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Prelims Capsule


Interstate disputes in India and ways to solve them explained, History of formation of Indian States

Interstate disputes in India and ways to solve them explained, History of formation of Indian States


  • GS 2 || Polity || Other Constitutional Dimensions || Inter-State Relations

Why in the news?

Inter-state dispute is unsolved issue of the state.


While our government is busy trying to tackle bilateral issues with China and Pakistan, there have been renewed reports of several domestic territorial clashes. Either the residents or governments of the concerned states are at loggerheads.A recent clash between residents of Assam and Nagaland left 1dead and 21 injured. List of inter-state clashes in India with their historical contexts. Let the inter-state games begin.

Formation of state:

  • Before independence, India was split into three sorts of states:
    • British India Territories, which were administered by the British government, Indian states, which were administered by Indian states, and Indian states, which were administered by Indian states.
    • Princely States – they were controlled by kings or princes at the time.
    • The French and Portuguese Colonial Territories, which were respectively administered by the French and Portuguese administrations.
  • Prior to the American Revolution, there were 565 princely states in all.
  • Except for Hyderabad, Junagadh, Bhopal, and Kashmir, 562 princely republics decided to join the Indian Confederation after independence.

“Since October 31st, 2019; India comprises of 28 States and 9 Union Territories.”

The Interstate Council, and its functions:

  • Returning to article 263 (the Inter-State Council), it is not planned to offer a thorough examination of its wording at this time. Limiting our discussion to the significance of article 263 to dispute resolution, we would like to highlight the following characteristics of the article.
  • Where article 263 permits inquiry into, and advice on, conflicts between States, it does not include disputes between the Union and a State, however it does allow for research and debate of topics of mutual interest, as well as the formulation of recommendations on such topics.
  • The Inter-State Council (as defined in the text) has consultative and recommendatory duties.

Assessment of states Reorganization Commission (SRC):

  • Following integration, the state’s internal limits had to be set in a way that represented the diversity of cultural and linguistic groups. Congress was in favor of language grouping prior to independence since its interim committees were divided into linguistic zones, but after partition, Nehru was concerned about further dividing the country along linguistic lines.
  • In 1948, the Constituent Assembly formed the Linguistic Provinces Commission, chaired by Justice S.K. Dhar, to evaluate the suitability of linguistic provinces suggested by various members for independent nations. The Dhar Commission opposed it at the time because it may undermine national unity and be administratively cumbersome.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru formed the States ReorganisationCommission(SRC). The SRC report mostly agreed with the linguistic notion and suggested redrawing state borders on that basis. It went on to say that a single language or country could not be the deciding factor.
  • Parliament passed the States Reorganization Act. Later, further requests based on language, regionalism, and developmental imbalance in certain regions arose, necessitating the division for administrative reasons and to keep the agitations distinct while acknowledging the demands.

The idea behind creation of smaller states was to deepen democracy in the following ways:

  • Enables local populations to imprint their ideas and interests on the awareness of their representatives by facilitating communication between governments and the governed.
  • However, several actions taken in this respect have failed to improve the lives of the people for whom these states were established.
  • Chhattisgarh : Mineral rich and power surplus state
    • Under the leadership of Shankar GuhaNiyogi, Chhattisgarh was formed out of Madhya Pradesh, focusing on wage struggles and alternative development techniques.
    • Chhattisgarh, on the other hand, ranks low on the HDI, with more malnourished women, underweight children, and illiterates than the national average.
    • Poverty is significantly more prevalent among SC and ST households in Chhattisgarh than among other socioeconomic categories in the state and country.
    • Tribals have been displaced from their ancestral lands for generations in order to harvest mineral wealth.
  • West Bengal:
    • 27 plots in the Balasore District and some lands in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha are the subject of a dispute between Odisha and West Bengal.
    • Mayurbhanj is noted for its iron ore deposits and the Chhau dance (a tribal dance in which dancers wear colorful masks).
  • Jharkhand : vast natural resource
    • This state was established with the goal of providing direct justice to exploited indigenous groups in mineral-rich areas, agricultural districts, and plantations.
    • The quest for statehood was part of indigenous communities’ demand for resource control.
    • Before 2000, however, Jharkhand contributed for 70% of Bihar’s GDP. It is currently a poor economic state.
    • The poverty rates in the ST and SC communities are significantly greater than the national average.
  • Assam-Nagaland boundary dispute: The Assam government is taking all necessary and appropriate measures to safeguard its borders from unlawful encroachment by Nagaland.

