Special Status for Goa and Indian Federalism

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The Indian Federalism and Goa’s Future
Teotonio R. de Souza

Time may be ripe for Goans to demand Special Status to Goa, by seeking amendment of the Article 371 once again to satisfy their demand. The latest such amendment as 371 (J) has approved special status to the region of north Karnataka, including six districts of Gulbarga, Bidar, Raichur, Yadagir, Koppal and Bellary. This creates special conditions for the development of this region. The legislation granting the status was signed by the Congress backed President Pranab Mukherjee, but with political backing of Sonia Gandhi’s United Progressive Alliance. Goa too can taste Indian Federalism to the full. The time is ripe, but only for tightening the political screws. Parrikar deserves praise for his initiatives, but results may need to wait till the next election, leaving it to the Congress Party to make it its electoral banner to come back to power in Goa. Sonia Gandhi did make some agreeable noises during her visit to Goa to mark the golden jubilee of Goa’s liberation. She referred in her speech to Goa’s liberation, Opinion Poll and Statehood, all three major events in post-colonial development of Goa as gifts of her Party, if not from her family. But the mining quake buried the Congress. India does not need to learn lessons of federalism from America. In recent developments in Asia, China has made special provisions for Hong Kong, Macau and other autonomous regions. Unfortunately, Indonesia failed the test in the case of Timor, largely made difficult by a neighbor with eye on rich oil resources and the former colonial power to compensate for its past failure. If Sri Lanka is to find a solution within a federal structure, it will have to examine India's `unequal but special' approach to federal governance to solve its problems with the Tamils. Article 371 of the Indian Constitution contains special provisions for Maharashtra and Gujarat. Special provisions were produced under Articles...
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