This refers to Ashok Lahiri's article "A land of megapolises?" (June 3). With the coming to power of the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, the issue of powers of the state government has come to the fore.
The author quotes many instances from across the world that seem to justify the case for curtailed powers of the government of a National Capital Region as compared to other states and provinces. But is that enough justification for continuing with a similar approach in Delhi? It is necessary in a democratic country like India to give adequate weight to basic democratic principles while taking care of the needs of a national capital - especially one that is a really large megalopolis with people from diverse backgrounds coming there from all over the country. It is also necessary to avoid being paranoid about the security of the central government as if a state government is expected to be hostile. The aspects of governance in Delhi to be kept under the central government should be restricted to the absolute minimum, so that justice is also done to the democratic aspects of governance. Innovative ways of governance need to be introduced rather than being overly hard-headed or dogmatic.
For example, the police does not have to be completely under the central government's control. There can be two separate police/security forces - one exclusively taking care of national government establishments, and the other taking care of normal police functions such as crime and law and order in the capital. Above all, one effective solution can be to carve out a minimum part of the capital megalopolis like Delhi, exclusively for the central government establishments and make it into a Union Territory directly and solely under the control of the central government. The rest of the megalopolis can be governed by the Delhi state government like any other state.
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