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AP banks on another Naidu vision

Despite uncertainty over the location of the capital, funds to build basic infrastructure, power and water wars with the neighbouring State, A.P. is highly focused on achieving its desired ends, according to top officials. Illustration: Deepak Harichandran  

With Hyderabad going with Telangana, a major challenge for Andhra Pradesh is to build itself a similar city from scratch. The bifurcation has been a disappointment for N. Chandrababu Naidu, who, during his earlier stint as Chief Minister of the united Andhra Pradesh, turned Hyderabad into a global IT investment destination.

As Andhra looks for a location to build its new capital, disappointment over the way the State was bifurcated was reflected in Governor >E.S.L. Narasimhan’s maiden speech in the first Assembly session. He said, “The provisions made in the A.P. Reorganisation Act, 2014 for the development of Andhra Pradesh were wholly inadequate, could not compensate for the loss of opportunity and left the State severely disadvantaged.”

While making his disappointment clear, Mr. Naidu said he was determined to repeat his Hyderabad experiment for the new Andhra to make it yet another preferred IT destination. Acknowledging the fact that ‘light was denied’ for the State, he said, “I have enough experience in developing Hyderabad as a preferred IT destination during 1995-2004. The same will be certainly used in developing new IT Hubs in the State. A suitable policy environment is being created for attracting investments into the IT sector from various IT companies — national and international — for their expansion plans in these new destinations,” Mr. Naidu told The Hindu.

4G future

Sharing his thoughts on the road map, the Chief Minister said, “4G revolution will spread throughout India. A.P. will take advantage of the 4G technologies in planning its infrastructure for the new State. This provides an opportunity to leapfrog and jump on to the cutting edge technologies.”

Besides, the State is banking on the immense potential in A.P. for developing high-quality educational institutions and skilled manpower, aided by great entrepreneurship in the region. This apart, the huge requirements of the new State are going to throw up new opportunities to spur demand and development, he said.

Vizag, Vijayawada, Tirupati and Anantapur with immense skilled manpower, will be developed as IT hubs, according to him. To take the idea forward, the State government has prepared a blueprint to leverage the immense potential that the electronics and semiconductor sectors offer.

IT adviser to the government, J. Satyanarayana said, “The Government of A.P. will take full advantage of the policies and schemes notified by the Government of India in this regard. It has plans to develop ITIRs at Vizag and Tirupati, and 10 electronics manufacturing clusters in suitable locations. Fabless semiconductor industry will be promoted through a special policy on innovation.”

Despite uncertainty over the location of the capital, funds to build basic infrastructure, power and water wars with the neighbouring State, A.P. is highly focused on achieving its desired ends, according to top officials. As part of its vision 2020, the State is targeting to attract $7 billion investments into the IT and electronic manufacturing sectors in different clusters, according to IT Minister P. Raghunath Reddy.

The State will soon announce 17 policies to boost the IT, electronics and support sectors. The idea is to ensure a favourable ecosystem, according to him. The plan also includes creation of a Rs. 100-crore innovation fund in the coming two months. A school of excellence is also planned to groom budding engineers to make them industry-ready.

Losing no time, the government has organised an ICT industry meet in Hyderabad to announce its vision and attract investments. Over 200 representatives from IT and associated industries took part and companies have come forward with investment proposals, according to industry sources. Top names in the industry such as Google, Infosys, TCS, Honeywell, TechMahindra, Wipro, Cyient and Accenture among others took part in the session.

Industry support

Meanwhile, A.P.-based industry giants have stepped forward up to supplement Mr. Naidu’s plans. The group of over 45 industrialists, under the banner of the Industrial Development Forum (IDF), promised to invest over Rs. 5,600 crore in different sectors in the State. A majority of the investment is expected to be floated in the IT, ITES, electronics, solid waste management, pharma, healthcare, mining, infrastructure, hospitality and education sectors.

Terming the investment climate positive, IDF convener J.A. Chowdary said, “Over 100 firms have shown interest in investing in the new State in the coming years. Many are even looking at relocating to the State based on the tax sops expected besides facilities like water, power and infrastructure.”

Incidentally, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has evinced interest in the Andhra region for the establishment of electronic chip manufacturing industry. A group of NASSCOM officials led by Vice-president Rajiv Vaishnav has evaluated the Visakhapatnam-Rajahmundry, Vijayawada-Guntur -Chennai stretch for setting up the industry as part of the National Technology Corridor.

Given the potential, the chip making industry is expected to attract huge foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country, according to industry experts. Given the massive import of electronic items and chips, the focus of the Central government has now shifted to manufacture of such products. NASSCOM found the location to be ideal for the industry, according to Mr. Vaishnav. Besides good road, rail, port and airport connectivity, it has abundant availability of fresh talent, much-needed power and water, according to him.

Last, but not least, the industry is also of the opinion that the decision on location of the capital city and increased government activity in the region would spur quick growth. “We are waiting for the announcement of the location soon. If the Chief Minister operates either from Vijayawada or Guntur, instead of Hyderabad, it will give the much-needed boost to the development in all sectors here,” said a CMD of a corporate house.

The disillusionment of losing out a well-bred Hyderabad, the daunting task of recreating the magic all over again, unfavourable weather conditions, the great expectations of people and emerging national and international ramifications — Mr. Naidu has his task cut out but he has a proven past to bank on.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 10:28:13 PM |

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