Out of a number of promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act the one on which there is a substantial progress relates to setting up of educational institutions of national importance. This is covered under Section 93 of the Act which says the central government shall take all necessary measures as enumerated in the 13 Schedule for the progress and sustainable development of the successor States within a period of 10 years from the appointed day.
Schedule 13 of the Act is again divided into two portions, one relating to education and other relating to infrastructure. Under education heading it is made clear that Government Of India shall take steps to establish institutions of national importance in the successor State of Andhra Pradesh. These include an IIT, IIM, NIT, IISER, Central University, Petroleum University, IIIT, Agricultural University, AIIMS, Tribal University and NIDM. The Act envisages a period of 10 years for these institution to be set up in the State.
It goes to the credit of both the Centre as well as the State government that most of these institutions got established and became operational by 2015-16 though in temporary accommodation. The Act in fact provides full 10 year period for establishing these institutions. When the State government was keen on starting these institutions from the academic year 2015-16 even if they were to start in a temporary accommodation the Secretary in government of India concerned was very particular that these institutions should only be established after proper infrastructure was made available probably after four to five years.
But the State government was very keen and was able to politically work out establishment of these institutions even in temporary accommodation. If the central government was not forthcoming and cooperative these institutions would have taken their own time in getting established as is the case when they are established in other states. Having insisted on starting these institutions even in temporary accommodation immediately it is now unfair of the State government to accuse the central government of running them in temporary accommodation.
The second accusation with reference to these institutions of national importance is that they require about `10,000 crores for their proper establishment and at the rate of the present budgetary allocation it may take about 15 years for their completion. This accusation is baseless and mischievous.
The budgetary allocations keep on going up from year to year depending upon the progress of the works and in any case no institution can absorb huge amounts in the very first year of its existence and with enhanced allocations most of these institutions would be completed within a specified period of time.
This is not the first time such institutions are established in the country and they are established in a number of other states and same procedure will be followed here as well. In any case there will be directors for these institutions whose responsibility is to pursue with the Centre for their early completion. Ignoring all these facts taking upon themselves the responsibility which is not their the State government is unnecessarily making it an issue and trying to show government of India in bad light.
Regarding the institutions mentioned under infrastructure except Dugarajapatnam port development all others as mentioned in the Act only talk of examining the feasibility of establishing those institutions and the time given for establishing them if found feasible is 10 years. Out of them the airports and the Vizag Chennai corridor as per my understanding are progressing well.
As far as Durgarajapatnam port is concerned central government seems to have requested the State government to suggest an alternative site in view of the environmental issues involved. The other organisations are in different stages of examination by the central government. All of them require huge investments and the Act provides a 10-year period for the Centre to take a decision.
Aware of the huge investments involved in setting up those institutions and their commercial nature the then Congress government seems to have left it vague in the Act to examine the feasibility of setting up of these institution instead of specifically stating that they should be established.
When such are the provisions of the Act and when the Centre has done so much in establishing these institutions under Schedule 13, the State government has somehow successfully misrepresented the facts and made it look to the public as if nothing has happened under this head.
Iyr Krishna Rao
Former chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh