Punjab

Introduction

Punjab is a state in northern India that shares an international border with Pakistan and internal borders with the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan. It also shares the city of Chandigarh, a union territory, as its state capital with its neighboring state of Haryana.

The largest city within Punjab is the city of Ludhiana. The religion of Sikhism originated in Punjab and the city of Amritsar is home to the Gurdwara of Harmandir Sahib, also known popularly as the Golden Temple.

At the time of Independence (1947), Punjab occupied areas that spanned across what was to later become India and Pakistan. The region would be split between the two new countries, and the region would witness communal violence during the Partition period as populations migrated between the two new countries.

Present day Punjab, as it is organized today in India, also does not share the same boundaries as the Punjab of 1947. Most parts of modern day Punjab would fall under the state known as East Punjab, which included the complete state of modern day Haryana as well as parts of Himachal Pradesh. The state would gradually morph into its current day boundaries by 1966 however.

In 1950, the parts that now belong to Himachal Pradesh would be ceded. Meanwhile, there would be another state in the region called Patiala and East Punjab States Union, consisting of the princely states that had joined India post-1947. The two entities would be merged in 1956. Finally, Haryana would be organized as a new state in 1966, thus giving us the modern day state of Punjab.

Demographics

According to the 2011 Indian census, the population of Punjab is slightly more than 27.7 million people, with 52.8% of the population being male and 47.8% of the population being female. Punjab has a population density of 550 people per square kilometer. It’s literacy rate stands at 76.7% with males having an 81.5% literacy rate and females having a 71.3% literacy rate. Meanwhile, the urban-rural split of the population stands at 62.5-32.5%.

The major languages spoken in Punjab include Punjabi, Hindi and English. Punjab is the only Sikh majority state in India, with 57.6% of the population being Sikh and Hindus making up 38.4% of the population. Other religions include Islam and Christianity, with 1.9% of the population being Muslim and 1.3% of the population Christian.

Politics

Like the national system, the people of Punjab vote for their representatives, who then form a (unicameral) Parliament, known as the Vidhan Sabha, or the Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Punjab Vidhan Sabha consists of 117 seats for each of the states representatives.

The state’s governor is the de jure and constitutional head of the state. However, the Chief Minister position exercises the most influence as he is the head of the state government, and is usually the leader of the party with the most members in the Vidhan Sabha. The state governor invites the leading party to form a ruling government and the government’s term lasts a minimum of 5 years, but may be shorter if the Vidhan Sabha  members lose confidence in the Chief Minister.

The current chief minister is Parkash Singh Badal, who is the leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.), the party with the largest number of seats in the Vidhan Sabha. The SAD, in order to gain a majority rules alongside the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) through a coalition. Historically, the BJP has never fared well in Punjab’s elections, with the Indian National Congress (I.N.C.) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D) being the major parties in the state.

Economy

Punjab’s gross domestic product in the year 2014-15 was $57.7 billion. Punjab was a major factor during the Green Revolution and the agricultural sector remains an important part of Punjab’s economy. Despite only occupying a 1.5% of India’s territory, Punjab produces 17% of India’s wheat and 11% of India’s rice. The industrial sector also plays a massive role in Punjab’s economy, with the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) ranking it as the best state in India for infrastructure facilities. Punjab has also been declared as the state with the most ease of doing business in India, according to a study by the World Bank and KPMG. 

Uttarakhand

Introduction

Uttarakhand is a state in Northern India. It shares international borders with China and Nepal and internal borders with the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. A state well known for its temples, Uttarakhand is home to the Kedarnath temple.

The state of Uttarakhand was carved out of the larger state of Uttar Pradesh in the year 2000, along with the creation of the new states of Chattisgarh from Madhya Pradesh and Jharkahand from Bihar. The creation of Uttarakhand, (which was formerly called Uttaranchal at the time of it’s creation), was the culmination of a long movement for the recognition of Uttarakhand as a separate state. The capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun.

Notable towns and cities within the state include Nainital, Haridwar, Almora, Rishikesh and Mussoorie. Most of these places are well-known tourist spots and Uttarakhand is replete with other tourist destinations such as the Jim Corbett National Park as well.

Demographics

As of the 2011 Census, Uttarakhand had a population exceeding 10 million folks, with 30.5% of the population living in urban areas and the remaining 60.5% residing in rural areas. There were a total of 963 females for every 1000 males, with the census indicating that rural areas had an even sex ratio. The overall literacy rate for the state was 79.6%, with the male literacy rate standing at 88.3% and the female literacy rate standing at 70.7%.

The state’s population consisted of 72.12% Hindus and 10.12% Muslims as of 2014. Meanwhile, scheduled castes made up 18.93% of the population and scheduled tribes, 2.92% of the population. Languages spoken in the state include Hindi, English, Garhwali and Kumaoni. Meanwhile, Sanskrit is also considered an official language of the state.

Government

Like the national system, the people of Uttarakhand vote for their representatives, who then form a (unicameral) Parliament, known as the Vidhan Sabha, or the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly. There is only one house, equivalent to a House of Representatives, in this Parliament. The Uttarakhand Vidhan Sabha consists of 70 seats for each of the states representatives.

The states governor is the de jure and constitutional head of the state, but the Chief Minister, is the one who exercises true power as he is the head of the state government, and is usually the leader of the party with the most members in the Vidhan Sabha. The state governor invites the leading party to form their government and the term last a maximum of 5 years, or sooner if the Vidhan Sabha loses confidence in the Chief Minister.

The current chief minister of Uttarakhand is Harish Rawat, a member of the Indian National Congress (INC). The INC had won the most recent elections in the state in 2012, with then state party leader Vijay Bahuguna becoming Chief Minister. However, he was told by the INC to resign as Chief Minister in 2013 and so in early 2014 and Harish Rawat would take charge. Uttarakhand was also under President’s Rule, after a dispute over the state’s budget bill would result in the matter going to the Supreme Court.

