The Borders Inside – on interstate border disputes

Source: This post has been developed based on the article “The Borders Inside”, published in The Times of India on 24th November, 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure

News: Recently, a dispute between Assam and Meghalaya at the border resulted into loss of lives. Also, a border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra is boiling.

The conflict is happening despite the rule of same party or allies in these states.

What are the reasons behind these conflicts?

These conflicts are rooted in reorganisation of states. Initially the states were reorganised on linguistic lines and later over other issues. It left many matters unresolved over borders and river water sharing.

The zonal councils with CMs, although meet regularly, it is not enough. For example, Maharashtra and Karnataka fall in different zones.

The national level mechanisms like Inter-State Councils (ISCs) are ineffective. In the last 16 years, just two meetings of ISCs have been held. In the last 16 years, just two meetings have been held

What can be the course of action?

Strengthen Inter-State Councils (ISCs). ISCs were set up 32 years ago under Article 263 of the Constitution. They are the most effective mechanism at present, to resolve these issues. Therefore, regular meetings must be held.

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