Three Capital proposal in AP: Analysis – UPSC GS2

  • The Andhra Pradesh government proposed a three-capital plan for the state.
  • As per the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, the State will have Visakhapatnam, Amaravati and Kurnool respectively as the executive, legislative and judicial capitals of the State.
  • The proposal is set to replace the ambitious plan (of the previous government) of building Amaravati as a world-class greenfield capital city.
Origins of the three-capital plan:
  • South Africa has three capital cities: executive Pretoria, judicial Bloemfontein and legislative Cape Town.
  • The K.C. Sivaramakrishnan (KCS) Committee constituted in the aftermath of a bifurcation made recommendations along similar lines.
  • However there is a difference between government’s proposal and KCS committee’s recommendations.
  • While the government’s formula of three capitals — calling them judicial, legislative and executive capitals — appears to be an imported idea, perhaps inspired by the South African example, the KCS committee stressed distributed development through decentralised governance.
For Government’s functioning:
  • Running legislative business with most of the secretariat located 400 km away can lead to logistic inefficiencies, in the absence of efficient infrastructure.
  • Andhra Pradesh can learn from Maharashtra’s experience of running Winter Sessions in Nagpur, aimed essentially at placating regional sentiments.
  • International experiences — including that of South Africa — of deconcentrating executive power by shifting capitals to address regional sentiments do not inspire confidence either.
Ability to cope with intense development:
  • Infrastructure development within the proposed growth centres is critical. The KCS committee stressed this extensively.
  • Visakhapatnam, as the executive capital, will experience much stress.
  • Visakhapatnam, in spite of its excellent and natural advantages, is woefully lacking in its infrastructure. It could not even deliver a functional Bus Rapid Transit system, even with the availability of resources.
Environmental impact:
  • The KCS committee has warned about the environmental impact of intensification and densification in cities, with a special reference to Visakhapatnam.
  • The recent environmental disasters, including the LG Polymers gas leak, expose the city’s vulnerabilities.
  • The ongoing processes of preparing the Master Plan and Strategic Plan for the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region are an opportunity to address these challenges.
  • Ad hocism and a casual approach can undo its future potential.
NOTE: Questions can be asked indirectly on regional imbalances in big states and how to overcome them. This example can be quoted as a case study.

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