posts of president and governors and similarly to the lowest chambers should be conducted at the government cost.

Only two or three dominant political parties should be allowed to field candidates for the post of president and governors but the election or nomination to all other posts and chambers should not be based on political parties. All the ills of electoral processes can be automatically tackled without any major costs. No favouritism, no nepotism, no dynastic tendency, no black-money and no muscle power would be able to raise their ugly heads in such a system.
It is indeed a golden chance coming our way for ensuring a golden era in Indian sub-continent. Telangana, Gorkhaland, Vidarbha, Bundelkland, etc, etc can await the recommendations of a newly-formed State Reorganisation Commission in the next two years.
Sixty years of parliamentary democracy needs a re-look and re-working. So the current parliament can easily be converted into a Second Constituent Assembly for the debate and a decision on an alternative system of governance.

A federal polity with such contrast situations, languages, cultures and civilisations, heritages and histories in India needs immediate political and constitutional reforms to halt the riches of a few, to promote the welfare of all the citizens, to make justice available at a cheaper cost, to eradicate or substantially control the electoral fraud and bad practices, to provide corruption-free public services from government functionaries, to check the erosion of dignity of labour but improve and sustain its productivity be it on agri-farms, in factories, in public and semi-public offices, to halt the mobocracy and encourage meritocracy in every sphere of public life.
(The writer is a former bureaucrat)