The Srikrishna report, made public on Thursday morning, failed to decide the fate of Telangana state in clear terms. The report seemed to be leaning towards a United Andhra and has listed out six options to satisfy the various warring factions within Andhra Pradesh.
Here are some key points from the report:
CHAIRPERSON - Shri Justice B N Srikrishna (Retd.), Former Judge, Supreme Court of India
MEMBER SECRETARY -Shri Vinod Kumar Duggal, IAS (Retd.), Former Home Secretary, Government of India
Prof (Dr.) Ranbir Singh, Vice Chancellor, National Law University, Delhi
Dr. Abusaleh Shariff, Chief Economist /Senior Fellow,National Council of Applied Economic Research, Delhi
Prof (Dr.) Ravinder Kaur, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT, Delhi
The Inter State Council Secretariat (ISCS) provided full secretarial assistance including technical and budgetary support to the Committee
It has not been an easy task. The mandate for the Committee entailed voluminous research work and wide consultations with all stakeholders. During these consultations, the Committee discussed with political parties and concerned groups all events of a serious historical, political, economic, social and cultural significance pertaining to the state of Andhra Pradesh since the country's independence. Essentially, the Committee, inter alia, was required to "examine the situation in the State of Andhra Pradesh with reference to the demand for a separate State of Telangana as well as the demand for maintaining the present status of a United Andhra Pradesh ....... seek a range of solutions that would resolve the present difficult situation and promote the welfare of all sections of the people, to identify the optimal solutions for this purpose and to recommend a plan of action and a road map .......... and to make any other suggestions or recommendations that the Committee may deem appropriate". Once the Committee began to investigate the issues in detail, the scope of the research became both wider and deeper. Although the Committee realized at the outset that for an issue of such magnitude with regional as well as national implications, it would be hard-pressed to complete the task in the time allotted, it was equally conscious that any delay in the submission of the Report could only be detrimental to the cause and that delay may even provoke people's emotions, possibly with serious consequences. The timely completion and submission of the Report was, therefore, given the highest priority by the Committee. We only hope that the efforts invested have done justice to the task at hand.
The Terms of Reference of the Committee
(1) To examine the situation in the State of Andhra Pradesh with reference to the demand for a separate State of Telangana as well as the demand for maintaining the present status of a united Andhra Pradesh.
(2) To review the developments in the State since its formation and their impact on the progress and development of the different regions of the State.
(3) To examine the impact of the recent developments in the State on the different sections of the people such as women, children, students, minorities, other backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
(4) To identify the key issues that must be addressed while considering the matters mentioned in items (1), (2) and (3) above.
(5) To consult all sections of the people, especially the political parties, on the aforesaid matters and elicit their views; to seek from the political parties and other organizations a range of solutions that would resolve the present difficult situation and promote the welfare of all sections of the people; to identify the optimal solutions for this purpose; and to recommend a plan of action and a road map.
(6) To consult other organizations of civil society such as industry, trade, trade unions, farmers' organizations, women's organizations and students' organizations on the aforesaid matters and elicit their views with specific reference to the all round development of the different regions of the State.
(7) To make any other suggestion or recommendation that the Committee may deem appropriate.
The Committee was mandated to submit its Report by December 31, 2010.
The first meeting of the Committee was held in Delhi on February 13, 2010.
1.1.01 The present state of Andhra Pradesh came into being on November 1, 1956. It was constituted with the merger of the large and predominantly Telugu-speaking residuary part of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad with the state of Andhra that had come into existence earlier after its separation from the then Madras state.
1.1.02 Andhra state was constituted as a result of the efforts of Telugu speaking people of Madras state who wished to have a separate linguistic state for promoting their own distinct culture. The state was formed on October 1, 1953, after the Act of Parliament (the Andhra State Act of 1953) received the President's assent on September 14, 1953. It was the first state constituted on linguistic basis after India.s independence. At the time of its formation, Andhra state consisted of the districts of Anantapur, Kurnool, Kadapah, Chittoor, Nellore, Krishna, Guntur, East Godavari, West Godavari, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam.
