Reorganization of States

By 15th August 1947, most of the princely states had acceded to Union of India except three states viz. Kashmir, Junagarh, and Hyderabad, in the matters of defence, foreign affairs, and communication. These princely states were politically integrated into the Indian Union by 1950. Also, these states were completely subordinated to the federal center by using democratization as a means.

This phase of political integration faced two-fold objectives:-

  1. Of transforming the states into viable administrative units
  2. Of absorbing them into the constitutional units

Transformation into viable Administrative units

To achieve these objectives, most of these states were amalgamated into existing provinces of the union and others were reorganized into new provinces such as Vindhya or Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajputana, made up of multiple princely states. Few states like Bilaspur, Hyderabad, Mysore, and Bhopal were turned into separate provinces.

Apart from this, it was decided that some states would be centrally administered for strategic and special reasons. Few examples of such states included Tripura, Manipur, Vindhya Pradesh, and Bhopal etc.

Simultaneously, five unions of states were created. These unions included Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), Rajasthan, United States of Matsya, United States of Kathiawar, and United States of Travancore-Cochin.

Creation of Constitutional Units

The constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950. It made India a sovereign democratic republic. The Republic of India was declared to be a Union of States under the new constitution. The constitution of India divided the states into four parts Part-A, Part-B, Part-C, and Part-D.

Part-A states: there were a total nine states under Part-A. These states were the former governor s provinces of British India. These states were to be administered by an elected Governor and a state legislature. They were organized by incorporating smaller states into contiguous provinces. For example, Gujarat and the Deccan were incorporated into Bombay, some of the Eastern states and states of Chhattisgarh were integrated into Orissa and the states of Kathiawar were merged into a new state named Saurashtra. The nine Part-A states included Bombay, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh (former United Province), Madhya Pradesh (former central province), Punjab, Orissa, Madras, Assam, and Bihar.

Part-B states: there were a total of eight Part-B states. Part B States included the major princely states that joined India. The executive heads of the Part B states were designated as Raj Pramukhs. They would be ruled like the Part A States with legislatures and Councils of Ministers. The rajpramukhs, who were mainly former princes, were appointed by the President of India. The eight Part-B states included Mysore, Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Travancore-Cochin, Saurashtra, Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), and Madhya Bharat (a new state, formed by integrating Indore, Gwalior and the other Central Indian States).

Part-C states: there were a total of ten Part-C states. The smaller princely states that joined India were merged and constituted as the Part C States along with some of the old Chief Commissioner's Provinces. The executive head of a Part C State would be either a Chief Commissioner or a Lieutenant-Governor. Parliament could create legislatures and Councils of Advisers/Ministers in such states. The ten Part-C states included Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Kutch, Ajmer, Bilaspur, Vindhya Pradesh, Bhopal, Tripura, Manipur, and Coorg.

Part-D states: The extremely backward Andaman and Nicobar Islands were constituted as a Part D State. The Part D State of Andaman and Nicobar would be governed by the President of India through a Chief Commissioner.

The process of democratization of the States

  • More important than such territorial integration was the initiation of democratic reforms and institution of popular accountable ministries in many of these states.
  • The merger and democratization of the Princely polities made them analogous to the rest of the country as regards to the manner of governance.
  • In April 1948, new instruments of accession were signed with the princes ceding to the union the power to pass laws in respect of all matters falling within federal and concurrent legislative lists including in the Seventh Schedule of Govt. of accession that had empowered the center only in respect of defence, foreign affairs, and communication.
  • Some of the princes were absorbed in the new polity as governors and deputy-governors (rajparamukhs and uprajparamukhs), however, they could not maintain their privileges and extraordinary status that they had enjoyed under the British patronage.
  • In return for the surrender of their sovereignty, the rulers of the major states were also given privy purses amounting to Rs. 4.66 crores in 1949, free of all taxes that were later also guaranteed by the constitution. These concessions were abolished in 1969.

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