Elections are scheduled to be held in Uttarakhand in early January next year. Although the state was formed in 2000 itself, the first elections were actually held in 2002. The party currently in power within the national government, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), held power prior to the 2002 elections but were ousted after an electoral defeat with the INC taking the victory in the first elections of 2002. They would lose the elections in 2007 however, with the BJP entering power once again. 2012 would then see the INC winning again. As such, there has been an anti-incumbent streak in Uttarakhand’s elections. Also, unlike many other Indian states, there haven’t been any regional/state level political parties who have held much sway in the state.

Geography

Uttarakhand is a state that is mostly covered in hills and mountains. The Himalayan range covers a large part of the state. The Ganga and Yamuna rivers, of prime importance for a multitude of reasons to India, both originate from glaciers in Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand is also covered in forests, with a coverage of around 61%, and the state also plays host to the tourist location of the Jim Corbett National Park.

Economy

According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), Uttarakhand has been one of the fastest growing Indian states. Its gross state domestic product was estimated to be $23 billion while its net state domestic product was estimated to be at $20 billion in 2014/15, both rising by $3 billion since the previous year. Furthermore, given the abundance of tourist locations, the tourism industry, along with the hydropower and agriculture industries are strong sectors for the Uttarakhand economy. 

Karnataka

Introduction:

Karnataka is a state located in southern India, created in 1956 after the passing of the States Reorganization Act. It was originally known as the State of Mysore, before it was renamed to Karnataka in 1973. Karnataka is bordered by Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana to the northeast, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, the Arabian Sea to the west, and Kerala to the southwest. Karnataka is the seventh largest Indian state geographically. The capital is Bengaluru (or Bangalore).

Demographics:

Hinduism is practiced by the majority of the population in Karnataka (84%), followed by Islam (12.92%). Other religions practiced in the state include Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. According to the 2011 census, the literacy rate has seen an upward trend with around 75.35% of the population being literate. Male literacy stands at 82.47%, while female literacy is at 68.08%. Out of total population, less than 50% live in urban areas.

Economy:

From 2014-15, the gross domestic product (GSDP) of Karnataka was around $115.9 billion. Between 2004-05 and 2014-15, the average GSDP was around 12.04%. Key industries in the state include biotech, aerospace, automobile, textiles, and engineering. Karnataka is a prominent IT hub, and is home to the fourth largest technology cluster in the world. One of the largest public sector employers in Karnataka is Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, responsible R&D activities for fighter aircrafts for the Indian Air Force. 

Government:

The governor, appointed for five years, is the constitutional head of the government of Karnataka and in turn appoints the chief minister and the council of ministers. The current governor is Vajubahi Vala and the chief minister is Siddaramaiah. The state legislature is bicameral and consists of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The lower house is known as the Vidhana Sabha, and the upper house is the Vidhana Parishat.

During the 2013 elections, the Indian National Congress (INC) won majority of the seats in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

Suggested Readings:

Karnataka Government and Politics by Harish Ramaswamyand S.S. Patagundi

The Territories and States of India by Tara Boland-Crewe and David Lea 

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Introduction

Dadra and Nagar Haveli is a Union Territory of India, located on India’s western coast at the foot of the Western Ghats. It is bordered by Gujarat to the north and Maharashtra to the south. The capital of Dadra & Nagar Haveli is Silvassa. The majority of the population speaks indigenous languages such as Varli, Dhodia, and Konkan, but Gujarati and Marathi are also spoken.

Demographics

The population of Dadra and Nagar Haveli is around 340,000 people, making it about 0.03% of the total population of India. The overall sex ratio is 774 per 1000 males, with a ratio of 682 per 1000 males in urban areas and 863 per 1000 males in rural areas. The literacy rate in Dadra and Nagar Haveli is 76.24% overall, with a rate of 89.79% in urban areas and 64.12% in rural areas. 53.28% of the population of Dadra and Nagar Haveli lives in rural areas, leaving the remaining 46.72% to live in urban areas. The majority (93.93%) of the population follows Hinduism. The second most popular religion is Islam (3.76%). Other religions practiced in Dadra and Nagar Haveli are Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism.

Economy

The key industries of Dadra and Nagar Haveli are textiles, and plastic processing. 

Politics

Dadra and Nagar Haveli was owned by the Portuguese prior to independence, but in 1947, the Indian government demanded that they leave the territory. Dadra and Nagar Haveli officially joined India as a union territory on August 11, 1961. Its current lieutenant governor is Shri Vikram Dev Dutt.

Further Reading

Dadra and Nagar Haveli: past and present

Integration of Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Lakshadweep

Introduction

Lakshadweep is a Union Territory of India comprised of a group of 36 islands. Its name means “a hundred thousand islands” in Malayalam and Sanskrit. The capital of Lakshadweep is Kavaratti. It is the smallest union territory in India and is comprised of one district.

Demographics

The approximate population of Lakshadweep is 64,000 people, making it the smallest population of any state or union territory in India. Despite its small size, Lakshadweep has the highest literacy rate of all the union territories (91.85%). 95.56% of the union territory’s males are literate while 87.95% of its females are literate. Lakshadweep also has the second highest sex ratio out of the union territories, 946 per 1000 males. The majority of the population of Lakshadweep follows Islam (96.58%). The second most popular religion is Hinduism, with 2.77% of the population as followers. Other religions practiced in Lakshadweep include Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Most of Lakshadweep’s population (78.07%) live in urban areas, leaving the remaining 21.93% to live in rural areas.   

Economy

Lakshadweep’s key industries are coconut farming, fishing, and tourism.