In addition, Alur, Adoni and Rayadurg talukas of the Bellary district were also added to Andhra state. The first two talukas were included in Kurnool district and the last mentioned was added to Anantapur district. Prakasham (Ongole) district came into existence on February 2, 1970, by carving out portions of Nellore, Kurnool and Guntur districts. Similarly, in 1979- 80, a new district Vijayanagaram (now Vizianagaram) was created out of Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam districts. Kurnool, which was the district headquarters, was selected and developed as the capital of Andhra state. The Legislative Assembly functioned from Kurnool and consisted of 196 members. The Andhra High Court was set up on July 5, 1954, and was located at Guntur.1 This arrangement was in keeping with the Sri Bagh Pact that had been arrived at as early as on November 15, 1937, between the leaders of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, in which it had, inter-alia, been agreed "that the location of the University, the Headquarters and the High Court may advantageously be in different places so as not to concentrate all civil importance at the same Centre. Accordingly, it is agreed that while the University may continue to be where it is, the High Court and the metropolis be located in suitable places in the coastal districts and the Rayalaseema, the choice being given to Rayalaseema. " Earlier, in 1927 the University had been located in the north coastal district of Visakhapatnam (Waltair).
The Nizam state of Hyderabad, in the meanwhile, had become part of the Indian Union following the Police Action by the Government of India during September 13-18, 1948. The state of Hyderabad was kept under the rule of a military governor till the end of 1949. In January, 1950 a senior administrator M.A.Vellodi, ICS, was made the Chief Minister and the Nizam was given the status of Rajpramukh. After general elections of 1952, the first popular ministry, headed by Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, took charge of the state. The state of Hyderabad, during 1952-56, consisted of the primarily Telugu-speaking districts of Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Warangal, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Khammam, Medak and the city of Hyderabad (including Ranga Reddy district), the predominantly Marathi-speaking northern districts of Aurangabad, Bir, Pharbani, Osmanabad and Nanded and the Kannada-speaking southern districts of Gulbarga, Raichur and Bidar.2 The Telugu-speaking districts together formed more than 50% of the area of Hyderabad state. Notwithstanding the same, Hyderabad, during Nizam.s rule, was the only native state where the language of administration was neither English, nor that of the people of the state. The language of the courts, the administration and instruction in educational institutions was primarily Urdu.
After the formation of Andhra state in October, 1953, the demand for creation of other linguistic states gained momentum. On December 22, 1953, the then Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, announced in the Lok Sabha the decision to set up a States Reorganization Commission to examine "objectively and dispassionately" the whole question of the reorganization of the states of the Indian Union. Accordingly, the Government of India, vide Ministry of Home Affairs resolution, dated December 29, 1953, appointed the "States Reorganization Commission" headed by Justice S. Fazal Ali with H.N. Kunzru and K.M. Panikkar as members, to examine and suggest a rational solution for the reorganization of states, based on language. The Commission submitted its report to the Government of India in 1955. "The Commission, after consultations and interactions with various groups of people, is reported to have found the public will in favour of linguistic reorganization. The rationale was that language being the most faithful reflection of the culture of an ethnic group, ethno-lingual boundaries would be considered the most stable and suitable arrangement for the effective working of democratic entities and institutions. It was also perceived that the same would also have the advantage of ease for people's interaction with the government."
The Committee has examined in detail the issues pertaining to current demand for a separate state of Telangana as well as the demand for maintaining the present status of keeping the state united. In the foregoing two paragraphs, the issue of creation of new states has been briefly discussed. After going into all aspects of the situation as well as keeping in view the local, regional and national perspective, the Committee considers that the following solutions/possible options may offer the best way forward.
(i) Maintain status quo
This implies treating the issue as basically a law and order/public order challenge to be handled by the state government, not requiring any major intervention by the Union Government. Such an approach is based on the history of the last 54 years when the demand for a separate state of Telangana was dealt with mainly in a political manner by accommodating different interest groups in the government and the party structure. At the same time, it is noticed that the emotional appeal of "Telugu Pride" was invoked to keep separatist sentiments in check with the result that the demand for Telangana subsided but did not entirely disappear. It resurfaced in the post -2000 period with the rationale virtually being the same as in the earlier movements for Telangana, such as the partial implementation of the Gentlemen's Agreement, unsatisfactory implementation of Presidential Order of 1975 on employment issues, the gap in educational standards among the regions, the denial of fair share of water and irrigation resources, and perceived neglect in economic development of Telangana region. Above all, there were the sentimental and emotional reasons and attachment to a long held desire for a separate state of Telangana. The Committee did not find any real evidence of any major neglect by the state government in matters of overall economic development (Chapter 2). However, there are some continuing concerns regarding public employment, education, and water and irrigation, which have been dealt with in the respective Chapters of the Report. Since the emotional satisfaction of the people of Telangana will not be met if no steps are taken, it is anticipated that immediate backlash will take place in the form of violent agitations in the region which may continue for some time. Besides, sporadic agitations on specific demands in different areas may continue even for a longer period. With Telangana Praja Front (TPF-Gaddar) once again joining hands with TRS, indications are that such agitations are likely to be highly emotional and serious. These agitations will have immediate impact on the normal life in and around Hyderabad, thus once again affecting the city's image and putting a question mark on its economic growth momentum. As has happened earlier, people's representatives from the region MLAs/MLCs/MPs belonging to different political parties would come under pressure to resign, which may once again lead to a political crisis. The Maoist movement is also likely to get a fillip in such a situation. In view of the complex background of the situation and the rather serious and sensitive emotional aspects involved, the Committee is of the unanimous view that it would not be practical to simply maintain the status quo in respect of the situation. Some intervention is definitely required and though maintaining the existing status quo is an option, it is favoured the least.
