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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 27 January, 2021

  • 14 Min Read

Andhra Pradesh three Capital issue

Andhra Pradesh three Capital issue

In Jan 2020, the Andhra Pradesh (AP) government, based on the recommendations of a High Power Committee (HPC), approved a proposal to create three capitals for the state. The Committee had recommended that

  1. Visakhapatnam be made the executive capital and
  2. Kurnool in the Rayalaseema region the judicial capital.
  3. The Committee also suggested that Amaravati could house the governor’s office as well as the state assembly and become the legislative capital.

Other situations

Similar situation is for the South Africa. Republic of South Africa has three capitals:

  1. Pretoria, the administrative capital
  2. Cape Town, the legislative capital
  3. Bloemfontein, the judicial capital
  4. The Constitutional Court is located in Johannesburg.

Which other Indian states have multiple capitals?

  • Maharashtra has two capitals– Mumbai and Nagpur (which holds the winter session of the state assembly).
  • Himachal Pradesh has capitals at Shimla and Dharamshala (winter).
  • The former state of Jammu & Kashmir had Srinagar and Jammu (winter) as capitals.
  • Uttarakhand recently has 2 capitals – Gairsain and Dehradun (winter).

Analysis

  • The physical locations of the three state capitals are spread over the elongated shape of the state.
  • Kurnool is on the western side; Amravati is centrally located and Vishakhapatnam is on the eastern corner.
  • According to the state government, the purported objective of the Bill is decentralisation and inclusive development of all regions in the state.
  • The Bill also provided for dividing the state into various zones and establishing zonal planning and development boards.
  • The AP Legislative Assembly passed this Bill on 20 January 2020.

Positives

  • The state government claims that it would allow an even development of the state. It would ensure justice to everyone and every region.
  • It also claims it’s a good idea to decentralise power across the state as there have been several imbalances among the regions which had often led to agitations. Three capitals will lead to equitable development.
  • Furthermore, it would be a boost to urbanisation and then economic development. In India, cities contribute anywhere between 59% and 70% of the GDP.

Concerns

  • Separation of executive and legislative capital can be challenging. In the Parliamentary system of government, which has been adopted in India, functions of the executive and the legislature are closely connected. For example,
  • The development of a region can be done through policy interventions like industrial policy. However, separating the capitals can be against the convenience of the administration as well as the people. Also, it will be logistically difficult to implement.
  • However, coordinating between seats of legislature and executive in separate cities will be easier said than done, and with the government offering no specifics of a plan, officers and common people alike fear a logistics nightmare.
  • Andhra Pradesh has shrunk in size after Telangana was carved out of it in 2014, and it’s hard to see how having government functions sprawled across three locations would lend itself to efficient governance.
  • Its immediate effect, though, would mostly be an artificial spike in real estate prices in the two new proposed capital regions, and land sharks would move into part people from their land before the state turns up with offers.
  • Instead of pursuing experiments of this sort, the state should dedicate itself to fulfilling the aspirations of its people. Assuredly, a single capital would be good enough.

Conclusion

However, the idea of three capitals can also restore regional balance in governance. But the state needs to have an effective plan for coordination among all sector and especially the three institutes of the democracy as the three pillars cannot operate from far away places.

Source: PIB


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