Three-Capital Plan of Andhra Pradesh

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    In News

    • Andhra Pradesh CM has said Vishakhapatnam will be the new capital of the state.

    About

    • Andhra Pradesh needs a new capital since Hyderabad, the capital of undivided Andhra is now with Telangana.
    • The two states have been sharing the capital temporarily.
    • Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) Act, 2014 has been scrapped by the current state government.

    What is the Capital dispute about?

    • After the division of Andhra Pradesh, the state initially proposed the creation of a Grand capital in Amravati and enacted the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2014.
    • The state government following the recommendations of the High Power Committee passed the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020.
    • The Act said Amaravati would be the “Legislative Capital”, Visakhapatnam the “Executive Capital”, and Kurnool the “Judicial Capital” of the state.
    • Farmers of the Amravati organised themselves under the banner of the Rajdhani Rythu Parirakshana Samithi.
    • A petition was filed in the Andhra HC challenging the Decentralisation decision. Post the HC verdict the state government decided to scrap the decentralisation law. 
    • The SC Bench had sought responses from the Centre, the Andhra Pradesh government, and the Amravati Samiti. 

    Benefits of three capital formation

    • Governmental activities are the fulcrum around which several developmental activities spring up and boost the local economy bringing in greater productivity and employment for locals.
    • Balanced Regional Development: By having three capitals, it is believed that the development of different regions of the state can be balanced, leading to improved economic and social development.
    • Increased Investment: The formation of new capitals is expected to attract investment and create new job opportunities, boosting the local economy.
    • Improved Accessibility: The decentralization of the capital city is expected to improve accessibility to government services for citizens in different parts of the state.
    • From the urbanisation angle, it is better to work against a primate city with high population density and move in favor of mid-sized cities with decent economies.
    • Reduced congestion: The decentralization of the capital city is also expected to reduce congestion in the current capital and improve the quality of life for its residents.

    Challenges with three capital formation

    • Separation and distance between the Legislature and the Executive will hamper coordination during assembly sessions.
    • Decentralisation and inclusive development will not get served by declaring three capital alone but functional and financial decentralisation and empowerment down to the third tier of governance is required, which makes local bodies self-governing institutions.
    • Consensus of all stakeholders is not there: Investors who had put in money and farmers who had contributed land had done so in the hope that certain gains will flow out of their initiatives.
    • Financial concerns: The cost of developing three capitals is estimated to be high, and there are concerns about the financial feasibility of the project.
    • Lack of infrastructure: The selected locations for the three capitals may lack adequate infrastructure, which could pose challenges for development and implementation.
    • Disengagement with Appointed Experts and Organisations: The World Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, etc. have already wound up their funding commitment. It is bound to strengthen the ill reputation of course reversal on account of Internal  Politics.
    • Environmental impact: The formation of new capitals could also impact the environment, including deforestation and loss of biodiversity, as well as social impacts on local communities.

    Examples of Multiple Capitals

    • Global
      • South Africa has a different capital for its judicial, legislative, and executive branches at the federal level (Pretoria, Cape Town, and Bloemfontein).
      • Countries with 2 capitals: So do Bolivia (with capitals in Sucre and La Paz), Chile (Valparaiso and Santiago), and Georgia (Tbilisi and Kutaisi).
    • Indian
      • In Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Kerala capitals are at Lucknow, Bhopal, Gandhinagar, and Thiruvananthapuram whereas the High Courts of these states are located at Prayagraj, Jabalpur, Ahmedabad, and Kochi.
      • Some states also move their legislative assemblies to a different city for part of the year. These include Maharashtra (Mumbai and Nagpur), Himachal Pradesh (Shimla and Dharmshala), and Karnataka (Bengaluru and Belgaum).

    Way Forward

    • Consultation with Stakeholders: The government should engage in consultation with various stakeholders, including local residents, political leaders, and experts, to understand their perspectives and address any concerns they may have.
    • Feasibility Study: A comprehensive feasibility study should be conducted to assess the technical, financial, and administrative viability of the project.
    • Infrastructure Development: Adequate infrastructure should be developed in all three proposed capitals, including transportation, housing, and basic amenities, to ensure their viability as functional cities.
    • Environmental Impact Assessment: An environmental impact assessment should be conducted to ensure that the formation of new capitals does not have adverse effects on the environment and local communities.
    • Implementation Plan: A detailed implementation plan should be developed to ensure the smooth and efficient rollout of the three capitals, including the allocation of resources and responsibilities.
    • Monitoring and Evaluation: The progress of the project should be regularly monitored and evaluated, and any necessary modifications should be made to ensure its success.

    Source: IE