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Special Provisions for Some States

Special Provisions for Some States

Historical Background 

  • Recognizing that some regions in the country were historically disadvantaged in contrast to the others, the 5th Finance Commission in 1969 introduced the concept of Special Category Status. There are a few states which have been given the special category status.
  • The 5th Finance Commission sought to provide certain disadvantaged states with preferential treatment in the form of central assistance and tax breaks.  Central Plan Assistance was given in the past by the National Development Council (NDC) to some states.
  • This formula was named after the then Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Dr. Gadgil Mukherjee. Initially, just three states: Assam, Nagaland, and Jammu & Kashmir were granted special status. During the 4th 5-Year plan (1969-1974), the states of Assam, Nagaland, and Jammu & Kashmir were given special status.
  • These states got a total share of 9.26% of total plan assistance. Thereafter from 1974-1979, 5 more states were included under the special category. These include: Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Tripura. In 1990, with the addition of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, the states with Special Category status increased to 10.
  • The state of Uttarakhand was given Special Category Status in 2001. Until 2014-2015, Special Category Status meant that these 11 states received a variety of benefits and sops. Apart from the state of Andhra which has been in the news for its demand of the Special Category Status, Bihar, Odisha, Rajasthan and Goa have also been demanding Special Category Status.
  • MP’s from Andhra Pradesh have caused repeated disruptions in the functioning of the Parliament during the budget session of Parliament this year 2018.
  • After the dissolution of the Planning Commission and the subsequent constitution of the NITI-Aayog, the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission have been implemented, meaning that the Gadgil formula-based grants have been discontinued.
  • But this has been compensated by the increase in devolution from the divisible pool to all states from 32% to 42%. The Centre says that the 14th Finance Commission effectively removed the concept of Special Category Status after its recommendations were accepted in 2015.
  • In the present circumstances, it is believed that no more states can be given the status of a Special Category state.
  • The Constitution of India does not include any provision for the categorization of any state in India as a Special Category State. However, a wide range of safeguards are available to as many as 12 states that have been listed under Articles 371, 371-A to 371-H, and 371-J. Article 371-I deals with Goa, but does not include any provision that can be termed special. These 12 states are:
  • Maharashtra, Gujarat, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa.
  • Post independence, a considerable geographical, social, economic and cultural disparity was revealed among all India states. Some states had better education, health, social and economic conditions while others like the north-eastern and the hill states displayed a lack of development and an absence of government policies.
  • But on the other hand, these states held an enormous importance to India in strategic and geopolitical terms. In the early 1960’s, the then government had no concrete plan for the development of these states.
  • Being economically weak, the states were unable to manage the development work on their own along with their limited resources and strengths.

Under the circumstances, the Centre was left with just two options:
a) either to club these states with their developed neighbours or,
b) to provide assistance to uplift their conditions

  • The second option was chosen and the states were put under Special Category Status to assist their development. Even when the 5-Year plans were implemented, no rules were followed by the Centre in the beginning while supporting the economically weaker states. Due to this, each region witnessed a different quantum of development.
  • The Special Category issue was first raised in the National Development Council meeting in 1969. The D R Gadgil committee gave a formula which was evolved in 1969. This formula lays down the allocation of Central Assistance for state plans in India. Before this, there was no definite formula to grant funds to the states and only scheme-based grants were given.
  • The National Development Council approved the D R Gadgil Formula under which special category states like Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, and Nagaland were given preference. This meant that their needs were first met from the total pool of Central assistance.

Part XXI of the Constitution

  • The part ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’, includes, apart from Article 370 (Temporary Provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir) Articles 371, 371A, 371B, 371C, 371D, 371E, 371F, 371G, 371H, and 371J.
  • These define special provisions with regard to other states of the Indian Union.

Special Provisions but not special treatment

  • All these provisions take into account the special circumstances of individual states, and lay down a wide range of specific safeguards that are deemed important for these states.
  •  In these range of Articles from 371 to 371J, Article 371I, which deals with Goa, stands out in the sense that it does not include any provision that can be deemed “special”.
  • Article 371E, which deals with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, too, is not that “special”.
  • The special provisions laid down in Article 370 before it was modified were obviously much more far reaching than the special provisions for other states, described in Articles 371, 371A-H, and 371J.

Article 371, Maharashtra and Gujarat: 

Governor has “special responsibility” to establish “separate development boards” for “Vidarbha, Marathwada, and the rest of Maharashtra”, and Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat; ensure “equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said areas”, and “equitable arrangement providing adequate facilities for technical education and vocational training, and adequate opportunities for employment” under the state government.

Article 371A (13th Amendment Act, 1962), Nagaland:

  • Inserted after a 16-point agreement between the Centre and the Naga People’s Convention in 1960, which led to the creation of Nagaland in 1963.
  • Parliament cannot legislate in matters of Naga religion or social practices, Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law, and ownership and transfer of land without concurrence of the state Assembly.

Article 371B (22nd Amendment Act, 1969), Assam:

The President may provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the Assembly consisting of members elected from the state’s tribal areas.

Article 371C (27th Amendment Act, 1971), Manipur:

  • The President may provide for the constitution of a committee of elected members from the Hill areas in the Assembly, and entrust “special responsibility” to the Governor to ensure its proper functioning.

Article 371D (32nd Amendment Act, 1973; substituted by The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana:

  • President must ensure “equitable opportunities and facilities” in “public employment and education to people from different parts of the state”.
  • He may require the state government to organise “any class or classes of posts in a civil service of, or any class or classes of civil posts under, the State into different local cadres for different parts of the State”.
  • He has similar powers vis-à-vis admissions in educational institutions.

Article 371E:

  • Allows for the establishment of a university in Andhra Pradesh by a law of Parliament. But this is not a “special provision” in the sense of the others in this part.

Article 371F (36th Amendment Act, 1975), Sikkim:

  • The members of the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim shall elect the representative of Sikkim in the House of the People.
  • To protect the rights and interests of various sections of the population of Sikkim, Parliament may provide for the number of seats in the Assembly, which may be filled only by candidates from those sections.

Article 371G (53rd Amendment Act, 1986), Mizoram:

  • Parliament cannot make laws on “religious or social practices of the Mizos, Mizo customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Mizo customary law, ownership and transfer of land… unless the Assembly… so decides”.

Article 371H (55th Amendment Act, 1986), Arunachal Pradesh: 

  • The Governor has a special responsibility with regard to law and order, and “he shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken”.

Article 371J (98th Amendment Act, 2012), Karnataka:

  • There is a provision for a separate development board for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
  • There shall be “equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said region”, and “equitable opportunities and facilities” for people of this region in government jobs and education.                                                                          Special Provisions for Some States
  • A proportion of seats in educational institutions and state government jobs in Hyderabad-Karnataka can be reserved for individuals from that region.

Article 371I

  • It deals with Goa, but it does not include any provision that can be deemed ‘special’.

Significance:

  • All these provisions take into account the special circumstances of individual states, and lay down a wide range of specific safeguards that are deemed important for these states.
  • In these range of Articles from 371 to 371J, Article 371I, which deals with Goa, stands out in the sense that it does not include any provision that can be deemed “special”.
  •  Article 371E, which deals with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, too, is not that “special”.

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