Chief Minister (CM) YS Jaganmohan Reddy of Andhra Pradesh (AP) has mooted the idea of three capitals for the state, in a debate during the winter session of the Assembly on Tuesday (17 December 2019). The Concept is not new; there are historic evidences of Kings and Rulers in India maintaining multiple capitals to facilitate better governance. The primary factor for an appropriate location for a Capital was based on the aspects like, ‘physical approach’ and the ‘convenience of governance’ among others. We have also witnessed the blunders in history, when the Ruler Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad (in present-day Maharashtra) and then back to Delhi in 1327 AD.
There is precedence of this ‘multiple capitals’ concept across the world. This individualistic concept has been followed for convenience. South Africa for example, has not one but three capital cities. More precisely, the government branches are divided among three major South African cities: Pretoria (being the Administrative Capital), Cape Town (Legislative Capital), and Bloemfontein (Judicial Capital). In so far as South Africa is concerned, this concept dates back to the creation of the Union of South Africa, where conflicting views on which city should hold the capital led to this compromise. Much like the very idea of the balance of powers, leaders of early South Africa decided that having all government centralised in one place could give that place too much power, so it divided the branches among three provinces.
In the present day era, the philosophy of having a single/multiple location for the capital of a state, should be now ridden by the factor of ‘Digital Connectivity’; within the State.
The Andhra Pradesh Proposal
The Andhra Proposal suggests Amaravati as the Legislative Capital, Visakhapatnam as the Executive Capital and Kurnool as the Judicial Capitals. This proposal by the CM of AP is speculated to be the suggestion of the expert committee constituted under a former IAS officer G.N. Rao, to suggest development strategies for AP. The report is yet to be released, and is said to be in the draft form.
Indian States with Multiple Capital Presently
In present day India, we do have multiple Capital concepts (Let us now look at the applicability among states (other than Union Territories) in India):
- The Administrative and Legislative Capital of Arunachal Pradesh is Itanagar and the Judicial Capital is Guwahati (which is also the Judicial Capital for Mizoram, Nagaland and Assam).
- Judicial Capital of Kerala is Kochi, whereas the Administrative and Legislative Capital is Thiruvananthapuram.
- Judicial Capital of Odisha is Cuttack whereas the Administrative and Legislative Capital is Bhubaneswar.
- Judicial Capital of Uttarakhand is Nainital whereas the Administrative and Legislative Capital is Dehradun.
- Judicial Capital of Rajasthan is Jodhpur whereas the Administrative and Legislative Capital is Jaipur.
- Judicial Capital of Madhya Pradesh is Jabalpur whereas the Administrative and Legislative Capital is Bhopal.
- Judicial Capital of Chhattisgarh is Bilaspur whereas the Administrative and Legislative Capital is Raipur.
- Punjab and Haryana have their capitals in the UT of Chandigarh, which is not in the geographical region of the respective states.
The Digital Perspective of multi-capital for a State in India
Though there are different “School of Thought” propagated by different sections of Indian democracy, with regard to multi-capital for a single state of India; the present day factor for consideration should be based on the Digital Reach and the Digital Connectivity with respect to governance of its citizens.
Digital Empowerment of both the Government and the Citizens is a right step towards better e-Governance. Delivery of all Government Services electronically (E-Governance) is the aim of the government. The Mobile migration to 4G and then to 5G, will again augment the reach of such empowerment even to the last-mile over the un-wired medium. We at CYBER SECURE INDIA have been able to draw a few considerations for the idea of “Multi-Capital Concept for Indian States”:
- The self-enforcement, that will drive the state to switch to Digital means of governance.
- Taking on-board a larger cross of people over wider geographic layout.
- The creation of extensive digital infrastructure.
- The enforced mandate of Delivering services digitally.
- Increase in Digital Literacy among Government Servants.
- Larger Transparency in operations of Government, due to reasons of exhaustive digitisation.
- The deterrence for the adversary of encountering a larger surface area in case of cyber attackers.
- The ability of the Government to switch the ‘Point of Address’ in case one of the Governance Hub is disturbed.
- The ability of maintaining multiple Disaster Recovery (DR) location from a Digital Perspective.
- With multiple capitals, it is possible for governments to better represent citizens by allowing more than one region to have political influence and empowerment.
- Multiple capitals can be a ‘necessary evil’, as the Digital Enabler will drive more transparency and effective Democracy; as also may pose threat for passing legislature when different branches of government are separated geographically, also the increase in travel cost if the employees resort to movement across capitals.
- Will also ensure balanced development if the Cyber Empowerment is enforced for both the Government and Citizens.
- The re-usability of already existing infrastructure at the erstwhile ‘Capital Location’ or its losses due to discarding.