Some districts should be declared duty-free zone : CII chief

There was a need to develop more urban centres in residual Andhra Pradesh with an investment friendly atmosphere and lean bureaucracy, said the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) new chairman Commander V.V.M. Krishna.

Talking to The Hindu Cmdr. Krishna said that CII played an advisory role on matters concerning industry at the Government of India level and also to various State governments. In the light of the bifurcation CII had prepared a concept paper with a vision for the development of Andhra Pradesh. The same was being discussed with leaders of various political parties. The concept paper was even presented to former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha who came here last week.

Reforms in policing and legal system were also necessary for making Andhra Pradesh a model and investment friendly State, he said.

Vision document

The Vijayawada Zone of the CII had already prepared a vision document for the industrial development of four districts—Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and West Godavari – KGPG which has been lauded by Industries Commissioner and Principal Secretary to Industries. This vision would be expanded to the rest of the 13 districts. There was an abundance of natural resources like fish, chilli, cotton and high quality tobacco in these districts, but it was all being exported without any value addition. Food processing units could be planned for the development of these districts, he said.

There was a need to develop high speed Rail and Road connectivity and the 1,000 km. coastline which was a big asset. “Twenty per cent of the country’s coastline is in Andhra Pradesh. There is a need for Maritime Academy,” Comdr. Krishna said.

In a more radical suggest he said that a few districts could be declared as duty free zone and the neighbouring districts be developed as tourism corridors, like in Singapore or Hong Kong.

“This would generate quick revenue from foreign tourism. An international atmosphere could be created in these districts and this would become a bench mark even to the other districts with the development of high living standards even in them,” he said. There was no point in seeking freebees because in the current circumstances there were doubts in the capacity of the government to deliver, he added.

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