Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeOpinionsHow the Modi government corrected and strategically implemented Sonia's shoddily drafted Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation...

How the Modi government corrected and strategically implemented Sonia’s shoddily drafted Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014

The Act is so badly drafted that even now there are unresolved issues between the Telangana and AP state governments (For example, Jairam Ramesh failed to list 12 institutions whose assets have to be distributed between the states and now they are fighting for them!). Let’s hope that India never has such careless people at its helm again. 

The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 has not only resulted in the splitting of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh into two states – Telangana and Andhra Pradesh – but has also been the cause of two historical events in the country’s polity. 

The infamous pepper spray incident in the Lok Sabha occurred when this bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha in February 2014. Desperate to not have it passed, a Congress MP, Lagadapati Rajagopal, pulled out a pepper spray from his pocket and unleashed it on hapless members of the 15th Lok Sabha. Sonia Gandhi had to suspend her own members from the Lok Sabha to enable the passage of her own government’s bill. 

Everyone remembers the now famous line by Modi in 2018 while replying to the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against his government – “I wish the opposition all the best in bringing the same motion in 2023 too”! The misgivings surrounding the implementation of the AP Reorg Act were the primary reason that led to this no-confidence motion! 

The drafting of the act was so careless and shoddy that the Modi government had to redraw the boundaries of the two states, in its very first cabinet meeting in May 2014. The urgency was to ensure that there were no issues for the official bifurcation to happen on June 2nd, 2014. Over the next 10 years, it became the responsibility of the Narendra Modi government to clean up many shoddy aspects of this mess and meet the 10-year deadline that UPA put on multiple projects. 

The Thirteenth Schedule of this Act promises 13 different educational institutions – 11 in Andhra Pradesh and 2 in Telangana. This was done to make up for the lack of good institutes outside of the Hyderabad region. As we can see in the table below, the Narendra Modi government has either approved or established all these institutes in these 10 years. 

All institutes started imparting classes within a year of getting approvals. The last approval came for the Tribal University in Telangana in October 2023. Unfriendly media tried to make a mountain out of molehill for certain aspects of these approvals, just to make Chandrababu Naidu look good, but you can see from the table that most institutes were functioning in the first term of NDA itself (though they had 10 years of time to just approve!). 

The second aspect of the Thirteenth Schedule is a shining example of how carelessly Sonia Gandhi’s government prepared the Act and left it to Modi to clean it up. The Act promised three infrastructure projects as mentioned in the table below:

A vague definition that NHAI will improve road connectivity in interior areas of Telangana was promised in the Act. Little would Sonia Gandhi have realized that Narendra Modi will simply transform the road infrastructure in the entire India, let alone Telangana. A whopping INR 1,00,000/- crores were spent on just roads for Telangana (out of which NHAI spent 75,000 crores!). The next promise is for a 4000 MW NTPC plant. Modi government approved this in 2016 and Phase-1 (with 1600MW) is already operational. 

We now come to the promise that was not fulfilled – “The Government of India shall develop a new major port in Duggirajapatnam, Andhra Pradesh”. In the year 2012, Congress’s own Chief Minister recommended that a port cannot be built in Duggirajapatnam. In the year 2013, the UPA government’s technical committee concluded that a port was not viable there because of environmental issues and more importantly would be a hassle for ISRO’s launch center in Sriharikota. Yet, Sonia Gandhi decides to promise the development of a port in this very town. 

NITI Aayog gives another attempt – and concludes that in addition to clearance issues, it just doesn’t make sense to have a major port so close to Chennai (80 km), Ennore (80 km), and Krishnapatnam (40 km)! The project therefore had to be shelved. The state government tried to establish another port at a town called Ramayapatnam but isn’t pursuing it any further. It’s really sad how Sonia Gandhi, knowingly promised something that she knew wasn’t recommended by anyone. 

The shoddy job doesn’t end here. The Thirteenth schedule promises a lot of “feasibility studies” for multiple infrastructure projects, as listed in the table below. 

Yet another vague promise of “improving rail and road connectivity between Vijayawada and Hyderabad” was made. Today, we have excellent road connectivity not just between these two cities, but across the entire two states. The investments in railways also ensured better connectivity not just between these two cities, but in the entire two states. Little did Sonia Gandhi realize at that time, that Modi would transform connectivity in India like never before! 