Politics

Lakshadweep became a union territory in 1956, and was named Lakshadweep in 1973. The lieutenant governor of Lakshadweep is Shri Vijay Kumar IAS.

Further Reading

Lakshadweep: History, Religion, and Society

Lakshadweep, economy and society

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Introduction

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a set of islands located to the east of India, which do not constitute a state, but rather a union territory. Its capital is Port Blair. The majority of the Andaman population speaks Hindi or Bengali. Other common languages are Tamil, Malayalam, and Telegu. Furthermore, the indigenous population of the islands speaks Andamanese. The islands are comprised of 3 districts

Demographics

The population of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is approximately 380,000 people. Of this number, 64.33% comprise the rural population and the remaining 35.67% comprise the urban population. The sex ratio in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is 878 per 1000 males, with a ratio of 891 per 1000 males in urban areas and 871 per 1000 males in rural areas. The literacy rate in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is 86.27%, with a 84.39% rate in rural areas and a 89.6% rate in urban areas. The majority of the population of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands follows Hinduism (69.45%). The next largest religion is Christianity, with 21.28% of the population as followers. Other religions practiced in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands include Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

Economy

The main industries in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. In 2010, the territory’s gross state domestic product (GSDP) was $810 million. Data on the territory’s unemployment rate could not be found, but according to researchers, it receives a high score on unemployment, though not the highest in India.

Politics

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are politically ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the territory’s lieutenant governor is Retired General A.K. Singh of the same party.

Further Reading

Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A Geo-political and Strategic Perspective

Andaman and Nicobar Islands: India’s Strategic Outpost (The Diplomat)

Odisha

 

Introduction:

Odisha, formerly Orissa, is located along the eastern coast of India. The state is surrounded by West Bengal to the north-west, Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and north-west, and Andhra Pradesh to the south and south-west. The state of Orissa was established in 1936 as a province of British India. In 2011, the state’s name was changed from Orissa to Odisha, and the name of the language from Oria to Odia. The capital of Odisha is Bhubaneswar.

Demographics:

The majority of the population in Odisha follow Hinduism (93.63%), followed by Christianity (2.77%). Other religions that are practiced include Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. According to a 2011 census, out of the total population in the state, around 16.69% live in urban regions. In the last ten years, the urban population has increased by close to 17%. The average literacy rate in Odisha stood at 85.75%, in which males were 90.72% literate while female literacy stood at 74.31%.

Economy:

Between 2004-05 and 2015-15, Odisha witnessed high growth rates, with the gross state domestic product (GSDP) expanding at a compound annual rate of 11.5%. The state has emerged as a key leader in the mineral and metal based industries. Other key industries include iron, steel, and aluminum production. Odisha is the first state in India to have undertaken reforms in the power sector. According to a study by the World Bank, the state ranks 7th in regards to the ease of doing business and reform implementation. 

 

 

 

 

Government:

The government of Odisha consists of the executive, judiciary, and legislative branch. The governor of Odisha is Dr. S.C. Jamir, and is appointed by the President of India. The Chief Minster is Naveen Patnaik, and is the head of the government. Bhubaneswar houses the Vidhan Sabha, or the Legislative Assembly, and the secretariat. The Vidhan Shaba is unicameral and consists of 147 members of the legislative assembly (MLA).

Suggested Readings:

Make in Odisha: Make in States of India by Nirmala Teiva

Orissa: Its Geography, Statistics, History, Religion, and Antiquities by Andrew Sterling and James Peggs

Madhya Pradesh

Introduction

Madhya Pradesh, the second largest state by area and the fifth largest state by population is a state in central India. It is known as the heart of India due to its central location. It was the largest state in India till the formation of Chhattisgarh in 2000. Madhya Pradesh is bordered by the states of Rajasthan to the northwest, Uttar Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Gujarat to the west and Maharashtra to the south. The capital of Madhya Pradesh is Bhopal.

Demographics

As per the 2011 census, Madhya Pradesh has a population of approximately 72 million people. Among them, the majority of the population practices Hinduism (90.89%) followed by Islam (6.57%).  In Madhya Pradesh, 72.37% of the population lives in rural areas whereas the remaining 27.63% live in urban areas. The average literacy rate is 69.3%. Rural areas have an average literacy rate of 63.94% while urban areas have a literacy rate of 82.85%. Madhya Pradesh has a sex ratio of 931 females per 1000 males, which is below the national average of 940. The official language of the state is Hindu and is the most widely spoken, followed by Marathi.

Economy

Madhya Pradesh is currently one of the fastest growing states in India, with a gross domestic state product (GDSP) of $84.27 billion in 2014-2015. Madhya Pradesh has a primarily agrarian economy. Due to the state’s soil and climatic conditions, it is a primary producer of coarse cereals, oilseeds and soybean. Its key industries include auto industry, agro-based and forest-based industries, textiles, manufacturing and tourism. The state is rich in natural resources like fuels, minerals, agriculture and biodiversity. Madhya Pradesh has the largest reserves of diamond and copper in India as well as 8.3% of India’s coal reserves. According to a study by the World Bank and KPMG, Madhya Pradesh ranks fifth among states in India in terms of the ease of doing business and reforms implementation.

 

Politics

The current Governor of Madhya Pradesh, who is the constitutional head of the state, is Ram Naresh Yadav. The current Chief Minister (CM) Shivraj Singh Chouhan heads the state legislature. The Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly is unicameral and comprised of 230 members. The main political parties are the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Congress. The current Governor and CM are from the BJP. In the 2013 state assembly elections, the BJP won 165 out of 230 seats, defeating the Congress. The CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan was elected as the Chief Minister for a third term.

Further reading

Madhya Pradesh: The undiscovered polity of India (DNA India)

Pai, S. (2010). Developmental state and the Dalit question in Madhya Pradesh: Congress response. New Delhi: Routledge. 

Jammu and Kashmir

Introduction

Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India, and the site of a decades-long conflict. It is bordered by Himachal Pradesh and Punjab in the south, and Pakistan and China on either side.

The First Kashmir War (1947-48) came at a time when Pakistan was still in disarray following Partition, and was thus highly asymmetric

India then moved to the U.N Security Council resulting in the passage of Resolution 47  that set the condition of a plebiscite (to be conducted by the Indian state) and of Pakistan’s withdrawal from Jammu and Kashmir. The Resolution has become one of the sites of contestation on the Kashmir issue.

Today, different parts of Kashmir are under different powers. Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan were seized by Pakistan during in the First Kashmir War. Aksai Chin was occupied by China during the 1962 war with India, and a portion of Gilgit Baltistan was gifted to China by Pakistan in recognition of their alliance vis-a-vis India.

Roots of Conflict

The area of Jammu and Kashmir was, at the time of Independence, a princely state under Maharaja Hari Singh. The monarch was Hindu, but the state itself had a Muslim majority population, many of whom supported the Muslim League. Maharaja Singh initially refused to accede to both India and Pakistan, but this changed following the violation of a standstill agreement by Pakistan. Nehru agreed to assist the Maharaja on the condition that he sign an Instrument of Accession.

Demographics

Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has a population of 12.5 million, as per the 2011 Census and a sex ratio of 889 per 1000 males, putting it far below the national average of 943. The literacy rate stands at 76.25% for men and 56.43% for women. There are 85 million Muslims living in J&K, making it the only Muslim majority state in India. Hindus number at 35 million, Sikhs at 2.3 million and Christians at 35,000. The state is predominantly rural at 72.63 percent as of 2011. Srinagar has the highest proportion of urban residents at 98.6 percent.

Under Article 35A, the J&K government retains the right to deny citizenship to individuals from outside the state. 

Economy

The gross state domestic product (GSDP) of Jammu & Kashmir was US$14.46 billion in 2014-15, putting it in the lower third in state ranking. Militancy and violence have impeded the state’s growth, however the GSDP has continued to grow at an compound annual rate of 9.03% since 2004-05.

The agriculture sector forms the bulk of J&K’s economy, with 70% of its population reliant on it for their livelihood. The industries sector constitutes 25.87% of the GSDP (at constant 2004-05 prices), and J&K is hoping to attract further investment in this sector through the Make in India. Tourism is another important source of income for the state, and is on the road to recovery following a slump in 2001-02 when militancy-related deaths peaked. 

Politics

The key political parties in Jammu and Kashmir are the J&K People’s Democratic Party (JKPDP), J&K National Conference (JKNC), BJP and Congress. Following the 2014 Assembly Elections, the PDP-BJP alliance came to power headed by Mehbooba Mufti. Mufti is the first woman Chief Minister of the state. The main opposing alliance of the JKNC and Congress won only 27 out 89 seats. The opposition leader, Omar Abdullah, is the scion of one of the first families of Indian politics, with his father and grandfather both having served as Chief Ministers of the state.

Further Reading

M.J Akbar, Kashmir: Behind the Vale (Lotus Collection Roli Books, 2011)

Tariq Ali, Kashmir: A Case for Freedom (Verso, 2011)

Telangana

Introduction

Telangana is the newest state of India, formed on June 2, 2014. It is bordered by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh to the north, Karnataka to the west, and Andhra Pradesh to the south. Some of the major cities of Telangana include Warangal and Hyderabad, which is also the capital of the state. Telangana shares Hyderabad as the capital with Andhra Pradesh. Telangana used to be part of Andhra Pradesh until it split off in 2014. The state is comprised of 10 districts. The official languages of Telangana are Urdu and Telugu.

Demographics

The population of Telangana, despite its recent formation, is approximately 3.5 million people. This figure makes it the 12th most populous state in India. The sex ratio is 988 per 1000 males, with a ratio of 999 per 1000 males in rural areas and 970 per 1000 males in urban areas. 66.46% of Telangana’s population is literate, with a large disparity in the literacy rates of males (74.95%) and females (57.92%). 61.33% of Telangana’s population lives in rural areas, leaving the remaining 38.67% to live in urban areas. The most popular religion in the state is Hinduism, with 86% of the population as followers. The second most popular religion is Islam (12.4%). Other religions practiced in Telangana are Christianity, Sikhism, and Buddhism.   

Economy

Among Telangana’s key industries are IT, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, and tourism. The state is so advanced in technology that a part of the capital, Hyderabad, has been dubbed “Cyberabad” because of all the technology production that occurs there. In 2014-15, Telangana had a gross state domestic product (GSDP) of 71.1 billion dollars. As of 2014, the unemployment rate is about 2.9%, with a rate of 1.6% in the rural areas and 6.9% in the urban areas.

Politics

As mentioned before, Telangana is the newest state and was only formed in 2014. Four years prior to Telangana gaining its statehood, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) engaged in many peaceful protests against the Andhra Pradesh government. In 2013, the party finally began the process of forming a separate state. When Telangana officially became a state, Sri K. Chandrashekar Rao became its Chief Minister.

Further Reading

From 1948 to 2013: A brief history of the Telangana movement (Firstpost)

Telangana: History and Political Sociology of a Movement

Meghalaya

Introduction

Meghalaya is a state located in the Northeast of India, bordered by Assam to the north and Bangladesh to the south. Its capital is Shillong. The state has many official languages, including English, Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia. Other languages spoken in Meghalaya include Nepali, Haijong, Pnar-Synteng, Bengali, Assamese, and Hindi. Meghalaya is comprised of 7 districts.

