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Divide & Prosper

It has been a year of high drama for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The bifurcation has been as complicated as the separation of conjoined twins.

It has been a year of high drama for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The bifurcation has been as complicated as the separation of conjoined twins. There has been a lot of noise about various issues: sharing of resources, allocation of central funds and the creation of a new capital.

The bone of contention between both parties was Hyderabad, which will be the joint capital for the next ten years. Everything - the departments of the governments the key national institutes in the state and even the headquarters of many Andhra enterprises are in Hyderabad. The taxes they pay, the people they hire, the assets they buy - everything has been Hyderabad specific. The decision makers are to blame, as they’ve put “all their eggs in one basket,” even as other parts of Telangana have no investments, no institutions and no industries of repute.

“The concerns are valid, the fears aren’t’ is what both the chief ministers have stressed.  AP needs a lot of financial aid, with its cash cow and a city that contributed the most in terms of revenue - Hyderabad becoming the heart of Telangana. Both Naidu and Rao have ambitious plans, unveiling budgets in excess of lakh crore each in the recently concluded budget sessions. It should be noted that the previous year budget of the combined AP state was lakh crore. This is a gamble, and an ambitious one at that, with resources and revenues going down by 50 per cent while the budgetary expenditure almost doubling for both the states. It is to be noted that the Central government which drafted the AP Reorganisation Bill promising economic benefits and support during the previous UPA regime is no more. The new government at the Centre, though vociferous in its support to the states, hasn’t really done much in this regard.


Hopeful and awaiting change...

Telangana has its set of issues, though it is a benefactor in a way due to its relative economic stability vis-a-vis AP. The region barring Hyderabad, has been neglected from the time of the Nizams. With a dry topography and very few industries, there isn’t much of commerce and industry in the districts. The people who’ve voted the Telangana Rashtra Samithi to power wish to reap the benefits of bifurcation. They are hopeful and awaiting change: employment, better basic amenities, good infrastructure and a sustainable lifestyle.

 The people of Andhra Pradesh too, are hopeful and expecting better development. For years, the leadership has been sitting and concentrating on Hyderabad while viable centres of commerce - Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati -have been more or less left to fend for themselves. They now expect the government to concentrate on these cities now closer to the new capital.

 The troubles of Hyderabadis is a different story all together, with two chief ministers and two secretariats, a whole lot of ministers and VVIPs, the roads are often cordoned and government offices are jumbled. The logistics are confusing and expensive. With two states sharing offices, imagine the situation where the Heads of Departments of one state sit in another state.

Both the chief ministers have been on overdrive, with their ambitious plans for development and some noteworthy growth-decisions like the New Industrial Policy of Telangana which promises world-class services and a single window online clearance for new enterprises. The AP government too, is taking drastic steps to entice investors with its Start AP conclave for budding entrepreneurs held in Vijayawada recently. The establishment is enthusiastic and there is a positive competition between the governments, their officers and also the political parties to showcase the best of their respective states to bring investments. This is a welcome change that can bridge the deficit and aid in the development of both the regions. It has almost been a year since the bifurcation and with things settling down and the establishment finding its feet, this division might just be the pill for overall inclusive development of the region.

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