GoM on Telangana to meet again, Article 371-D to dominate discussions

TelanganaThe Group of Ministers, in its meeting on Tuesday discussed issues related to providing special status to both the states under Article 371-D of the Constitution and believed to have examined a proposal to include two districts of Rayalseema in Telangana. (Reuters)

The GoM, set up to look into the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, on Tuesday could not finalise its report and the draft bill on Telangana and decided to meet again on Wednesday before submitting them to the Union Cabinet.

The Group of Ministers, in its meeting on Tuesday discussed issues related to providing special status to both the states under Article 371-D of the Constitution and believed to have examined a proposal to include two districts of Rayalseema in Telangana.

However, the process of finalising the report and the draft bill remained inconclusive.

"We will meet again tomorrow," Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said after the meeting, which was attended by Union Ministers A K Antony and P Chidambaram, among others. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde heads the GoM.

The Ministerial panel's meeting was also attended by top officials, including National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami.

Shortly after the meeting of the GoM, a delegation of Union Ministers from Andhra Pradesh, including HRD Minister M Pallam Raju, who are opposed to the bifurcation of the state, made a presentation before Shinde opposing division of the state, as a last ditch effort to stall the process.

The GoM is expected to recommend that the draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill should be named as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Bill, thus avoiding an amendment in the Constitution but allowing both the states to enjoy special status, official sources said.

Article 371-D, which was inserted through 32nd Amendment in 1973, empowers the President to issue orders from time to time providing for equitable opportunities for people belonging to different parts of the state.

This provision, which has overriding effect on other Articles of the Constitution, was brought in following agreement on a six-point formula between leaders of the state on September 21, 1973.

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