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In Andhra Pradesh, the capital question


A few days ago, the Andhra Pradesh government passed a Bill to repeal the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act of 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Act of 2020 so that it may come up with a more comprehensive legislation that “dispels the wrong notions of the land-givers in Amaravati” and clarify its position on the legalities raised by the petitioners in the High Court.


GS-II: Governance, GS-II: Polity and Constitution

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Regarding new capital for Andhra Pradesh
  2. The Story behind deciding the capital of Andhra Pradesh
  3. Procedure for renaming a City
  4. Procedure for renaming a state
  5. Renaming states in the constitution

Regarding new capital for Andhra Pradesh

  • Centre said it had formed an expert committee to study alternatives for a new capital for AP based on the AP Reorganization Act.
  • The committee submitted its report based on which the government of AP notified that the capital city be named as Amaravati.
  • The Andhra Pradesh state government, through the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Act, 2020, provided for three seats of governance — Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool. (3 capitals).

Need for three capitals

  • The government says it is against building one mega capital while neglecting other parts of the state. Three capitals ensure equal development of different regions of the state.
  • Decentralisation has been the central theme in recommendations of all major committees that were set up to suggest a suitable location for the capital of Andhra Pradesh. These include Justice B N Srikrishna Committee, K Sivaramakrishnan Committee, G N Rao Committee etc.

Why implementing this idea will be difficult?

  • Coordination and logistics fear: Coordinating between seats of legislature and executive in separate cities will be easier said than done, and with the government offering no specifics of a plan, officers and common people alike fear a logistics nightmare.
  • Time and costs of travel: Executive capital Visakhapatnam is 700 km from judicial capital Kurnool, and 400 km from legislative capital Amaravati. The Amaravati-Kurnool distance is 370 km. The time and costs of travel will be significant.

Which other Indian states have multiple capitals?

  • Maharashtra has two capitals– Mumbai and Nagpur (which holds the winter session of the state assembly).
  • Himachal Pradesh has capitals at Shimla and Dharamshala (winter).
  • The former state of Jammu & Kashmir had Srinagar and Jammu (winter) as capitals.

The Story behind deciding the capital of Andhra Pradesh

Sri Krishna Committee report

In 2010, a panel headed by Justice (Retd.) B.N. Srikrishna was formed to “bring about a permanent solution” to the Telangana statehood demand.

In 2013, the Union Cabinet approved a Bill for the creation of Telangana State with 10 districts, paving the way for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

A.P. Reorganisation Bill

The Bill envisages Hyderabad as the common capital. The Andhra Pradesh Governor will be Governor for both successor States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The Centre will set up an apex council for the supervision of Krishna and Godavari rivers on water sharing.

The High Court at Hyderabad will be common for both States till a separate High Court is set up for residuary Andhra Pradesh.

Procedure for renaming a City

  • The task of renaming a city is given to the State Legislators.
  • The procedure differs from state to state but the regulations remains the same.
  • The first step involves raising of a request in form of a resolution by any MLA, which proposes the renaming of any particular city or street.
  • On the basis of the request of the MLA, the issue would be deliberated upon and the consequences of the same shall be discussed upon.
  • The final step involves voting of the validity of the resolution.
  • If a simple majority is attained in favour of the resolution, the said resolution shall be declared passed.
  • The State Legislation on the basis of the majority view shall make the necessary changes in the name of the state or city public.
  • The proposal will go to the Centre for approval before the city is officially renamed.

Procedure for renaming a state

  • Unlike in the case of renaming cities, to change the name of a state, approval from the Centre’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is required under provisions laid down in its 1953 guidelines.
  • This means that a Constitutional amendment becomes necessary to affect this change.
  • The Union MHA then takes over and gives it consent after it receives No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from several agencies such as the Ministry of Railways, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, Survey of India and Registrar General of India.
  • If the proposal is accepted, the resolution, introduced as a Bill in the Parliament, becomes a law and the name of the state is changed thereafter.

Renaming states in the constitution

The Constitution of India provides for the renaming of a state under Article 3.

The Article 3 provides for formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States

  1. The procedure of renaming of the state can be initiated by either the Parliament or the State Legislator.
  2. A bill for renaming a state may be introduced in the Parliament on the recommendation of the President.
  3. Before the introduction of the bill, the President shall send the bill to the respective state assembly for expressing their views within a stipulated time.
  4. The views of the state assembly are not binding; neither on the President nor on the Parliament.
  5. But the process must not be skipped as it is of vital importance as any law so made will be affecting that particular state.
  6. On the expiry of the period, the bill will be sent to the Parliament for deliberation.
  7. The bill in order to take the force of a law must be passed by a simple majority.
  8. The bill is sent for approval to the President.
  9. After the approval of the said bill, the bill becomes a law and the name of the state stands modified.

-Source: The Hindu

April 2024