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From West Bengal to Bangla

  May 30, 2020

From West Bengal to Bangla

How did it start?

West Bengal state Assembly passed a resolution to change the name of the state from West Bengal to 'Bangla' and sent it for the approval of the Union Government in 2016.The state assembly had proposed three names - Bangla (in Bengali), Bengal (in English) and Bangal (in Hindi). 

How did the centre respond?

Centre wanted just one name for the state in all three languages -- Bengali, Hindi and English.

Did West Bengal comply?

Yes. In 2018, the state assembly passed a bill to change the state's name from West Bengal to 'Bangla' in all three different languages.

Why do they want the change?

The motive for the change is greater cultural identification with it; and also an attempt to raise its stature in the alphabetical sequence of state names. Name of West Bengal always appeared at the bottom of the list whenever state representatives or Chief Minister is supposed to address any meeting between the Union government and the states.

What procedure does the Constitution prescribe for it?

Art.3 of the Constitution deals with it. Entire power is given to the Union Parliament. The concerned state is consulted. The President refers it to the State concerned. Presidential recommendation is also necessary for the introduction of the Bill in Parliament. If the state assembly itself requests the change, there is no need to consult the state. 

But an amendment to the Schedule 1 of the Constitution is necessary?

Yes. But such an `amendment’ is not `deemed to be an amendment’ to the Constitution as clarified in Art.4. Therefore, they are not called Constitutional Amendments. Art.368 does not come into the picture at all.

When did we last see the name of a State change?

In 2011, when Orissa became Odisha. 

Is it the same procedure for the Union Territory also?

Yes. Pondicherry became Puducherry in 2006.

What about names of cities being changed?

Name of Bombay was changed to Mumbai in 1995; Madras to Chennai in 1996; Calcutta to Kolkata in 2001; Bangalore to Bengaluru in 2014. The state government decides on the change in the name and the Union Government needs to permit it at the executive level. There is no need for parliamentary legislation.