[op-ed snap] Whither Amaravati?: On the capital city of Andhra Pradesh

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Decentralised Government - AP 3 capitals

Context

Sometimes ideas can sound good, but when it comes to implementation they need to be tested for feasibility and timing.

3 capitals

  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister hinted that the South African model of three capitals was best suited in his State and that his government would work towards this.
  • In South Africa, the administrative capital is in Pretoria, its national legislature in Cape Town and its judicial capital in Bloemfontein.
  • It stems from the idea that the distribution of executive, legislative and judicial governance across Visakhapatnam, Amaravati, and Kurnool would allow for “a decentralised development of the State”.

Locations

  • The location choices are in the upper, central and lower geographical regions. 
  • Such an arrangement follows the recommendations of the expert committee appointed by the Home Affairs Ministry in 2014 to study alternatives for new capital.
  • The panel had argued against the need for a greenfield capital city and to focus on distributing locations of governance beyond the Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri urban area.
  • Government-appointed G.N. Rao committee has recommended that the Assembly’s location be retained at Amaravati, with the Secretariat and High Court moved to Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.

What was done

  • The previous party in power decided to build a grand capital in Amaravati and acquired large parcels of land from farmers.
  • Amaravati has become a functioning State capital for all purposes now.
  • Many farmers had agreed to give up fertile land for the expansion of the capital as part of a land pooling scheme.
  • They were to have received residential and commercial plots as compensation.
  • If the government limits Amaravati to hosting only the Assembly, it must take into account the concerns of affected farmers.
  • As considerable work has been completed in Amaravati as a functioning capital, it should be taken into account before embarking upon the “decentralisation” idea.
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