(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) 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 intra-state 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 Gentlemen'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 providing simultaneously 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 Chie 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 Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister. 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 organisations 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 decentralisation and of sustaining inclusive growth. It is hoped that the model suggested here would be useful in addressing regional aspirations elsewhere in the country.