Explained: Renaming of States

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Renaming of States

Demands for ‘Bangla’

  • Over the years, several demands have been made, for reasons that could be either political or administrative, to change the name of West Bengal.
  • The first such demand can be traced back to 1999, when the then CM Jyoti Basu took the initiative.
  • At that time, “Bangla” and “Paschim Bangla” were considered, but the parties concerned could not reach a consensus.
  • A request in 2018 was rejected by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in November 2018 due to the similarity between “Bangla” and “Bangladesh”.

Why such demands?

  • The renaming demand is more to do with chronology than anything else.
  • The state’s name “West Bengal” starts with the letter “W”, which being the fourth last letter among English alphabet pushes the state to number 30 in the state roll call.
  • The implication is that during official meetings where all states are present, by the time West Bengal gets a turn to speak either the hall was half-empty or the audience was fast asleep.
  • Changing the name to “Bangla” would give it precedence, pushing it to spot number four.
  • Also the name of a state should invoke a strong sense of identity among its people and this identity can be formed if the state’s name carries the signature of its history and authentic culture, claims state govt.

Procedure for renaming a state 

  • Unlike in the case of renaming cities, to change the name of a state, approval from the Centre’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is required under provisions laid down in its 1953 guidelines.
  • This means that a Constitutional amendment becomes necessary to affect this change.
  • The Union MHA then takes over and gives it consent after it receives No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from several agencies such as the Ministry of Railways, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, Survey of India and Registrar General of India.
  • If the proposal is accepted, the resolution, introduced as a Bill in the Parliament, becomes a law and the name of the state is changed thereafter.

Back2Basics

Renaming of states

  • The Constitution of India provides for the renaming of a state under Article 3.
  • The Article 3 provides for formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States
  • The procedure of renaming of the state can be initiated by either the Parliament or the State Legislator and the procedure is as follows:
  1. A bill for renaming a state may be introduced in the Parliament on the recommendation of the President.
  2. Before the introduction of the bill, the President shall send the bill to the respective state assembly for expressing their views within a stipulated time.
  3. The views of the state assembly are not binding; neither on the President nor on the Parliament.
  4.  But the process must not be skipped as it is of vital importance as any law so made will be affecting that particular state.
  5. On the expiry of the period, the bill will be sent to the Parliament for deliberation.
  6. The bill in order to take the force of a law must be passed by a simple majority.
  7. The bill is sent for approval to the President.
  8. After the approval of the said bill, the bill becomes a law and the name of the state stands modified.

Some of the instances of change in the name of the states are:

Old Name New Name Year of Change
East Punjab Punjab 1950
United Province Uttar Pradesh 1950
Madras Presidency along with Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh 1956
Madhya Bharat Madhya Pradesh 1959
Pondicherry Puducherry 2006
Uttaranchal Uttarakhand 2007

With inputs from: https://blog.ipleaders.in/renaming-state-city/

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