 

Demographics

The population of Meghalaya is approximately 2.9 million persons, making it 0.25% of India’s total population. However, according to Meghalaya’s 2011 census, it is experiencing rapid population growth and indeed has the third-fastest growing state population in India. The sex ratio in Meghalaya is 989 per 1000 males, with 1001 per 1000 males in the urban areas and 986 per 1000 males in rural areas. The state’s literacy rate is 74.43%. In Meghalaya, males on average are more literate (75.95%) than females (72.89%). 74.59% of the population of Meghalaya follows Christianity, making it the most popular religion in the state. Hinduism is the next most popular religion, with 11.53% of the state’s population as followers. Other religions practiced in Meghalaya include Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. 20.07% of Meghalaya’s population lives in urban areas, leaving the remaining 79.93% to live in rural areas. Thus the state is largely rural.

Source

Economy

In 2014-15, Meghalaya’s gross state domestic product (GSDP) was $4.2 billion. Its key industries include agriculture, mining, tourism, and handicrafts. The majority of the state’s economy comes from its agriculture. Meghalaya produces various crops such as rice, corn, cotton, chillies, and potatoes. According to data from the 2009-10 census, Meghalaya’s unemployment rate is 11.6%.

Politics

Meghalaya became an autonomous state on January 21, 1972, as it was carved out of Assam. Thus the state is relatively young compared to India’s other states. Meghalaya’s current chief minister is Dr. Mukul Sangma of the Indian National Congress party, and its governor is Shri V. Shanmuganathan.

 

Further Reading

India’s undiscovered gem: the hills of Meghalaya (The Guardian)

Goa

Introduction

Goa is the smallest state in India, located on its western coast. It is bordered by Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the south. Its capital is Panaji, but the largest city in the state is Vasco de Gama as per the 2011 census. The official language of the state is Konkani but English and Marathi are also spoken. Goa is comprised of 2 districts.

Demographics

The population of Goa, as of 2011, was approximately 1 million people. This figure means that Goa comprises 0.12% of the total population of India. The overall sex ratio of the state is 973 per 1000 males, with a ratio of 956 per 1000 males in urban areas and 1003 per 1000 males in rural areas. Goa’s literacy rate has increased substantially and currently resides at 88.70%. However, there is a large gender disparity in literacy rate, as males have a literacy rate of 92.65% while females have a literacy rate of 84.66%. Despite large Portuguese influence in the state, the majority of Goans (66.08%) still follow Hinduism. However, Christianity is the second largest religion with 25.10% of the population as followers. Other religions practiced in Goa are Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism. The majority of Goa’s population (62.17%) lives in urban areas, leaving 37.83% to live in rural areas.

Economy

Goa’s gross state domestic product (GSDP) in 2014-15 was approximately $8.23 billion, the highest in the entire country. Its key industries include tourism due to its beautiful beaches and scenery, as well as mining, pharmaceuticals, and fishing. Although Goa is a small state, it collects much revenue through the tourism industry. However, despite this fact, unemployment in Goa remains high. 8.5% of Goa’s population is unemployed, according to an article from June 2015.

Politics

Although the majority of India fell under the rule of the British prior to independence, Goa used to be occupied by the Portuguese. However, it joined India in 1962 and gained statehood in 1987. The first two parties in Goa were the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the United Goans Party (UGP). The MGP emerged victorious in the first election. The major conflict between the two parties emerged from the question of Goa’s identity. Supporters of the MGP felt that Goa’s identity was close to Maharashtra’s, while the UGP stuck closely to their Goan identity. In 1992, the UGP finally got its way and Konkani became the official language of Goa. Goa’s current Chief Minister is Laxmikant Parsekar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its governor is Smt. Mridula Sinha, also of the BJP.

Further Reading

Rubinoff, A.G. 2013. How Different Are Goa’s Politics?. Studies in Indian Politics, 1(2): 203-212. 

Chhattisgarh

Introduction:

Chhattisgarh is a state in central India that was formed on November 1, 2000 out of 16 districts from the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is bordered by the states of Uttar Pradesh to the north, Odisha and Jharkhand to the east, Telangana to the south, and Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to the west. Chhattisgarh is the tenth largest state by area and its capital is Raipur.

Demographics:

According to the 2011 census, Chhattisgarh has a population of 25.5 million people. Around three-fourths of the population (76.76%) lives in rural areas while the rest of the population (23.24%) lives in urban areas. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes constitute more than50% of the state’s population.  The majority of the population practices Hinduism (93.25%) followed by Islam (2.02%). Other religions practiced in the state include Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. The state has a sex ratio of 991 per 1000 males, which is above the national average of 940 females per 1000 males. In the rural areas, the sex ratio is 1001 per 1000 males whereas it is 956 per 1000 males in the urban areas. The average literacy rate in Chhattisgarh is 70.28%. Urban areas have a higher rate of literacy of 90.58% compared to a literacy rate of 66% in rural areas. The official language of Chhattisgarh and the most widely spoken is Hindi, followed by Chhattisgarhi.

Economy:

While agriculture is one of the main activities, there are other key industries like mining, iron and steel, cement, power, IT and biotechnology that drive the economy of Chhattisgarh. In 2014-2015, Chhattisgarh had an annual gross state domestic product (GDSP) of Rs. 2.2 lakh crore and had a growth rate of 7%. Chhattisgarh is one of the few states in India that has surplus power and the Korba district in is known as the power capital of India. Chhattisgarh is rich in mineral resources and is the leading producer of coal, iron ore, bauxite, limestone and dolomite. Coal, iron ore and dolomite account for 22.6 %, 19.8 % and 36.5% of India’s production, respectively. Chhattisgarh is an attractive investment destination and has been acclaimed as one of the best fiscally managed states by the Reserve Bank of India. Furthermore, according to a study by the World Bank and KPMG, Chhattisgarh is ranked fourth among states in India with respect to the ease of doing business and implementation of reforms.

