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 Jagan Mohan Reddys 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.
Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana met here on Monday to discuss various issues including the latest political developments at the national level in the wake of the nation-wide protests over Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
After landing here from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy drove to Pragati Bhavan, the official residence of his Telangana counterpart K. Chandrashekhar Rao. Rao accorded a warm welcome to Reddy and hosted a lunch for him. After the lunch, they discussed various issues.
While the agenda of their meeting was not officially announced, the two leaders understood to be discussing the political developments at the Centre in the wake of ongoing protests against CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The two Chief Ministers are likely to discuss CAA and related issues to take a stand in view of nation-wide protests. Rao’’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had voted against the Bill in Parliament while YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) led by Jagan Mohan Reddy had supported it. They are also likely to disuss a joint strategy over NPR in view of the demands from various sections, especially Muslims to halt the work on NPR as they believe it to be the first step for NRC. The work on NPR is scheduled from April 1.
Telangana Chief Minister is under pressure from its ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and other Muslim groups to stay NPR as done by Kerala and West Bengal. Rao has come under criticism for his silence over the NRC and NPR. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who was criticised for backing Citizenship Bill in Parliament, last month made it clear that he will not support NRC or any other move by the Centre which discriminates against the minorities.