Capital Disadvantages: Delhi & Washington DC

Source:  TOI

Relevance: To understand the issue of Delhi’s statehood.

Synopsis: Full statehood remains a dream for residents, both in Indian and US national capitals

US and India both are reluctant to allow residents of their capitals full statehood.  Both territories enjoy lesser power than the states

Status of Washington DC
  • It has 3 electoral votes to elect the president (since 1961), but its people have no vote in Congress.
  • It has a Mayor and a Council, but laws passed can be overturned by US Congress under Article 1, Section 8 of the US constitution

Progress has been slow in Washington DC too:

  • DC was set to allow control over its own security after the 1783 mutiny.
  • Such tentative steps were reversed in 1874 when Congress decided to rule abruptly through a 3 member commission.
  • As the city’s economy grew, demands for self-governance grew.
  • But despite demands from citizens, the statehood progress has been slow.
 What is the status of Delhi?
  • Initially, it was a Part C state under the constitution enjoying a measure of self-governance
  • After the reorganisation of states, when Delhi became UT, it was the only Part C state to lose an elected government
  • By 69th AA, Article 239AA, it was again given an elected assembly and CM. Delhi presently enjoys all the power except land, police, law and order.
What is the real problem?
  • The government report states that Delhi’s residents enjoy special status and must pay the price for it.
  • However, the trend towards greater Democratization has helped Delhi and Washington DC to improve their governance.
  • But with the recent move(GNCT of Delhi (Amendment) Act), the standoff between the governor and CM has only increased in Delhi. Further, the Supreme court also has not been able to resolve the deadlock.
Way forward

Even the recent amendments can not solve the problem. The real problem in Delhi and Washington DC is political and not administrative.

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