Politics:

Chhattisgarh, like other states, has a Governor as the nominal head of the state and the Chief Minister (CM) as the head of the Chhattisgarh state legislature. The current Governor of Chhattisgarh is Balram Das Tandon and the current CM is Raman Singh. The Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly is a unicameral legislature that comprises of 90 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs). The main political parties in Chhattisgarh are the BJP, Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). In the last state assembly elections held in 2013, BJP defeated Congress to win 49 seats out of 90, electing Raman Singh as the CM for the third time. 

 

Further reading

Sen, Ilina. (2014). Inside Chhattisgarh: A political memoir. Gurgaon: Penguin Books India. 

Arunachal Pradesh

Introduction

Arunachal Pradesh is the northeastern-most state of the Republic of India. The capital of Arunachal Pradesh is Itanagar. Due to its position in India, the only other Indian states that it borders are Assam and Nagaland to the south. Furthermore, it borders China to its north, Myanmar to the east, and Bhutan on its eastern border.

Demographics

This state has a population of about 1.4 million Indians, with men slightly outnumbering women, according to India’s 2011 census. Of this population, around 73% of the males are literate while 58% of the females are literate. This was an increase of 9% and 14% for the male and female populations respectively since the 2001 census was taken. Regarding the religions of Arunachal Pradesh, the most prevalent religion is Christianity with 30% of the population practicing. Other religions include Hinduism with 29%, Buddhism at 12%, Islam at 2%, and other minority religions constituting the rest.

Economy

Due to the large amount of land and forestry present in Arunachal Pradesh, agriculture is the most important industry in the state. Also important are industries related to the forest, employing large numbers of people as well. Outside of these industries, tea, cement, and petrochemicals are also significant producers of employment.

Political Parties

The government of Arunachal Pradesh currently has 60 members in its legislature, which is unicameral. It has been that way since the State of Arunachal Pradesh was formally established in 1987. Some of the major political parties of the state include the Arunachal Congress, Arunachal Congress (Mithi), Bharatiya Janata Party or the BJP. Most recently, Kalikho Pul became the newest Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, who received the support of several different political parties, including the aforementioned BJP, among others.

Arunachal Pradesh had their first governing council established in 1975 due to the 37th Constitutional Amendment Act 1975 and a Lieutenant Governor was appointed for the state. This council then went on to have 23 members by 1978, which is when the state had their first elected Legislative Assembly. This elected Assembly, however, actually consisted of 30 elected and 3 nominated members. Despite this legislature having just been formed, it was dissolved in 1979, the only to be reinstated in 1980. Since then, the Legislative Assembly has been functioning in the state.

Suggested Reading

Sharma, Suresh K. Documents on North-East India: Arunachal Pradesh. [Mittal Publications, 2005].

Planning Commission. Arunachal Pradesh Development Report. [Academic Foundation, 2001].

Himachal Pradesh

Introduction

Himachal Pradesh is located in north India. The state is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir in the north, Punjab in the west, Haryana in the south-west, and Uttarakhand in the south-east. Himachal Pradesh is known for its hill stations, landscapes, and temples. The capital is Shimla.

Demographics

The majority of the population in Himachal Pradesh follows Hinduism (around 95.17%, followed by Islam (2.18%). Other religions that are practiced include Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, and Buddhism. According to a 2011 census, the total population of Himachal Pradesh formed 0.57 percent of India; in 2001, it was 0.59 percent. The average literary rate for urban regions stood at 91.10%, in which males were 93.42% literate while female literacy stood at 74.25%. 

Economy

Himachal Pradesh is one of the fastest growing states in India. Between 2004-05 and 2014-15, the gross state domestic product (GSDP) grew at a compound annual rate of 10.2%. The economy is primarily fueled by textiles, pharmaceuticals, and tourism. Other key industries include light engineering, IT, electronics, and hydropower. The state accounts for almost 25% of India’s total hydro power potential.

Government

The government of Himachal Pradesh consists of an executive branch (led by the Governor), a judiciary, and a legislative branch. The governor, considered the head of state, is appointed by the President of India. The current Governor is Acharya Dev Vrat, and the Chief Minister is Virbhadra Singh. The capital, Shimla, houses the Vidhan Sabha (the legislative) and the secretariat.

 

Suggested Readings:

People of India: Himachal Pradesh by K.S. Singh and B.R. Sharma

Social, Cultural, and Economic History of Himachal Pradesh by Manjit Singh Ahluwalia

Industrialization in Himachal Pradesh by Rashmi Chaudhray, S.S. Narta, Yasmin Janjhua

 

Delhi

Introduction


The Union Territory of New Delhi is the administrative center of India, and has been since the British moved the capital from Kolkata in 1931. Enveloped mostly by Haryana and partly by Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi is only 1,483 sq km in area but, in 2014, became the second most populous city in the world after Tokyo.

Demographics

As of 2014, Delhi has an estimated 25 million inhabitants, a number expected to double in the next 15 years. In 2011, 1.7 million people in Delhi resided in slums.

Delhi’s sex ratio stood at 868 per 1000 males in 2014, putting it below the national average. However, the literacy rate in the national capital is above the average of 74.4%: 86.2% of the state’s population is literate, and 80.8% of women have basic literacy.

Delhi remains, however, a city that is plagued by safety issues for women. In 2014, there were 2,096 reported cases of rape, making it the least safe city in India for women.

Delhi houses a very diverse population, drawn from all over the country. The most widely spoken languages are Hindi, Punjabi, Bihari and Haryanvi.

Economy

The 2014-15 Economic Survey put Delhi’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) at Rs. 451,154 cr. Delhi’s economy is dominated by the tertiary sector (primarily banking, financial services, IT and tourism), which contributes about 90% to the GSDP. The population of Delhi is also one of the wealthiest in the nation, with a per capita income of 2.41 lakh, which is three times the national average.