(ii) Bifurcation of the State into Seemandhra and Telangana; with Hyderabad as a Union Territory and the two states developing their own capitals in due course
(a) This option underscores the pivotal position of Hyderabad historically and its economic significance at all levels - regional, national and international. Hyderabad is now regarded as an engine of growth in view of its position in the global economy as being a hub of information technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES). Besides, it has a thriving real estate industry with strong participation of national players in addition to regional firms. It also has a manufacturing base in the nearby Rangareddy district which has attracted investors from the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions as well as from outside. A number of public sector organizations, national institutions, civil and military establishments and defence institutions are also located in and around Hyderabad. Over the years migration has completely changed the demographics of the city and the total number of people from other regions and from outside the state residing in the metropolis is very substantial and estimated to be more than one third of the population of the Greater Hyderabad Metropolitan area. Only continued economic growth can lead to expansion of employment opportunities and therefore the current economic inter-linkages of Hyderabad with other regions need to be developed and preserved so that there is an assured climate of certainty and stable business environment.
The situation of Hyderabad can be compared with the metropolis of Brussels in Belgium. In 1968, Belgium had erupted in a series of riots on the question of who had a claim to Brussels city, which is barely inside the northern Flammand region. The only way to settle the issue was to declare that Belgium was a country of two cultures and three regions. It is to be noted that Belgium has a population of about 10 million out of which 6 million in the northern part of the country are Flemish speaking while 4 million, who are mainly concentrated in the south of Belgium, speak French. There is also a small German speaking minority. Belgium is thus constituted as a federation of three language communities - Flemish, French and German. The capital region of Brussels, therefore, is organized altogether as a separate bilingual capital region with an independent administrative set up and jurisdiction. Andhra Pradesh, however, by and large, has a common culture and was constituted as the first linguistic (Telugu) state. In our context, when there are equally strong competing claims on a thriving urban conglomerate, the Union Territory model is often considered workable and accordingly, in this option it is suggested that if the state of Andhra Pradesh is divided into two units then Hyderabad could become a Union Territory with a common capital for the present and the states eventually developing their own capitals over time. As the revenues from the proposed Union Territory would go to the Central Government, a mutually agreed formula for equitable apportionment of the grants could be devised for all the three regions.
(b) It was considered that this option would be more acceptable to the people from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions as their economic interests in Hyderabad would remain protected though they would prefer that the state stays united with Hyderabad as its capital. However, this option also has severe implications and will, in all probability, give rise to a renewed and serious agitation by the people of Telangana insisting on inclusion of Hyderabad only in Telangana and making the functioning/ governance of the Union Territory a very difficult task. Besides, the geographical contiguity and access to Hyderabad, to which strong economic and personal linkages of people from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema exist, will be physically cut off with two districts i.e. Nalgonda towards coastal Andhra and Mahabubnagar towards Rayalaseema (both districts part of Telangana) lying in between the boundaries of the three regions. This situation could be used by agitators in blocking supplies, drinking water etc. Another drawback of this option would be that the sentimental and emotional satisfaction of having a new state of Telangana would remain unfulfilled if Hyderabad were not to be included in it. If Hyderabad which has always been considered an integral part of Telangana does not form part of the new state, it will give rise to serious discontent and agitations and the problem will continue. In the Committee.s assessment, there is a definite likelihood of serious immediate backlash in Telangana region causing similar problems as have been indicated in option (i) above. On overall consideration, therefore, the Committee found this option also not practicable.
