There are many people in Assam opposed to the continuance of the special category status to the State. Assam is one of the 11 special category States which suffer from economic and infrastructure deficiencies due to their geographical location and difficult terrain. They are the eight north-eastern States, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. A special category State gets a higher share of the Centre’s resource allocation to bring it on a par with developed States. However, our experience of what has happened to the grant of Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Scheduled Caste (SC) status to disadvantaged sections of society has done to them over the years cannot be ignored. What the drafters of the Indian Constitution envisaged as an essential requirement for a period of ten years has been turned into the most potent instrument for electoral advantages. Our lawmakers amended the Constitution to remove the time limit set for these reservations and to make them permanent devices to win votes for getting a community listed as backward. We have seen the consequences of permanently removing the principle of merit and competition for certain sections of our population even long after they got out their initial disadvantages. By creating special category States and keeping them in that category permanently, the Centre can ensure the perpetuation of disadvantages to them by jettisoning the principles of merit and competition. Those who have the best interests of Assam at heart know that by giving a perfectly healthy State crutches for ever, the Centre can turn them into unproductive hinterlands for all times to come. Competition alone will take us where the advanced States of India are going.
Special Status for Assam