Srikrishna Committee Report on Telangana Released

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The report of the Srikrishna Committee was made public here today.  In the 461 page report, the Committee has put forward several solutions/possible options. The Committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Mr. Justice (Retd) B.N. Srikrishna to hold consultations with all sections of the people and all political parties and groups in Andhra Pradesh.  The report was submitted to the Union Home Minister, Shri P. Chidambaram on 30th December, 2010. The links to the Report are as follows:

Summary of the Report

The Srikrishna Committee Report

Appendix of the Report


Creation of a separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital and keeping Andhra Pradesh united with constitutional and statutory measures for empowerment of the Telangana region are among the six options recommended by the Justice Srikrishna Committee. The report of the five-member committee headed by former Supreme Court judge that gave its recommendations after about 11 months of consultation process in the State was released by the Home Ministry on Thursday, a week after it received it. The two-volume 461-page report has also suggested maintaining status quo with a rider that it is the least-favoured option.

In the fourth option, for which political parties spearheaded by Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) have been campaigning, the Committee suggests bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into two units — Telangana and Seemandhra — as per existing boundaries. Telangana will have Hyderabad as capital, while Seemandhra, comprising Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions, will have a new capital. In the option for keeping the State united, the Committee has suggested that there should be simultaneous provision of certain constitutional and statutory measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region by creation of a statutorily empowered Telangana Regional Council.

Another option is to bifurcate the State into Seemandhra and Telangana with Hyderabad as a Union Territory and the two States developing their own capitals in due course. Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Rayala-Telangana and coastal Andhra regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of Rayala-Telangana is another option suggested by the committee.

Yet another idea is to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory. “This Union Territory will have geographical linkage and contiguity via Nalgonda district in the south—east to Guntur district in coastal Andhra and via Mahaboobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema.

The six options

1. Maintaining Status Quo: The committee said it is of the unanimous view that it would not be a practical approach to simply maintain the status quo in respect of the situation.

“Some intervention is definitely required and though maintaining the existing status quo is an option it is favoured the least,” the panel says.

2. Bifurcation of the state into Seemandhra and Telangana; with Hyderabad as a Union Territory and the two states developing their own capitals in due course:

“There is a definite likelihood of serious backlashes in Telangana region and on overall consideration, the Committee found this option was also not practicable.”

3. Bifurcation of the state into Rayala-Telangana and Coastal Andhra Regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of Rayala-Telangana:

“This scenario is not likely to be accepted either by the pro-Telangana or by the pro-United Andhra protagonists.

While this option may have economic justification, the committee believes that this option may not offer a resolution which would be acceptable to people of all three regions,” it says.

4. Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory. This Union Territory will have geographical linkage and contiguity via Nalgonda district in the south-east to Guntur district in coastal Andhra and via Mahaboobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema:

“This is likely to receive stiff opposition from Telangana protagonists and it may be difficult to reach a political consensus in making this solution acceptable to all,” it says.

5. Bifurcation of the state into Telangana and Seemandhra as per existing boundaries with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra to have a new capital:

“The committee feels that this option has to be given consideration. The continuing demand for a separate Telangana has some merit and is not entirely justified. In case this option is exercised the apprehensions of the coastal Andhra and the Rayalaseema people and others who were settled in Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana with regard to their investments, properties, livelihood and employment would need to be adequately addressed.

“Considering all aspects, the Committee felt that while creation of separate Telangana would satisfy a large majority of the people from the region, it will also throw up several serious problems. Therefore, after taking into account of the pros and cons the committee did not think it to be most preferred, but the second best option. Separation is recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if decision can be reached amicably amongst all the three regions.”

6. Keeping the state united by simultaneously providing certain definite constitutional/statuary measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region-creation of a statutorily-empowered Telangana Regional Council:

“In this option, it is proposed to keep the state united and provide constitutional/statuary measures to address the core socio-economic concerns about the development of the Telangana region. This can be done through the establishment of a statutorily-empowered Telangana Regional Council with adequate transfer of funds, functions and functionaries. The regional council will provide a legislative consultative mechanism for the subjects to be dealt with by the Council.