Pros and cons:

  • Pros of smaller states:
    • Administrative ease is ensured.
    • Focus on special requirements of a region.
    • Better targeting through central and state schemes.
  • Cons of smaller states:
    • Water, land disputes
    • Trade separations leads to difficulties in inter-state trade.
    • Division among people leads to rise of regionalism.

The purpose of carving out new states is to have:

  • Better government targeting
  • Proximity to capital city
  • Proper use of central money
  • Higher living standards
  • However the newly formed smaller states face many problems like:
    • Reduced self-sustainability
    • Increases expenditure for setting up new infrastructure
    • Hurts the sentiment of unity
    • Division of resources between the mother and daughter state
  • Statistics show that there is no apparent correlation between a state’s size and its success. According to the GSDP, Bihar out forms Jharkhand, MP out forms Chhatisgarh, and Uttrakhand outperforms Uttar Pradesh.
  • As a result, in theory, smaller, more homogenous entities are more efficient and provide better administration, and therefore larger states may be reduced in size. However, while constructing newer units, political and economic feasibility should be considered. Carving out newer states usually opens the Pandora’s Box, and there is comparable demand from all directions, the majority of which are not economically viable.

In the face of increasing population, bigger states are bound with certain complexities like:

  • Administration: As the workload grows, it becomes more difficult to reach out to large segments of the public and to supervise the operations of numerous departments. For example, in Uttar Pradesh, the assembly voted a resolution dividing the state into four states.
  • Decentralization: Smaller states favor decentralization because it allows for a more targeted and concentrated approach. For example, the United States has 50 states, and numerous tiny European nations are developing.
  • Inequalities: Certain communities/legislators begin to dominate the operations of the state, resulting in a skewed perspective. Furthermore, many sections within the states have a longer history than others. Vidarbha, for example.
  • Insecurity of the people: People’s insecurity: Concerns about economic and social progress, as well as cultural contamination, have led to calls for smaller states.E.g: Bodoland.

Why do we need of Second SRC?

  • On the other hand, the problem of smaller states has become a political instrument via which some vested interests have sought to gain political mileage, resulting in bloodshed and state loss.
  • Second, smaller states, such as Jharkhand, may have political instability as a result of fewer seats in legislatures and more parties contending. As stated in the AP restructuring law of 2014, the number of seats in these assemblies must be raised for this reason.
  • A second SRC should be established to examine at the requests for independent states across India and assess their viability. It’s worth remembering that India only achieved stability and set the ground for prosperity after splitting up several states following independence.

Article 263:

  • Article 263 of the Constitution contains a comprehensive provision pertaining to the execution of various responsibilities on problems of inter-State dimension. One of the tasks envisaged by the article for the Council is to investigate and advise on any issues that may have arisen between States [under article 263 (a)]. The following is an excerpt from the article (which comes under the subhead: States “Coordination between States”)–
  • “263. Provisions concerning an inter-State Council. If it seems to the President at any moment that the public interest would be served by the formation of a Council tasked with the responsibility of:
    • Inquiring into and advising on any inter-state conflicts that may have developed;
    • Investigating and debating issues in which some or all of the States, or the Union and one or more of the States, share an interest or
    • It shall be lawful for the President to establish such a Council and to define the nature of the duties to be performed by it, as well as its organization and procedure, on any such subject, and in particular, recommendations for better co-ordination or policy and action with respect to that subject”.


Border conflicts between governments can be resolved using satellite mapping of actual boundary locations. It is possible to resurrect the Inter-state council as a way of resolving an inter-state issue. India is the epitome of unity in diversity. However, both the federal and state governments must embrace the cooperative federalism spirit in order to develop this unity.

Mains oriented question:

Small states are not a panacea, but it is very complicated task to try to split up certain major states. Do you agreeing? Examine Objectively