Andhra Assembly Passes Bill for Establishing Three Capitals

The bill will be placed before the legislative council on Tuesday.

Updated
India
3 min read
Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy.
i

The Andhra Pradesh state Assembly on Monday, 20 January, passed the 'Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill 2020', in order to establish three capitals.

The Bill will be placed before the legislative council on Tuesday.

The government has proposed to have three capitals for Andhra Pradesh – Amaravati as the legislative capital, Visakhapatnam as the executive capital and Kurnool as the judicial capital.

The first Bill was to repeal the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Act, 2014 while the second was the 'Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill 2020'. Urban Development Minister Botsa Satyanarayana tabled the Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill, 2020, bringing curtains down on Amaravati as the only state capital, as envisaged by the TDP government.

The Opposition and public, however, are staunchly opposed to the ruling YSR Congress' move. The principal Opposition Telugu Desam Party is determined to derail the process by showing its strength in the Legislative Council.

Former Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu was detained outside the state assembly, as he wanted to go into villages in Amaravati, reports ANI.

“Today is a black day, we wanted to save Amaravati & Andhra Pradesh. Not only me, throughout the state people are fighting and coming on roads,“ he told reporters.

Large gatherings in parts of Andhra Pradesh have also been banned in the wake of protests called by the Opposition.

Protests in Amaravati have been going on for nearly five weeks by farmers who are opposing the state government's proposal to shift the state capital from Amaravati.

The YSRC may have a brute majority of 151 in the 175-member Assembly but it’s in a woeful minority in the 58-member Council, with just nine members.

With 28 members, and possible support of BJP and others, the TDP could effectively stall, albeit temporarily, any legislation intended to alter the status quo vis-a-vis the capital.

The Council will meet on 21 January as per the Legislature notification and will sit only for two days.

Govt’s Move in Line With Recommendations of HPC Report

The Legislature essentially deliberated the report of the High-Powered Committee of ministers and bureaucrats on "decentralised development" and take a call on various related issues, including the location of the state capital.

The HPC relied on the recommendations made by the six-member committee of experts and also the Boston Consulting Group, besides the Sivaramakrishnan Committee, while coming out with its own set of suggestions.

The crux of the recommendations, according to highly-placed sources, was that the state should have "distributed capital functions" with the Secretariat and other government departments operating from Visakhapatnam, Legislature from Amaravati and High Court from Kurnool.

The recommendations of these committees are clearly in line with what the Chief Minister announced in the Assembly on 17 December.  

But how to go about the business, given the possible legal and technical implications, is what is said to be worrying the rulers.

The CM conferred with select ministers and bureaucrats on Sunday, 19 January, and discussed the government's strategy, particularly on overcoming the opposition in the Legislative Council.

Zonal System

As per the decentralisation Bill, the state will be divided into various regions or 'zones'. Each zone will be governed by a Board. While the Bill doesn't clearly define the members of the boards, the state government had earlier said that the boards would consist of nine members, including the chief minister.

The Bill states that they will oversee the "preparation of a Zonal Development plan and project plans and coordinate its implementation". It will also recommend particular measures that are considered necessary “to accelerate the pace of development of the backward areas within that zone".

The six-member committee of experts, headed by retired bureaucrat GN Rao, had recommended the zonal system of administration, modeled on neighbouring Karnataka. US-based consultancy firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG), too, made a similar recommendation.

"Further, the government is also planning to reorganise the existing districts in the state, so as to have the same number of districts as are parliamentary constituencies," Buggana Rajendranath had said in the statement of objects and reasons.

(With inputs from PTI , ANI, TNM and NDTV)

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