“The united Andhra option is being suggested for continuing the development momentum of the three regions and keeping in mind the national perspective. With firm political and administrative management it should be possible to convey conviction to the people that this option would be in the best interest of all and would provide satisfaction to the maximum number of the people in the state.

“It would also take care of the uncertainty over the future of Hyderabad as a bustling, educational, industrial and IT hub/destination. For management of water and irrigation resources on an equitable basis, a technical body, i.e., Water Management Board and an Irrigation Project Development Corporation in expanded role have been recommended. The above course of action should meet all the issues raised by Telangana people satisfactorily.

“The committee discussed all aspects of this option and while it acknowledges that there will be certain difficulties in its implementation, on balance, it found it the most workable option in the given circumstances and in the best interest of the social and economic welfare of the people of all the three regions. The core issue being one of the socio—economic development and good governance, the committee keeping the national perspective in mind, is of the considered view that this option stands out as the best way forward,” it says.

Meeting of Political Parties to Discuss Srikrishna Report on Telangana Begins
HM Expresses hope that Report will Generate an Informed and Mature Debate

The meeting of recognized political parties in Andhra Pradesh, to discuss the Srikrishna Committee Report on Telangana, began here this morning. Shri N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, CM, Andhra Pradesh; Shri Uttam Kumar Reddy, MLA, APCC; Shri K. Sambasiva Rao, MP, APCC; Shri C. Ramachandraiah, PRP; Shri Akbaruddin Owaisi, AIMIM; Shri Syed Ahmed Pasha Quadri, GS AIMIM; Shri B.V.Raghavulu, CPI(M); Shri Julakanti Ranga, CPI(M); Shri K. Narayana, CPI and Shri G. Malesh, CPI attended the meeting.

Following is the text of the Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s opening remarks at the meeting.

“I am happy to welcome you to the second meeting of the eight recognised political parties of Andhra Pradesh. May I begin by wishing you and the people of Andhra Pradesh a very happy New Year and a very happy Sankaranthi.

You will recall that on January 5, 2010 we held our first meeting. That meeting was premised on the belief that parliamentary democracy – and the debate, discussion and consultation that are fostered in a parliamentary democracy – has the capacity to find solutions to all issues and problems. I had offered to institute a mechanism in order to hold wide ranging consultations on the issue of Telangana with all political parties and groups in Andhra Pradesh. After getting the benefit of your views, Government constituted a Committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Srikrishna with very broad terms of reference. The Justice Srikrishna Committee submitted its report to the Government on December 30, 2010.

I am happy to share with each of the eight political parties a copy of the report (in two volumes). I note that some political parties invited to this meeting have chosen not to attend the meeting. I deeply regret the stand taken by them. It does scant justice to the valuable work done by the Justice Srikrishna Committee and the report submitted by the Committee. Nevertheless, I propose to send a copy of the report to the parties that have chosen to stay away. As I speak, the report is being uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs and will be available to the public immediately.

I am also pleased to give you a summary of the report. The summary lists the ‘Optimum Solutions/Options’ suggested by the Justice Srikrishna Committee and their recommendations. I urge you to give your most careful, thoughtful and impartial consideration to the report and the recommendations. In particular, I would urge you to read the report and the recommendations with an open mind and be prepared to persuade, and to be persuaded by, people who hold another point of view. It is Government’s sincere hope that the report will generate an informed and mature debate.

Our discussions on January 5, 2010 showed the way forward: fact-finding, study, analysis, options and recommendations. It is Government’s hope that our discussions today will also show the further way forward. I am sure that, besides the political parties, the people of Andhra Pradesh – both individuals and groups – would also make valuable suggestions that will show the way forward.

You will note that I have repeatedly used the phrase ‘way forward’. I do so in order to reiterate Government’s intention to find a just, honourable and practicable solution that has the widest measure of support among all stakeholders.

Following the meeting on January 5, 2010, you were kind enough to join me in making an appeal to the people of Andhra Pradesh to maintain peace, harmony and law and order. That appeal had a salutary effect. It was heeded by the people of Andhra Pradesh and 2010 was a largely peaceful year. While the political parties consider the report and engage themselves in the search for a solution, it is necessary that peace, harmony and law and order should be maintained in Andhra Pradesh. I would request you to join me, at the end of this meeting, to make an appeal similar to the appeal that we made last year.