(iii) Bifurcation of State into Rayala-Telangana and coastal Andhra regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of Rayala- Telangana
(a) This suggestion was put to the Committee as the second preference by some sections of the people of Rayalaseema region. Their first preference was for a united Andhra. AIMIM also, while strongly advocating the cause of united Andhra Pradesh as being in the best interest of economic growth and welfare of the minority Muslim community, stated that in the event of division of the state it would be in the community.s interest to form a new state combining the regions of Telangana and Rayalaseema. Their argument is based on the demographic composition of Rayalaseema which has over 12% Muslim population as compared to just about 8% in the rest of Telangana (i.e. excluding Hyderabad). The Muslim community in this scenario will get greater political space. A second rationale for combining the two regions is suggested by the economic analysis of the state which has shown that Rayalaseema is the most backward of the three regions. It is dependent on Telangana for water and irrigation resources and values its access to Hyderabad for employment and education. There is also greater social homogeneity between the two regions. It is for these reasons that given a choice between coastal Andhra and Telangana, the Rayalaseema people may prefer to join Telangana. Our analysis suggests that primarily taking economic and social parameters into account this would be a viable and sustainable option.
(b) On the other hand, however, such a move will be strongly resisted by all political parties and groups from Telangana region (outside of the old city of Hyderabad) as most of them believe that Rayalaseema political leadership has been one of the most important contributory factors in keeping them at a disadvantage while at the same time exploiting their land resources. The Committee discussed the possibility of this option with almost all the groups of Telangana and noted that not even one of them favoured such an option and as a matter of fact conveyed their vehement opposition to it.
(c) In a nutshell, this scenario is not likely to be accepted either by the pro-Telangana or by the pro-united Andhra protagonists. Besides, it is one in which one can anticipate emergence of fundamentalist forces from amongst the competing political parties and groups. Agitations, particularly in Telangana area, against such a recommendation are also not ruled out. While this option may have economic justification, the Committee believes that this option may not offer a resolution which would be acceptable to people of all three regions.
(iv) Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory. This Union Territory will have geographical linkage and contiguity via Nalgonda district in the south-east to district Guntur in coastal Andhra and via Mahboobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema.
(a) This option flows from option (ii) which highlights the characteristics of Hyderabad as a growing global city. The city.s boundaries have recently been revised to extend the municipal limits from the 175 Km2 of the erstwhile MCH to 625 km2 of the current GHMC. The erstwhile HUDA has been replaced by an expanded HMDA, headed by the Chief Minister, with a substantial area of 7073 km2, which is about twice the size of the state of Goa. In this option an extended Union Territory of approx. 12,000 km2 has been proposed. The extended Union Territory will comprise 67 Mandals, 1330 Villages, 12430
(b) In the view of the Committee, Hyderabad region is critical to the growing economy of the state and the nation as a whole. Its GDP is becoming increasingly centered in the modern services and transport sector which accounted for 58% of its GDP in 2005-06, up from 43% in 1999-2000. Being the main software centre of Andhra Pradesh it also accounts for 15% of the national IT exports. Besides, infrastructure and real estate are the other key growth areas in Hyderabad. As discussed in the Chapter on Hyderabad, the city has deep social linkages with the rest of the state and this is reflected in the transport links as well as in the in-migration from the other regions.
Earlier migrants from outside the state were mainly from Karnataka and Maharashtra but of late the share of eastern and northern states has visibly increased and the pattern is now closer to that of Mumbai which reflects its growing integration with the national economy. Hyderabad is also a strategically important city for the nation. It hosts many institutions of excellence and establishments of strategic importance. These not only source talent from all over the country, but are also vital from the national security perspective.
(c) In view of these considerations it was found necessary to suggest an expanded Union Territory as an option. The merit of this suggestion is that all the three regions will have geographical contiguity and physical access to Hyderabad metropolis. It may also house the capitals of both Telangana and Seemandhra as in the Chandigarh model with a separate Union Territory administrative set up. Most of the administrative, police, etc. officers will be drawn from the existing state cadres. Plenty of space would be available for infrastructure development. Since this would be a reasonably larger area with a population of well over 10 million people, the model could be a mix of Chandigarh and Delhi UTs i.e. it may have its own Legislative Assembly. As has happened in Chandigarh, over the years its neighbouring towns Mohali, Derabassi, Panchkula and Parwanoo, etc. in Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh have seen remarkable growth and development. Also around Delhi, towns like Gurgaon, Sonepat and Faridabad in Haryana and Ghaziabad, NOIDA in U.P. have come up and are experiencing high growth and appreciable development owing to the capital growth centre. Similarly, within this proposed new Union Territory, all the three neighbouring regions (Telangana, coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema) will automatically piggyback on the economic engine of Hyderabad metropolis and gain full momentum for achieving appreciable economic growth and employment. This option can perhaps be made acceptable to all three regions. It is anticipated that demand for a separate Rayalaseema may also get initiated in the event of separation of Telangana and if a decision to that effect is taken for a separate Rayalaseema at any given time in the future, the Rayalaseema capital could also be housed in this larger Union Territory. Since the revenues from the U.T. will go to the Central exchequer, the Union Government in consultation with the new states, representing all the three regions, can work out a mutually acceptable formula for equitable apportionment of the grants based on the revenues earned from the Union Territory.
