Friday, January 31, 2014

Dr.JP wants President to get AP Bill amended before sending it to Parliament

Lok Satta Party national President and Member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan has urged President Pranab Mukherjee to ensure that the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill addresses the negative consequences of division of the State, and the legitimate concerns of residual Andhra Pradesh before recommending its introduction in Parliament.

In a letter addressed to the President on January 30, Dr. JP said that “if Parliament now acts precipitately without addressing the legitimate concerns of the regions of Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra, it will lead to severe disaffection, tensions and disharmony that will weaken the sense of unity among the people of India.”

Dr. JP said the rejection of the Bill by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly reflected the serious misgivings of a majority of the people of the State. Pointing out that there is a surcharged atmosphere prevailing in all the three regions of the State, Dr. JP said that “when primordial loyalties and atavistic fears are aroused, we have a crisis situation. It is vital that prolonged strife is avoided in the interests of the State and the country.”

Dr. JP told the President that as the custodian of the Constitution and federalism along with the Supreme Court, he should take all steps necessary for a comprehensive and acceptable resolution of the Andhra Pradesh crisis, and for future peace, harmony and prosperity of all the three regions of Andhra Pradesh.

In his three-page letter, Dr, JP said that “while the desire of the people of Telangana region to have a separate State is manifestly evident, the procedure and process adopted for formation of the State suffer from grave defects.” They are:

  • The process of reorganization has not been initiated by the Andhra Pradesh Legislature and is contrary to the federal spirit of the Constitution. It also goes against past traditions, established precedents and practices. Several States have been formed after 1950 but this is the first occasion when a major State – one that was formed with the prior consent of the pre-existing States’ legislatures and through an explicit compact - is now sought to be divided without the consent of the State Legislature.

  • There has been no effort to arrive at a negotiated settlement among the elected representatives and stake-holders of the three regions – Rayalaseema, Telangana and Coastal Andhra.

  • The Bill does not address the consequences of partition, and does not contain measures to deal with the fiscal imbalances, developmental needs and resource constraints in the successor States.

In his letter, Dr, JP suggested incorporation of the following seven provisions in the Bill as part of a comprehensive and acceptable resolution of the Andhra Pradesh crisis:
  1. The Rayalaseema region may be given recognition by law as a special category region, and the revenue deficits of the region are fully covered by Central grants. Corporate income tax and excise duty exemptions should be granted to Rayalaseema on par with the Special Category States.

  2. The North Coastal region comprising the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam may be constituted into an autonomous regional council with adequate Central grants and resources for economic development.

  3. Ramayapatnam major port may be built as a Central public sector undertaking to meet the infrastructural needs of Krishna delta region.

  4. All permissions and clearances pertaining to Polavaram multi-purpose project may be deemed to have been obtained from successor States and the submerged areas are included in residual Andhra Pradesh.

  5. All the on-going Krishna surplus water based projects in Telangana and Rayalaseema regions may be deemed to have been approved by successor States, so that they cannot be stalled on account of any objections in future.

  6. Constitutionally viable arrangements may be made to facilitate Greater Hyderabad being the Common Capital for ten years, and legal measures are incorporated to ensure economic security, safety and full enjoyment of all Constitutional rights for all citizens irrespective of place of birth.

  7. In respect of the educational and infrastructural projects listed in the Bill in all three regions of Andhra Pradesh, irrevocable commitments, specific time limits of three to five years, mandatory Central assistance, and expenditure to be incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India may be incorporated in the law.

Lok Satta Party's Amendments to AP Reorganization Bill

Notes on Amendments to AP Reorganization Bill

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