February 7, 2014

Cabinet clears Telangana Bill, Hyderabad to be common Capital

The Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Bill, rejected by the State Assembly last month, goes to Parliament next week with the Union Cabinet clearing the draft. As per the provisions of the Constitution, Assembly discussion is a formality and its opinion is not binding on the Centre.
New Delhi: The Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Bill to create a separate state of Telangana was cleared by a special meeting of the Union Cabinet on Friday. The draft sent to the Andhra Pradesh legislature in December last year was rejected by the State Assembly last month. The rejection by the Assembly has no bearing on the process of bifurcation. The Bill will be introduced in Parliament next week.

Hyderabad will be joint Capital of both Telangana and Seemandhra for the next 10 years. The Seemandhra leaders' demand to make Hyderabad a Union Territory was rejected by the Cabinet.

The Central Government will have 32 official amendments incorporating certain additional administrative aspects of the bifurcation. The Bill will be tabled along with the notes of proceedings of the Assembly and amendments proposed by the State legislators.

It is unlikely that the Congress MPs from Seemandhra will be on the official side in Parliament when the Bill is discussed. In fact, the third day of the winter session on Friday was paralysed over the issue. However, the Centre is likely to incorporate some amendments to appease the Seemandhra leaders.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) on Telangana is reported to have recommended a special financial package for Seemandhra to build a new Capital in course of time. The financial assistance will be worked out by the Finance Commission.

Strong opposition from Telangana finally clinched the issue of Hyderabad in its favour, the GoM rejecting the demand of the Seemandhra leaders to make Hyderabad a Union Territory. Hyderabad is now the proposed joint Capital of both Telangana and Seemandhra for the next 10 years.

According to the Bill, the Governor, who will handle the charge of both Telangana and Seemandhra, will be responsible for maintaining law and order and security of vital installations as well as allocation of official buildings in the joint Capital region.

Moving away from convention, the government is likely to introduce the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Bill in the Rajya Sabha next week as there are fewer Seemandhra MPs to oppose it leading to a stalemate. There is also no constitutional provision that such a Bill must be introduced first in the Lok Sabha.

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