(d) On the flip side, it may be stated that this proposal will receive stiff opposition from Telangana protagonists for two reasons i)Telangana has always considered Hyderabad as an integral part of the region and they would not be happy with a common capital of all the regions located in Hyderabad and ii) partly merging portions of the two Telangana districts i.e. Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar may also be resented (although in the long term these districts/Mandals are expected to grow economically at a much faster pace than at present). Besides, there may be opposition from all the three regions that part of the state i.e. Hyderabad and adjoining areas will become a Union Territory. As Hyderabad is a major economic hub and the capital city, which the state has nourished and developed over a period of time, this proposal may find opposition from several quarters. As such, while there are some positives of this option it may be difficult to reach a political consensus in making this solution acceptable to all. Particularly from Telangana, serious resistance and agitation on this issue could be expected.
It also has to be borne in mind that Telangana with or without Hyderabad is likely to experience a spurt in Maoist activity. This aspect has been covered in detail in the Chapter on Law and Order and Internal Security.
(v) Bifurcation of the State into Telangana and Seemandhra as per existing boundaries with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra to have a new capital
a) In this option there would be a clear division of Andhra Pradesh into two states - Telangana and Seemandhra and in the interim Hyderabad will continue to house both the capitals till a new capital for Seemandhra is created. For creation of a new capital, a large investment would be required, provision for which will have to be made both by the Union and the state governments. This option implies accepting the full demands of a large majority of Telangana people for a separate state that will assuage their emotional feelings and sentiments as well as the perceived sense of discrimination and neglect. The Committee.s impression, gained during its extensive tours of Telangana region indicated that a very large number of people from Telangana were highly supportive of the demand for a separate
Telangana; an appreciable segment was found to be neutral; while some sections were not in favour of it. The Committee observed:- . Strong pro-Telangana elements in Warangal, west Khammam, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, southern Adilabad, Siddipet area of Medak, parts of Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar and some areas of Ranga Reddy. The most vociferous and agitating sections are the students (particularly in Osmania and Kakatiya Universities), the unemployed youth, the lawyers and the non-gazetted Government employees; . The neutral elements include the original population of Hyderabad, including large segments of AIMIM, the villages/mandals bordering Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Karnataka; the settler villages/mandals in the Telangana heartland (Khammam, Karimnagar, Nizamabad etc.) and the migrant population in HMDA from Seemandhra and other parts of the country; . The aspirations of a large section of tribals on the northern side of Telangana, particularly the hill tribals, are for a separate state of Manayaseema and of the tribal belt which cuts across Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, to be under a single administrative system; . The SCs/BCs and the minorities have their own aspirations for appropriate political space, economic development and reservation benefits.
b) The implications of this option are that
(i) if earlier agitations are anything to go by, this decision will give rise to serious and violent agitations in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, where the backlash will be immediate; the key issues being Hyderabad and sharing of water and irrigation resources;
(ii) there will be every likelihood of pressure being put by the general public on the leaders of the political parties of Seemandhra region (MLAs/MLCs/MPs) to resign and fight for united Andhra Pradesh;
(iii) the agitation for separation of Rayalaseema from coastal Andhra may also start taking shape sooner than expected; (iv) even though water and irrigation issues can be handled by creating autonomous/semi-autonomous structures, the apprehensions of the people of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema will continue to be voiced; and (v) the impact on internal security situation with the anticipated growth of Naxalism and religious fundamentalism.
c) The division of the state will also have serious implications outside Andhra Pradesh. It would not only give fillip to other similar demands but it will be for the first time, after the re-organisation of states, that a political demand for dividing a linguistically constituted state would have been conceded by the Union Government with the creation of two Telugu speaking states. The issue requires a most calm and dispassionate consideration of the consequences. The matter should also be seen in the larger context of whether a region can be allowed to decide for itself what its political status should be, as that would only create a demand for a great number of small states resulting in problems of coordination and management.
