New state holds more opportunities for all -CH Hanumantha Rao ఆగస్ట్ 4, 2013Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhra, Andhrapreneurship, Rayalaseema, Telangana.
Tags: 29th state, Seemandhra
Creation of a new state holds many opportunities for Telangana and Seemandhra
C H Hanumantha Rao, August 2, 2013, The Economic Times
The decision of the UPA and the Congress Working Committee to accede to the long-standing demand for a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh ends uncertainty holding up development and opens up opportunities for harmonious and inclusive development of both states.
But it is necessary to avoid short-term and sectarian considerations while drawing up their boundaries to exploit the long-term opportunities for development provided by the need for building the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.
The idea of including two districts of Rayalaseema, Kurnool and Anantapur in Telangana is apparently kept open, however slender may be the chances for such a proposal. Like Telangana, Rayalaseema acquired a distinct regional identity of its own because of agro-climatic, historical and political factors. Therefore, any attempt to divide it is bound to meet stiff resistance from the people of Rayalaseema.
Don’t Split Rayalaseema
Notwithstanding its enterprising elite, Rayalaseema is the most backward region in the present state. Its development requires a concerted plan for the whole of this homogeneous region as well as the necessary institutional arrangements and political clout that are possible only when the four districts of the region are together in one state.
One hopes that short-term political advantages arising from the demographics of religion and caste (See The Contested Ideas of Rayala Telangana, ET, July 30) will not be allowed to favour a decision that could hamper the development of this backward region and, indeed, of both the new states. An issue of concern following the creation of Telangana state is the possible impact on Seemandhra’s economy after its separation from Hyderabad.
Another is the prospects for education and employment for Seemandhra youth in Hyderabad and security of investments, properties, jobs and livelihoods of those from Seemandhra settled in Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana.
Little Economic Impact
In the current phase of globalisation, the character of Hyderabad underwent a major change with its phenomenal growth and increased links with the national and global economy that, as brought out by the Srikrishna Committee on Andhra Pradesh, now predominate over its links with the state economy. A striking feature brought out by the committee is the concentration of IT and ITeS almost solely in Hyderabad accounting for 99% of these exports from the state.
But, of the 94 groups identified separately for investments in Hyderabad and adjoining Ranga Reddy districts, as many as 74 are from outside Andhra Pradesh. Even in construction and real estate, finance and business services, private Andhra-based investors are not dominant. The committee’s narrative of key cities in Andhra suggests that the economic interdependence between them may be limited. Hyderabad and each urban centre in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema have their own economic hinterland and growth drivers.
While Hyderabad is much larger than other cities in the state, the latter are not solely dependent on Hyderabad for market linkages and other services. Thus, the adverse impact, if any, on the economy of Seemandhra on account of separation of Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital is not going to be significant.
The Promise of Growth
The second issue is the protection of the interests of Seemandhra migrants, especially youth, for education and employment in Hyderabad. The proposed measures to protect such interests could be similar to the decision to retain Hyderabad as the joint capital for 10 years. In any case, the issue would call for a dialogue between leaders across regions with a spirit of accommodation.
Construction of a new world-class capital for Seemandhra holds the greatest promise, among other things, for easing pressure on education and employment of the youth. India is on the threshold of rapid urbanisation. Construction of a new capital for Andhra could be a major source for reviving growth and increasing employment. It also provides an opportunity for constructing an eco-friendly, energy-efficient and slum-free city with public transport and safeguards for easy mobility for pedestrians.
Would the people of Telangana be hostile to the businesses in Hyderabad owned by people from coastal Andhra? Several business persons in Hyderabad hailing from Andhra interviewed immediately after the decision to bifurcate the state reportedly expressed relief over the ending of “uncertainty”. Hardly any apprehensions were ventilated. The current regional conflicts relate to the distribution of benefits from public investment and employment.
Private enterprise was unaffected by separatist agitations. Conflicts of interest arise when state power is used by the politico-business elite from the Andhra region to deny alevel playing field to commerce and industry in Telangana.
The writer is Chancellor, University of Hyderabad, and Honorary Professor, Centre for Economic & Social Studies