The Union Cabinet on Thursday night approved a bill for the creation of a Telangana state with 10 districts, paving the way for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh to give birth to the country’s 29th state.
Though the idea of adding two districts of Rayalaseema to the new state was raised by at least two of the Ministers from the coastal districts of the State, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde apparently made it clear it was never under consideration.
The Cabinet has broadly approved most of the recommendations made by the Group of Ministers constituted to consider the contentious issues. The Cabinet’s approval came after the Congress Core Group decided to adhere to the Congress Working Committee’s decision on a Telangana with 10 districts.
The bill will go to President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday or Saturday, with a request to make a reference to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly for its views, the Home Minister told journalists after a three-hour Cabinet meeting.
The President is to go on a two-day visit to West Bengal beginning Friday. Indications are that the government would indicate a time-frame within which it would like to have the views of the Assembly.
Some of the highlights of the bill are: Telangana will have 10 districts and the rest of Andhra Pradesh will have 13 districts; Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation area will remain the common capital for both states for a period not exceeding 10 years; an expert committee will identify the alternative capital for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh within 45 days of the gazette notification; a joint public service commission will be in place for the two states; both states will have special status under Article 371-D of the Constitution for equitable opportunities.
The article has been edited to incorporate the following correction:
In the front-page report, “Finally, Cabinet approves Telangana with 10 districts” (Dec. 6, 2013, some editions), it was reported that “an expert committee will identify an alternative capital for Telangana within 45 days of gazette notification.” Actually, an alternative capital is to be identified for the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh.