THE inhabitants of Uttar Pradesh is over 220m, sufficient to make the northern Indian state the world’s fifth-most populous nation. However statistics nonetheless utilized by bureaucrats in New Delhi put it at lower than 85m. Antiquated census information are used to separate every thing from federal funding to seats within the nationwide parliament. A proposal to make use of up-to-date figures has created a political storm.
Within the mid-1970s India’s southern states have been doing higher than northern ones at controlling inhabitants progress. That meant dropping federal energy and cash, each doled out in proportion to inhabitants. The inelegant resolution was to maintain utilizing census figures from 1971, an association that turned indefinite.
However buried in a latest authorities memo is a proposal to make use of figures from the latest rely, in 2011, for federal funding. Southern states are fuming. Their populations have risen since 1971, however nothing like as a lot as these of Uttar Pradesh and its neighbours (see map). They’ve additionally change into a lot richer than northern states, not least due to decrease fertility. That cuts their share of federal funding additional.
The change could be a “punishment for states that had carried out splendidly between 1971 and 2011 in stabilising their inhabitants,” thundered P. Chidambaram, a former finance minister (and southerner). The southern state of Tamil Nadu estimates that it may lose 800m rupees a yr ($1.2bn), about as a lot as its policing finances.
The finance minister, Arun Jaitley, decried a “pointless controversy”. However the row has a political dimension. India’s south is comparatively much less eager on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Occasion, which has its roots within the north. Regional events, one thing of a thorn within the aspect of Narendra Modi, the prime minister, concern choice to cease utilizing retro statistics to calculate federal funding would set a precedent for 2026, when the deal to allocate seats within the federal parliament utilizing 1971 information is because of expire.