It is natural that you will require some time to read the report and hold consultations within your party. Hence, if all of you agree, I suggest that we meet again on a convenient date later this month.

I shall now request each political party present to give its views on how we should proceed further in the matter.”

Panel for Centre stepping in to check riots

Swaraj Thapa in The Indian Express

Touching upon several significant areas in the working of Centre-state relations, the Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi report submitted recently to the government has made over 200 recommendations. These include radical ones like amending Articles 355 and 356 to enable the Centre to bring specific trouble-torn areas under its rule for a limited period, creation of an overriding structure to maintain internal security along the lines of the US Homeland Security department, giving more teeth to the National Integration Council, and amending the communal violence Bill to allow deployment of Central forces without the state’s consent for a short period.

The report of the commission, set up in April 2007, has been accessed exclusively by The Indian Express. Apart from the above recommendations, the panel has advised critical changes in the role of the governor — including a fixed five-year tenure as well as their removal only through impeachment by the state Assembly. It has also recommended that the state chief minister have a say in the appointment of governor.

The panel also feels that governors should have the right to sanction prosecution of a minister against the advice of the council of ministers. However, it wants the convention of making them chancellors of universities done away with.In finalising the 1,456-page report, in seven volumes, the Punchhi Commission took extensive help from the Justice Sarkaria Commission report, the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) and the Administrative Reforms Commission report. However, in a number of areas, the Puncchi Commission report differs from the Sarkaria Commission recommendations.

Among the significant suggestions made by the Commission is laying down of clear guidelines for the appointment of chief ministers. Upholding the view that a pre-poll alliance should be treated as one political party, it lays down the order of precedence that ought to be followed by the governor in case of a hung house: a) Call the group with the largest pre-poll alliance commanding the largest number; b) the single largest party with support of others; c) the post-electoral coalition with all parties joining the government; and last d) the post-electoral alliance with some parties joining the government and remaining including Independents supporting from outside.The commission has proposed “localising emergency provisions” under Articles 355 and 356, contending that localised areas — either a district or parts of a district — be brought under Governor’s rule instead of the whole state. Such an emergency provision should however not be of a duration of more than three months, it says.

For the National Integration Council (NIC), the commission has proposed that it should meet at least once a year. In case of any communal incident, it has said that a delegation of five members of the Council, who would be eminent persons, should visit the affected area within two days and submit a fact-finding report. The commission, however, rejects a suggestion from some stakeholders as well as the Liberhan Commission that the NIC be accorded constitutional status.

It has proposed that state consent should not become a hurdle in deployment of central forces in a communal conflagration. However, such deployment should only be for a week and post-facto consent should be taken from the state.As for qualifications for a governor, the Punchhi commission suggests that the nominee not have participated in active politics at even local level for at least a couple of years before his appointment. It also agrees with the Sarkaria recommendation that a governor be an eminent person and not belong to the state where he is to be posted.

This view was also endorsed last week by a Supreme Court five-member bench headed by outgoing Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan. Like the verdict, the commission also criticises arbitrary dismissal of governors, saying “the practice of treating governors as political football must stop”.

Underlining that removal of a governor be for a reason related to his discharge of functions, it has proposed provisions for impeachment by the state legislature along the same lines as that of President by Parliament. This, significantly, goes against the doctrine of pleasure upheld by the recent Supreme Court judgment. Endorsing an NCRWC recommendation, it says appointment of governor should be entrusted to a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and chief minister of the concerned state. The Vice-President can also be involved in the process, it says.

Unlike the Sarkaria report, the Punchhi report is categorical that a governor be given a fixed five-year tenure. The Punchhi Commission report also recommends that a constitutional amendment be brought about to limit the scope of discretionary powers of the governor under Article 163 (2). Governors should not sit on decisions and must decide matters within a four-month period, it says.The commission however supports their right to give sanction prosecution of ministers against the advice of the state government.Asked to comment on the report, V K Duggal, a former member of the commission and now a part of the committee looking into the Telangana issue, said that the Ministry of Home Affairs would be taking necessary action.