A promise was made to merely do a “feasibility study” of expanding the existing 3 airports and making them international too (while one was already International!). Modi went multiple steps further – expanded 2 of the other airports to international; gave approvals to 3 new greenfield airports; added 1 new airport to UDAN and approved the expansion of another new airport! Little did Sonia Gandhi realize Modi would transform our transport sector like this in India, let alone Telangana! 

Feasibility studies were promised, within 6 months, for 4 projects – steel plants at Khammam in Telangana and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh; for greenfield refinery; and a rail coach factory. All feasibility reports have concluded that none of these projects are viable! Sonia Gandhi’s chicanery in portraying a mere promise of “feasibility study” as a promise of actual implementation is simply unparalleled. So technically while the Modi government fulfilled the promise of conducting feasibility studies for all projects, he has faced a lot of (unfair) flak for actually not establishing unviable projects! Even then, the Modi government wanted to work with the state governments for alternate sites for these projects, but the state governments showed no interest

The vagueness does not extend to just Educational Institutes and Infrastructure projects. Section 94 of the Act gives a vague promise of fiscal incentives “as necessary”. This can mean anything under the sun! The Modi government has made a meaningful implementation of this vague promise by funding backward districts in both states and providing other incentives, as listed in the table below. 

There was a vague promise of financial support for the capital city – the Modi government released INR 1500 crores for this too (the High Court, Secretariat, and Assembly were built with these funds, in addition to drainage systems). In addition to what was promised, the Modi government established institutes and projects that were not promised in the act too. 

If you are not from Andhra Pradesh, you would now be wondering what exactly is the problem when the Modi government fulfilled all promises and more! The core issue was the promised Special Status to Andhra Pradesh on the floor of the Rajya Sabha by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (but not included in the Act). He assured the special status for 5 years (2014 to 2019). 

Venkaiah Naidu from the BJP told the house that when the BJP comes to power, they will extend this to 10 years. Special Status for 10 years was sold as the panacea for all ills that will befall AP when the split happens. This was sold by the BJP, TDP, and Jana Sena parties in the run-up to the 2014 elections. After the elections, because of recommendations from the 14th Finance Commission, the Modi government did not give the promised special status but instead gave a special package. 

This did not go well with the people of Andhra Pradesh who were already emotionally charged. No amount of factual discourse helped create a sense of confidence among the people. It was a promise broken – no two ways about it, but the remedial measures were good. It was a double failure not to communicate them properly. 

However, this broken promise should not be an excuse to forget the shoddy and perhaps dangerous way in which the state was split. We should never forget how Congress MPs had to form a ring around the country’s Home Minister in the Lok Sabha, to prevent an attack from other Congress MPs; how violence was employed by Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha; how Congress Cabinet ministers did not have access to the Act before it came to the Cabinet; how the Home Minister of India stood up and said that though he is supposed to own the Bill, he will relegate that responsibility to another minister Jairam Ramesh because he drafted the bill; and how the live telecast of Lok Sabha was cut off when the bill was put to vote! Sonia Gandhi’s lack of respect for process and norms resulted in one of the most badly prepared splits of a state. 

The Act is so badly drafted that even now there are unresolved issues between the Telangana and AP state governments (For example, Jairam Ramesh failed to list 12 institutions whose assets have to be distributed between the states and now they are fighting for them!). Let’s hope that India never has such careless people at its helm again. 

Join OpIndia's official WhatsApp channel

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

S. Sudhir Kumar
S. Sudhir Kumar
Obsessive eater, Compulsive sleeper, Repulsive Writer

Related Articles

Trending now

5 months ago, WSJ called this US city ‘America’s Jihad capital’ and the drama hasn’t stopped yet: Pro-Hamas protests, heightened security, politics and more

In February 2024, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed written by Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute in which he called Dearborn “America’s Jihad Capital”. The assertion was based on the fact that the region became a focal point of intense scrutiny following a series of rallies and protests supporting Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

New Zealand: Inquiry finds 200,000 children, vulnerable adults abused in state, church care for 70 years

The Anglican Church and the Catholic Church have acknowledged the abuses meted out to victims after an inquiry found 200,000 children and adults were subjected to abuse by church care for over 7 decades.

Recently Popular

- Advertisement -