Amaravati: Without taking the word ‘capital’ that has become a bone of contention, the Andhra Pradesh government is set to bring in a new legislation entitled “The AP Decentralisation and Equal Development of All Regions Act, 2020” in the extended winter session of the Legislature, scheduled to begin here on January 20.
The new legislation is intended to “provide for decentralization of governance and equal development of all the regions of the State by establishing various State organs, departments, instrumentalities at different centres in the different zones for ensuring equal and closer participation of people of all regions,” a draft note said. For this purpose, the State will be divided into three regions, which will thereafter be referred to as zones, it said. Each zone will be governed by a Board consisting of nine members, including the Chief Minister. Each Board will oversee the achievement of the objectives of the new Act and make recommendations to the State (government) for ensuring better development in the particular zone.
Besides the Chief Minister, the Board will have a vice- chairman, at least one MP, two MLAs and four other members to be nominated by the State government. An officer of the rank of a Principal Secretary and above will act as the full-time Secretary of the Board. The State government will notify the location of each Board and also any State organ, department and any other State instrumentalities that could be located in each zone.
The six-member committee of experts, headed by retired bureaucrat G N Rao, recommended the zonal system of administration, modeled on neighbouring Karnataka.
International consultancy firm Boston Consulting Group too made a similar recommendation, in line Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy’s idea of having “three capitals” in spreading across the three regions of the State.
With the Chief Minister’s idea triggering widespread protests in the State and demand for having “one capital only” growing, the government avoided any reference to the term ‘capital’ and instead adopted the decentralisation mantra.
The High-Powered Committee of Ministers and bureaucrats has also taken the same line and focused on ‘decentralised governance’, during its three meetings so far. The HPC is scheduled to hold a full-fledged meeting with the Chief Minister here on January 17 to take the concept further, before the Cabinet clears the draft legislation on the 20th. It will immediately be placed in the Legislature for adoption during the extended winter session from January 20, a senior Minister said.