ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Telangana Issue on the Backburner

The Srikrishna Committee takes us no closer to a settlement and the Congress Party plays the waiting game.

A month after the report of the Committee for Consultations on the Situation in Andhra Pradesh – the Srikrishna Committee – was made public, the Telangana issue is no closer to a resolution. This says as much about the quality of the committee’s recommendations as about the paralysis in the Congress Party, and in the centre and the government of Andhra Pradesh on the demand for a separate state.

The Srikrishna Committee in the end, of course, laid out as many as six options for different configurations of the three constituent regions of Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana, and Hyderabad city, with an explicit preference for the continuation of a united Andhra Pradesh. The committee is to be commended for the richness of its analysis in most chapters (such as on sociological and cultural issues) and its detailed attempt to understand the roots of the demand for a separate Telangana. The broad story it presents is neither new nor exceptional but it was necessary to lay it all out: The demand for a separate Telangana goes back more than half a century and has seen a periodic outbreak of mass protests. Many political and governmental commitments to safeguard the interests of Telangana in political and economic (especially water) matters have been made but they have been observed more in the breach. Starting from the early 1970s, economic growth in the Telengana districts (even after excluding Hyderabad) has been rapid, so much so that the gap in per capita GDP between Telangana and Coastal Andhra is now small, while it is Rayalaseema that is the most backward region. There is a strong feeling of social and cultural distinctiveness in Telangana, which alongside a deep feeling of grievance has driven the widespread (though not universal) demand for a separate state.

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