What is the Act?
The Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill was passed by the Assembly last year to clear the way for three capitals -- Visakhapatnam as executive capital, Amaravati as legislative capital, and Kurnool as judicial capital. Alongside, the Assembly passed a legislation to repeal the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2014, brought during the erstwhile Telugu Desam Party regime to build a new capital at Amaravati after Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh.
Why the Act?
The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government had argued that it was against focusing on the development of a grand capital while neglecting other parts of the state. Instead, it had argued that having three capitals is part of a decentralised development plan and cited reports by several committees advising this. Politically, it was seen as Mr Reddy's move to prevent arch rival and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu from claiming credit for developing a state-of-the-art capital city at Amaravati.
Who opposed the Act?
Soon after the Assembly passed the Bill, farmers from the Amaravati region, who were hoping for massive development and huge returns on their land once the capital city is built, moved court. Practical logistic problems in coordinating between three capitals also came up as a counter to the government's plan. Some petitions accused the state government of misusing taxpayers' money, arguing that significant infrastructure had already been built in Amaravati and developing two more capitals will further drain the public exchequer.
Why is the Act being scrapped now?
Announcing the surprise decision in the Assembly today, Chief Minister Reddy said, "We believe that the decentralisation of capital is much needed in Andhra Pradesh. We will withdraw the Bill we earlier introduced, we will consider all issues that have been brought to our notice and will come back with a complete, comprehensive, improved Bill to the assembly.''
He said the state government is withdrawing the bill so that it can bring a better version that will take care of legal issues and also to explain its intent to people from all regions of Andhra Pradesh.