d) As noted in the Chapter on Economic and Equity Analysis, the economic dimension is also not to be lost sight of. The world over, there is a trend towards economic integration with economic blocs consisting of many smaller nations being formed in the interest of enhancing economic opportunities, markets and employment. It is normally believed that formation of smaller states contributes to pre-existing barriers to inter-state and intrastate trade and movement of goods and services. For example, a variety of local entry taxes and cess may impede free trade and enhance cost of business and increase prices of goods and services. There can also be local laws restraining physical movement of goods and services between neighbouring regions and between states. Such fears are very strong in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema and there is apprehension that Hyderabad city as a market destination and also a source of supply will be out of bounds on the creation of Telangana with Hyderabad as a separate state. Coastal Andhra would also lose a major market inherent in the huge population, business, and market concentration of the city of Hyderabad. On this count, division of Andhra Pradesh can only be a negative factor which would inhibit the economic growth of the newly formed states. Economically, the land locked region of Telangana may also lose out on access and opportunities to the eastern coastline which has a major port in Vishakhapatnam and many other sea ports. With vast discoveries of oil and gas on the anvil and the resultant likely spurt in economic growth and employment in the coastal region, an integrated economy is likely to benefit the people of both regions optimally rather than through separation by formation of Telangana state. However, the overall economic viability of Telangana with Hyderabad is projected to be stable and as a matter of fact the GDP of this state will be much larger than many other states in the country.
e) The Committee is of the view that given the long history of the demand for a separate Telangana, the highly charged emotions at present and the likelihood of the agitation continuing in case the demand is not met (unless handled deftly, tactfully and firmly as discussed under option six), consideration has to be given to this option. The grievances of the people of Telangana, such as non-implementation of some of the key decisions included in the Gentleman's Agreement (1956), certain amount of neglect in implementation of water and irrigation schemes, inadequate provision for education infrastructure (excluding Hyderabad), and the undue delay in the implementation of the Presidential order on public employment etc., have contributed to the felt psyche of discrimination and domination, with the issue attaining an emotional pitch. The continuing demand, therefore, for a separate Telangana, the Committee felt, has some merit and is not entirely unjustified. In case this option is exercised, the apprehensions of the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema people and others who have settled in Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana with regard to their investments, properties, livelihood and employment, would need to be adequately addressed and confidence instilled that their safety and security would get the highest priority from the new dispensation. Considering all aspects, the Committee felt that while creation of a separate Telangana would satisfy a large majority of people from the region, it would also throw up several other serious problems as indicated above. The implications for the other two regions also cannot be ignored. Therefore, after taking into account all the pros and cons, the Committee did not think it to be the most preferred, but the second best option. Separation is recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably amongst all the three regions.
(vi) Keeping the State united by simultaneously providing certain definite Constitutional/Statutory measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region - creation of a statutorily empowered Telangana Regional Council
a) In view of various considerations indicated earlier, the Committee is convinced that the development aspect was of utmost importance for the welfare of all the three regions and could best be addressed through a model that includes deeper and more extensive economic and political decentralisation. The Committee believes that overall it may not be necessary to have a duplication or multiplication of capitals, assemblies, ministries, courts, institutions and administrative infrastructure required by the other options. The Committee considers that unity is in the best interest of all the three regions of the state as internal partitions would not be conducive to providing sustainable solutions to the issues at hand. In this option, it is proposed to keep the state united and provide constitutional/statutory measures to address the core socio-economic concerns about development of Telangana region. This can be done through the establishment of a statutory and empowered Telangana Regional Council with adequate transfer of funds, functions and functionaries in keeping with the spirit of Gentlemen's Agreement of 1956. The Regional Council would provide a legislative consultative mechanism for the subjects to be dealt with by the Council. This would imply that if the State Legislature has to enact a law which impinges upon such subjects as are being dealt with by the Council then the matter would be referred to the Council for comments/suggestions. Likewise, if the Council forwards a resolution to the Government for enacting certain legislation on the subjects within its domain, such a resolution shall be discussed in the Assembly for becoming a law. In case of any difference of opinion between the Regional Council and the Government/Assembly on such legislative issues, and such differences are bound to arise once in a while, an Apex Committee headed by the Governor with preferably an equal number of members from the two regions with the Governor having the casting vote may be constituted to resolve the matter. The suggested membership of this Apex Committee could be the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Speaker, Chairman of the Legislative Council, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, Chairman of the Telangana Regional Council and an eminent, apolitical and respected Jurist who is well versed with constitutional law and regional issues. The suggested subjects that can be dealt with by the proposed Telangana Regional Council could be as follows: .
