Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Federalism Question: Maps

I personally would be happy with three states - Koshi, Gandaki, Karnali - that has the existing 75 districts, where half the MPs come from the Terai. This was the first map I drew. That was in 2005. But I don't see anyone going for it. I called it a purely economic federalism. This map would be the best one for Nepal's economic progress.

One tangent would be to go to 25 districts from the current 75, but that might be even more far fetched in terms of the political reality, but I think 25 districts would be a good idea. The district governments would be stronger.

This below was the map I proposed to try and be in the same league as the Maoist-Madhesi sentiment. The NC-UML objection I believe is more to the names of the states than the map itself. What if some states are combined and all are given geographic names? So you would combine Magarat and Tamuwan to call it Gandaki, you would combine Tamang and Newa and call it Bagmati, Kirat would be called Koshi. Khasan would be Karnali, Madhesh would be called Eastern Terai, Tharuwan would be called Western Terai. Would that be more palatable? I think so.

These two maps below do a good job of exhibiting the differences between the two camps on federalism.

What I dislike about the six province model is that it is violently disrespectful of the fact that Kanchanpur, Chitwan, Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa are integral parts of the Terai. Otherwise four states in the Hills like in that map, and two in the Terai, all six with geographical names might be a good compromise map between the two camps. The 11 province model I find treacherous. It also seems to have lost the people's mandate.

A good compromise position is that the Maoists and the Madhesis should be okay with purely geographic one word names for the states, and the NC and the UML should respect the geographical integrity of the Terai. States with names Eastern Terai and Western Terai that include Kanchanpur, Chitwan, Morang and Jhapa will be as likely to produce Pahadi Chief Ministers as Madhesi ones. Why is that not a good idea? By now a lot of Madhesis live in Kathmandu Valley. I want to see a Madhesi Chief Minister of the Bagmati state some time over the next decade.

I say create six geographic states with 25 districts from districts merged from the existing 75. As in, no new geographic boundaries.

And everyone seems to have forgotten the idea of a non geographic state for Dalits. That bothers me. Proportional elections where DaMaJaMa participation is guaranteed is a must. One third for women, 10% for Dalits, all that is a must. 49% reservation for the DaMaJaMa for all new vacancies in the bureaucracy, police and the army, all good ideas. It is called state restructuring. The biggest restructuring though is downsizing. Nepal needs a parliament that is 200 strong, not 600 strong. Not even America and India have 600 strong parliaments. The bureaucracy could be half as big, the army could be 10% as big, the police could be one third as big. All that downsizing would be good for the DaMaJaMa as well the Bahun-Chhetris, because it would be best for Nepal's economy. More teachers and health workers, less soldiers. Less red tape.

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