Task cut out for new govt on special status to H-K

High-powered committee formed to prepare draft action plan, guidelines

Whichever government comes to power in the State in the next few days, it will have to have on its agenda the task of implementation of the long-awaited Constitutional Amendment Act 371 (J), ensuring special status for the backward Hyderabad-Karnataka (H-K) region. The BJP government headed by Jagadish Shettar, has started the process in this regard.

The government has constituted a high-powered official committee headed by the Additional Chief Secretary for preparing the Draft Action Plan and Guidelines for submitting to the Cabinet sub-committee. After vetting by the sub-committee, it will be placed before the State cabinet for approval and a legislation will have to be passed.

The Central government had notified in its gazette, Article 371(J) on January 1 this year. In the last four months, not much progress has been made in finalising the draft policy and quota for the local candidates of the six districts of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region in education and employment.

The announcement of Assembly elections had put a temporary halt on further progress. The State government, meanwhile, issued an order on April 25 for the constitution of the high-powered committee.

Committee details

The five-member committee headed by the Additional Chief Secretary consists of the principal secretaries of the Planning, Programme Coordination and Statistics Department; Finance Department; Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms and the secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Affairs.

If found necessary, the committee members have been authorised to visit Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat to study the models evolved there under amendments to Article 371. The committee will look into the merits and demerits of the schemes evolved and plans formulated, including the quantum of reservation for locals in education and employment.

Article 371(J) provides special responsibility to the Governor in the matter of establishment of a separate development board for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region with the provision that a report of the working of the board will be placed each year before the State Assembly.

It promises equitable allocation of funds for the developmental expenditure, equitable opportunities and facilities for the people belonging to H-K region in matters of public employment, education and vocational training.

The special status also provides for reservation of a proportion of seats in educational and vocational training institutions in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region for students who belong to the region by birth or by domicile.

Identifying posts/classes

It enables the government to identify the posts or classes of posts under the State government and in any body or organisation under the control of the State in the said region and reservation of the proportion of such posts for persons who belong to the region and for appointment thereto by direct recruitment or by promotion or in any other manner as may be specified by the order.

With the exit polls predicting a simple majority for the Congress, the party is brimming with confidence of returning to power.

In the run-up to the election, the party had taken full credit for amending the Constitution. Naturally, it will have to push through implementation of the special status in the event of coming to power, people of the region feel.

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