Planning & Economic Development, including preparation of development sub-plan (excluding area under HMDA) for the region as part of State Plan
. Water and Irrigation sector
. Education (primary and secondary); Skill development and vocational education
. Local Administration (PRIs and ULBs, other than HMDA)
. Public Health (up to district hospitals excluding medical colleges and speciality health care)
The above list is only illustrative and other subjects having a bearing on the regional, social, economic and cultural aspects may also be considered for inclusion at the time of the constitution of the Council or whenever required.
The Chairman of the Regional Council should be an MLA enjoying the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister in the state government. The Council will implement the sub-plan for Telangana Region and for this purpose funds, functions and functionaries will be placed at the disposal of the Council. The Council will be served by its own Secretariat headed by an officer of the level of Additional Chief Secretary in the State who would report to the Chairman of the Council. The total membership of the Council which should essentially be from amongst the MLAs/MLCs should depend on the number of subjects transferred to the Council and its total work load. Some independent subject matter experts can be co-opted as non-voting members of the Council. Likewise the total number of officers and staff to be deputed to work in the Council Secretariat shall be determined by the number of subjects transferred and the work load keeping existing Government norms in view. The GFRs will continue to apply in the day to day functioning and for the expenditure to be incurred by the Council. However, any re-appropriation of sub-plan funds would only be done on the recommendation of the Regional Council. Other confidence building measures that need to be initiated include providing adequate political space to Telangana, such as the positions of Chief Minister or Deputy Chief Minister and other key ministerial portfolios. It would also be necessary that for confidence building, important meetings in Government of India particularly where allocation of development and other funds are discussed such as the ones chaired by the Finance Minister, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and the Chairman of Finance Commission are attended by both CM and Deputy CM. The Committee is of the considered view that the momentum for a separate Telangana started picked up from the time the decisions incorporated in the Gentlemen.s Agreement were not implemented. With the constitution of the proposed statutory council, these grievances would be taken care of.
The united Andhra option is being suggested for continuing the development momentum of the three regions and keeping in mind the national perspective. With firm political and administrative management it should be possible to convey conviction to the people that this option would be in the best interest of all and would provide satisfaction to the maximum number of people in the state. It would also take care of the uncertainty over the future of Hyderabad as a bustling educational, industrial and IT hub/destination. For management of water and irrigation resources on an equitable basis, a technical body i.e. Water Management Board and an Irrigation Project Development Corporation in expanded role have been recommended. The above course of action should meet all the issues raised by Telangana people satisfactorily.
The Committee expects that the first reaction to this option will be of a total rejection by some political leaders, other groups and organizations and a majority of people from Telangana region, since their long standing demand for a separate Telangana would not have been met. Although the model recommended is considered to be in the best interest of all the people of the state some segments of Telangana population, such as students and unemployed youth (who have been promised lakhs of jobs), non-gazetted officers (who are anticipating accelerated promotions), lawyers and farmers etc. may not feel satisfied and may resort to violent agitations. It is possible that the MLAs/MLCs and MPs belonging to different parties in Telangana may be pressurised to resign in order to create a political crisis. It would indeed pose a serious challenge to the leadership to deal with this immediate backlash and the agitations which are likely to continue for a period of time. This aspect has been covered at some length in the chapter on law and order and internal security implications. It is, however, also our anticipation that once the empowerment model as also the advantages of the state staying united have been understood by the people it would be possible for the Government to contain and control the agitational activities and take the state towards economic growth and progress. The other implication of the model proposed is that there could be similar demands for creation of such regional statutorily empowered councils in Rayalaseema, which as per our economic analysis is the most backward of the three regions, and in other backward sub-regions of the state like north coastal Andhra and the tribal areas on the northern border of the state and also in other similarly placed backward regions outside the state. However, it goes without saying that this option will receive a near unanimous acceptance by the people of coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and large segments of Hyderabad Metropolis.
The Committee discussed all aspects of this option and while it acknowledges that there will be certain difficulties in its implementation, on balance, it found it the most workable option in the given circumstances and in the best interest of the social and economic welfare of the people of all the three regions. The core issue being one of socio-economic development and good governance, the Committee, keeping the national perspective in mind, is of the considered view that this option stands out as the best way forward. This option, thus, suggests a model that carries forward the national goal of deepening and extending decentralization and of sustaining inclusive growth. It is hoped that the model suggested here would be useful in addressing regional aspirations elsewhere in the country.
The issues discussed in the Report and the recommendations covered in the "summing up. part at the end of the individual chapters broadly suggest two courses of action, (i) pertaining to administrative measures that need to be taken; and (ii) relating to constitutional and legal steps to be initiated and the framework to be put in place. It would be seen that several key recommendations which will have a long term impact on sustaining peace and harmony in the state have been made. The Committee strongly feels that irrespective of the solution/option finally adopted, the Government should examine the recommendations expeditiously for taking further necessary action in a time bound manner. These suggestions have been made with a view to provide good governance and to ensure equitable regional development. Time bound action is imperative as undue delay or tardiness in approach will only further agitate the minds of the general public. Additionally, timely action will satisfy the people.s emotions and sentiments. The Committee hopes that the examination of its recommendations and implementation of the decisions taken will get due and immediate attention.
In addition, the Committee makes the following observations in respect of the recommendations requiring legal or constitutional measures:
(a) The Committee favours setting up of a Medical College/University in a northern district of Telangana. The state government is competent to create such institutions under its existing legal and constitutional powers.
(b) The Committee has recommended establishment of a Water Management Board. This suggestion needs to be examined regardless of the decision that is finally taken on the issue. In case it is decided that the state will stay united, the Board will serve the purpose of ensuring fair and equitable distribution of water and irrigation resources in all three regions, scrutinizing schemes and projects and recommending budgetary requirements to the state government for adequate flow of funds to all the three regions. This Board can be constituted under the state laws with prior concurrence/agreement of the Union Government for deputing a senior officer of the level as recommended for appointment as the Chairman of the Board. Creation of such a Board is within the competence of the state government. However, if the final decision is for bifurcation (or trifurcation as the case may be), then necessary legal provisions may have to be incorporated in the State Reorganisation Act to be passed by the Parliament, for the constitution of such a Board to discharge similar functions on inter-state basis. This kind of mechanism has been provided earlier also, and bodies like Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) and Tungabhadra Board have been created to manage inter-state water distribution issues. Entry 56 of the Union List also empowers the Central Government to legislate on this subject. Indeed, if this Board has to function as an inter-state body, then the awards given by KWDT and GWDT will continue to have overriding effect. It is to be noted that other neighbouring states are also parties to the awards given by the two tribunals.
(c) The reconstitution of the State Irrigation Development Corporation(s) with an expanded role as suggested in paragraph 4.5.07 (Chapter 4) of the Report is again very much within the competence of the state government. In addition, inspiration can also be taken from the Maharashtra model. Other best practices elsewhere and emerging trends in the sector can be adopted for enlarging the existing role of the current corporation or while constituting the new/regional corporation(s).
(d) Lastly, the Committee looked at the legal framework required for the constitution of a statutorily empowered Regional Council for Telangana in case the state is to remain united and also in case the bifurcation (or trifurcation, as the case may) of the state is to be effected. Earlier, a Regional Committee of the Legislature had been constituted by a Presidential Order under Article 371 through the Seventh Amendment in 1958. However, after the introduction of Six Point Formula, the Regional Committee was done away with by the Thirty Second Amendment in 1974. It has already been discussed in the Report (Chapter 1) that the Regional Committee did not fulfil the role envisioned for a statutory Regional Council under the Gentleman's Agreement, 1956. Similar models such as the statutorily empowered District and Regional Councils in the North Eastern Region are already in existence. Their creation, however, has been covered specifically under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. The view of the Committee is that since a new governance model giving powers to a Regional Council within the state is to be legally established, a suitable provision to that effect may be necessary to be incorporated in Part XXI (Article 371) of the Constitution. The intention of the Committee is that the Regional Council should exercise full powers for the implementation of the development sub-plan for the region in respect of the subjects transferred to it. The Regional Council will exercise adequate control on the funds, functions and functionaries (Group "C. and "D.) for realizing the overall objectives of the sub-plan. However, the area under HMDA will not be a part of the development sub-plan since there is a separate authority for this purpose headed by the Chief Minister. The Regional Council will make a report of the progress achieved in an Annual Report which will be placed in the state assembly. As it will possibly be the first case of an empowered Regional Council outside of the Sixth Schedule Areas, every care should be taken to ensure that the proposed Regional Council is fully empowered in real terms. This will be critical both for making the model acceptable across the board and for winning the confidence of the people. Needless to emphasize, the process for constituting the proposed Council must be completed expeditiously.
It will also be important to add the existing provision of Article 371D (10) to give the Regional Council a legal and statutory force. The provision reads as follows: "The provisions of this article and of any order made by the President there under shall have effect notwithstanding anything in any other provision of this Constitution or in any other law for the time being in force".
In case a decision is taken for bifurcation (or trifurcation), the procedure has been clearly prescribed in Article 3 of the Constitution and needs no further elaboration.