To fuel its economy and population, Delhi is investing in energy reform: cutting transmission losses and investing in solar energy. A new Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) Power Plant of 2.14 MWp has been commissioned and installed at Indira Gandhi International Airport

Politics

Delhi is the seat of the Central Government and historically, there has been considerable tension between it and the state government. There was a period of roughly four decades when the Delhi Assembly and the office of Chief Minister of Delhi was abolished (allegedly) partly due to these tensions and partly due to the States Reorganization Act (1956) that classified Delhi as a Union Territory without legislative rights. These powers were returned to Delhi under The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act (1991) with the restoration of the Delhi Legislative Assembly and Council of Ministers. Between 1993 and 1998, BJP held the state. From 1998 to December 2014, Congress’ Sheila Dixit held the office, making her the longest-serving Chief Minister to date.

The 2013 State Assembly elections saw a near-tie between BJP and the newly-formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), followed by the Congress at a distant third, resulting in a hung assembly. Arvind Kejriwal (AAP) came to power with Congress support but resigned shortly after due to the non-passage of the Lokpal Bill. Kejriwal returned to power in 2015 with an overwhelming majority, however tensions with the BJP at the center continue.

Suggested Reading

Rana Dasgupta, Capital: The Eruption of the Delhi (Canongate Books, 2014)

Sanjay Kumar, Changing Electoral Politics in Delhi: From Caste to Class (SAGE Publications India, 2013)

William Dalrymple, City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi (Penguin, 2003)

Maharashtra

Introduction

Maharashtra is an Indian state located on its western coast, and is bordered by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Goa. The state’s western border is formed by Nagar Haveli and the Arabian Sea. The capital of Maharashtra is Mumbai, a major political, economic, and social hub for all of India. The state has 35 districts and its predominant language is Marathi.

Demographics

According to the most recent census conducted in 2011, Maharashtra’s population is 112 million people. This figure makes it the second largest state population in India, after Uttar Pradesh. Maharashtra has a sex ratio of 922 per 1000 males. This ratio is lower than the national average of 940 per 1000 males. 82.34% of the population of Maharashtra is literate and 88.38% of males are literate while 75.87% of females are literate. The majority of Maharashtra (79.83%) follows Hinduism. Islam is the largest minority, with 11.54% of the population as followers. Other religions practiced in Maharashtra are Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, and Sikhism. 45.22% of Maharashtra’s population lives in urban areas, while the remaining 54.78% lives in rural areas. The sex ratio in urban areas in much lower than in the rural regions, a difference between 903 per 1000 males and 952 per 1000 males.

Economy

Maharashtra is the largest state economy in India and has an annual gross state domestic product (GSDP) of Rs. 16.87 lakh crore. In 2014-15, the state produced 12.98% of India’s gross domestic product. Its key industries include pharmaceuticals, electronics, oil and gas, sugar, and textiles. Maharashtra’s unemployment rate is 1%, while 60% of its population is employed and the remaining 39% are not in the labor force. Mumbai, the financial center of the country, accounts for 25% industrial output, 5% of India's GDP and also 70% of the capital transactions in Indian economy.

Politics

Sharad Pawar, the youngest Chief Minister of Maharashtra, formed his own party, the Nationalist Congress Party as a spinoff of the Indian National Congress party. However, he joined the Congress in New Delhi, eliminating the leftist influence in the state. In the past 20 years, Maharashtra’s politics have featured competition between Right and Centrist parties. Historically, the centrist Shiv Sena Party (SS) has been prominent; however, in the 2014 elections, the more conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged victorious. The current chief minister of Maharashtra is Devendra Fadnavis and the governor is Shri Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao, both of the BJP.

Further Reading

Attwood, D.W. 1992. Raising cane: the political economy of sugar in western India. Boulder: Westview Press.  

The Economist, "Maharashtra

 

 

Andhra Pradesh

Introduction

Andhra Pradesh is located on the southweastern coast of India and is the eighth largest state by area. The state is bordered by Telangana in the north-west, Chhattisgarh in the north, Odisha in the north-east, Karnataka in the west, Tamil Nadu in the south, and Bay of Bengal in the east. Telangana was originally a region within Andhra Pradesh, but in 2014, it became its own state. The capital of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is Hyderabad.

Demographics

The majority of the population in Andhra Pradesh follows Hinduism (around 88.46%), followed by Islam (9.56%). Other religions that are practiced include Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. Out of the total population in the state, less than half (around 33%) live in urban regions. According to the 2011 census, the urban population increased by 33% in the last ten years. The average literacy in the state in the urban regions stood at about 80%, in which males were 85.79% literate while female literacy stood at 73.31%.

Economy

The economy of Andhra Pradesh is primarily fueled by agriculture, industry, and the service sectors. Other key industries include biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, tourism, gems, and jewelry. Andhra Pradesh’s gross state domestic product (GSDP) was estimated to be around $85.8 billion over 2014-15. The average annual GSDP growth rate was 11% between 2004-05 and 2014-15.  For FY 2015-16, the state government proposed a budget of $18.75 billion, with special emphasis on education, the energy sector, irrigation, and rural development.

Politics

The government of Andhra Pradesh consists of 175 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) for a five-year term. It is a democratically elected body, with the Governor as the constitutional head. The Governor, in turn, appoints the Chief Minister and his council of ministers. The current Governor is Ekkadu Srnivasan Lakshmi Narashimhan and the Chief Minister is N. Chandrababu Naidu. The Andhra Pradesh Legislature is bicameral consisting of the Legislative Assembly (175 MLAs) and the Legislative Council (56 MLCs or members of the legislative council).

