Andhra Pradesh Free to Decide Its Own Capital, Says Union Govt

“It is for each State to decide its capital within its territory,” Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said.

Published
India
3 min read
File image of Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy.
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The Union government on Tuesday, 4 February, said that each state was free to decide its own capital, in response to a question filed by Telugu Desam Party MP Jayadev Galla. The MP’s question and the answer by the Home Ministry comes on the heels of the controversy surrounding Amaravati as Andhra Pradesh’s capital.

Jayadev Galla had posed a question regarding the decision of Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy to set up three capitals in the state, wherein he asked for the Union government’s reaction to the same, how it will help the people of the state, and whether the Union government will advice the state government “not to resort to such decisions”, which will vitiate the investment climate and harm farmers.

In response to this, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai stated: “Government of Andhra Pradesh had notified Amaravati as the Capital City, vide its G.O. dated 23 April 2015. Recently, media reports have appeared indicating the State Government’s decision to create three capitals for the State of Andhra Pradesh. It is for each State to decide its capital within its territory.”

Amaravati Missing From Map

The G.O referred to by the Union government states that the capital city will be named as Amaravati. Prior to this, the capital region had been notified, and Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2014, had been passed, which allowed them to develop the region.

The issue first began to brew when the Centre released a map of the country following the abrogation of Article 370, which did not show Amaravati as Andhra’s capital. The map also led to questions on whether Amaravati was indeed the capital of Andhra Pradesh.

When the News Minute spoke to former senior bureaucrats, they said that during the previous TDP government’s tenure, GO’s were issued defining the area under the capital region and also constituting the Capital Region Development Authority.

However, one of the bureaucrats said that the gazette notification specifying the capital was not issued partly because of oversight. However, another said that the government’s decision to not notify was a political one.

Amaravati, Kurnool, Vizag: Three Capitals

According to the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, Hyderabad was to be the administrative capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh until 2024.  "Notifying Amaravati would have meant relinquishing rights on Hyderabad, which would otherwise have continued till 2024. The government was ambivalent on it as it was not ready to let go of Hyderabad completely. The then Chief Minister took the decision to only notify the Amaravati Capital Region Development Authority," the bureaucrat then said.

In January, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly (where the YSRCP enjoys a majority) passed two Bills to create two additional capitals —  Amaravati would be the legislative capital, Kurnool the judicial capital and Vizag the executive capital.

However, it hit a roadblock in the Legislative Council, where Opposition TDP has a majority, as the Legislative Council chairman referred the Bills to a select committee on TDP’s demands.

Following this, the Assembly passed a statutory resolution seeking to abolish the Council. The resolution has been sent to the Union Government. If the Union Cabinet approves, the issue will come before Parliament for necessary enactment.

(This has been published in an arrangement with the News Minute.)

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