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Regional demands from different parts of India exemplify the principle of unity with diversity. Do you agree? Give reasons

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The fate of a democratic country depends on its peoples' participation, on the active role of the citizens. The role of the citizens in a democracy is not only restricted to merely casting vote and electing government, but also in being constantly aware and vigilant. They must voice their opinions freely, make demands on the system and must complaint. The fact that people are complaining shows the success of India’s democratic system. The growing regional aspirations are an integral part of the democratic structure and bears testimony to the fact that people are making claims on the system and are aware. Regional aspirations exemplify the principle of unity in diversity in the following manner:

a. Democracy involves competition among various groups to get their demands fulfilled. Making conflicting claims and voicing their concerns is the outcome of democracy, and how the democratic system responds to such conflicting claims is the challenge of democracy. Expression of regional aspirations is a normal phenomenon and an integral part of the nation building process. Be it a small or big nation, regional aims and aspirations which always reflect people’s quest for preserving their identity, to bring about development of their region and to represent their interests.are important aspects of democracy.

b. The best way to respond to regional aspirations is through democratic negotiations rather than through suppression. Though the Indian Government at times may have adopted harsh measures or carrot and stick policies, but the ideal way of dealing with such a problem is through negotiations and agreements. For example the Punjab accord, the Assam accord, the agreement with Mizo national front, etc. This produced a reconciliation that reduced the tensions existing in many regions.

c. Regional aspiration can be duly accommodated by virtue of power-sharing arrangements between the Centre and the state, by giving legislative powers to the state governments by transferring ample resources to them for their development. At the same time, states must be involved in national policy making which will help in mitigating a sense of alienation among them,

d. One of the reasons for regional disparities and growing regionalism is the unequal economic development of the regions. Though many factors can be attributed to the underdevelopment of some regions like Northeast states, UP, Bihar etc. However, the responsibility lies on the Centre to ensure balanced regional development, encourage investment in backward regions and give special status on accounts of economic necessity to some regions.

e. In dealing with regional aspirations, it is imperative for the decision makers to act wise and cautious. We may appreciate the farsightedness of the Constitution makers who accorded special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir for it being the disputed territory and in looking into its problems of insurgency.

f. Similarly, Northern states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are under special category states as these states have hilly terrain and international borders. Thus, they get special economic assistance from the centre in terms of grants. This is not in case of other states in India. The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution allows different tribes a complete autonomy of preserving their practices and customary laws. These provisions proved crucial in resolving some very complex political problems in the Northeast.

Democracy is all about resolving conflicting interests in which government may not be able to appease all the social groups while may pacify some. The attitude of the government and its willingness to accept their demands depends on a whole lot of social, political and economic factors, in which it may try to strike out the balance between two conflicting groups. For example, Government's decision to create the state of Telengana was based on a whole lot of political considerations, and the state of Andhra, which resented such a decision, is now subjected to deep political crisis. Effectively dealing with regional aspirations to ensure their accommodation is the challenge of democracy and its real test. The Constitution of India has been flexible enough to incorporate changes to appease regional demands. Politics in India has succeeded in accepting regionalism as part and parcel of democratic politics.


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