 Suggested Readings:

 A State in Periodic Crises: Andhra Pradesh by BPR Vithal

Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhraby Cynthia Talbot

Socio-Economic Profile of Agricultural Labour in Navya Andhra Pradeshby Talluri Joseph Exodus

Haryana

Introduction

Haryana is a state in North India, formed in 1966 through the States’ Reorganisation Act (1965). It is surrounded by Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. It shares its capital, Chandigarh, with Punjab. Its contested status has led to Chandigarh being classified as a Union Territory.

Demographics

The 2011 Census puts Haryana’s population at 25.4 million, and a rural to urban ratio of about 2:1. Haryana has the dubious distinction of being below the national average with a sex ratio of 0.87. The heavily skewed sex ratio is a result of rampant female foeticide. Concerns over the same led to a Supreme Court directive in January 2015 to accelerate decision on offences of sex determination and female foeticide.  Female literacy stands at 65.94%, compared to 75.5% among men, but has shown an improvement over the 2001 figure of 55.73%.

Haryana’s largest ethnic groups are Jats, Ahirs and Sainis. The Jats, despite being a dominant caste in Haryana, have recently begun agitating for inclusion in the OBC (Other Backward Class) list due to growing job insecurity in agriculture, a sector in which they were historically predominantly employed.  

Economy

Haryana is one of the most prosperous states in India, and has the second-highest per capita income Rs. 128,341. Haryana grew prosperous as a first wave state during the Green Revolution that modernized agriculture. However, it has since made the transition to industry and services. Thus in the 1960s, agriculture accounted for 60.7% of Haryana’s GSVA (Gross State Value Added), but by 2015-16, agriculture constituted 18.2% of GSVA.

Haryana also seeks to increase its footprint in the IT industry through the Information Technology and Action Plan . Additionally, on August 11, 2015, the Haryana government announced its new Industrial Policy easing restrictions on industry and investment: a move that, according to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar (INC) will “…create four lakh jobs and accelerate economic growth to more than eight per cent. The new Policy will catalyse Haryana’s position as a pre-eminent investment destination and facilitate balanced regional and sustainable development supported by a dynamic governance system and wide scale adoption of innovation and technology.”

Political Parties

Prior to the reorganization of the Punjab Province, Sikhs formed about 35% of the state’s population while Hindus constituted 62%. Two parallel movements influenced the formation of Haryana. First, the Vishal Haryana Movement (1958), though largely unsuccessful, which germinated the idea of a separate Haryanvi identity. Second, the Punjabi Suba Movement (1950s), spearheaded by Akali Dal, which grew from a drive to protect Sikh religious, ethnic and linguistic identity. Thus, the Hindi-speaking portion of the state was ceded and became Haryana. 

The main political parties in Haryana today are Congress, Lok Dal (INLD), Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC- BL) and BJP. Congress’s Bhupinder Singh Hooda secured two terms between 2005 and 2014. However, the BJP dominated the 2014 State Assembly elections, winning 47 of 85 seats.

Suggested Readings

Bhim S. Dahiya, Power Politics in Haryana: A View from the Bridge (Gyan Publishing House, 2008)

Paul R. Brass, Language, Religion and Politics in North India, (University of Washington, 2005)

Bihar

Introduction

Bihar is an eastern state that borders Nepal, and is surrounded by Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.  Historically, Bihar was a center of learning and is home to one of the oldest universities in the world, Nalanda, destroyed in 1193 and revived in 2014.  In 2000, the southern part of Bihar was ceded and became the new state of Jharkhand under the States Reorganisation Act (1956).

Demographics

Bihar is India’s third most populous state, with a population of 100 million.  According to the 2011 Census, the state’s sex ratio is 0.91, with a 53.3% prevalence of literacy among women.   This eastern state is predominantly rural, with 88.71% falling in this category. Hindus constitute nearly 83% of Bihar’s population, followed by Muslims (16%), Christians (0.12%), Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains (0.01% to 0.02% each)

Languages spoken in Bihar include Bhojpuri, Maithili, Magahi and many other dialects of Hindi.

Economy

According to the 2015-16 Economic Survey tabled in the Bihar State Assembly, the fastest growing sector in the state is the service sector, with banking, tourism and communication all registering growth rates of more than 15%. Agriculture, the sector that employs nearly 90% of the state’s population, only grew at 6.09%.

By per capita income, Bihar is at the bottom rung, and the per capita power consumption in Bihar is 144 kilo watt hour (kwh), 85% lower than the national average of 927 kwh. Only 26% of rural households are electrified. A proposed nuclear project will triple Bihar’s nuclear power generation capacity to 13,480 Mw by 2026.

 

Political Parties

Janata Dal (United) or JDU has dominated the state since its inception in 1999. JDU grew out of a split in the Janata Party, which led India’s first non-Congress government in 1977, and was founded by Sharad Yadav. Its current leader, Nitish Kumar, recently won his fifth term as Chief Minister.

Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has been the JDU’s main opposition party. Founded in 1997, the JDU has secured four terms under Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi. Its support base comes from the minorities of Bihar, including its sizeable Muslim population.

 

The Congress has a presence in Bihar as well, but has not won an election since 1990. In the 1970s, when Indira Gandhi was in power, the Congress faced opposition during the Bihar Movement under Jayaprakash Narayan. JP, as he was known, led the student protest against corruption and misrule by the Bihar government.  This was also a period of massive youth unemployment and food shortages,

Bihar has been under President’s Rule eight times since Independence, often due to the ruling party losing its majority through defections.

Suggested Readings

Mohammad Sajjad, Muslim Politics in Bihar: Changing Contours, (Routledge 2014)

Ghosh, Prabhat P.. (2010). “Economic growth and human development in Bihar”. Ray, Shovan, ed. Backwaters of development: six deprived states of India (Oxford University Press, 2010)