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Braving bifurcation blues, pandemic challenges, AP marches on

YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led AP govt identifies IT, pharma, manufacturing, MSMEs, agro and food processing, electronics and port-led development as thrust areas

Braving bifurcation blues, pandemic challenges, AP marches on

Visakhapatnam:Endowed with a 974-km long coastline, the second after Gujarat, rich minerals and highly talented human resources, Andhra Pradesh is marching ahead to attract investments in various fields moving beyond its current challenges posed by bifurcation and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The State hopes to play a key role in India's dream to achieve a $5 trillion economy by 2025. AP recently changed the maps of the districts to facilitate decentralised development-a focus area of the government led by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy after he formed the government in June 2019 following a massive mandate in the general elections.

IT, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, MSMEs, agro and food processing industries, electronics and port-led development have been identified as thrust areas to showcase the investment potential of AP by AP Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (APIIC), AP Economic Development Board (APEDB) and AP Maritime Development Board (APMDB).

The State has 1,60,200 sq. km of area, three industrial corridors, four industrial hubs and 29 operational Special Economic Zones (SEZs) with an aim to make it a role model. As part of its mission to use technologies for development, the State has pioneered a project to digitise land records by ordering a comprehensive survey by using drones.

Immediately after swearing in, the government announced its focus on decentralised development, learning a lesson from Hyderabad-centric development in undivided AP. Navaratnalu--nine populist schemes like Amma Vodi, Aroygyasri, loan at zero interest rate and financial aid to the poorer sections of people and increase in monthly pension for widows and elderly people--the mega promises made by YSR Congress Party during electioneering, has been declared as the topmost priority area.

AP has unveiled the following industrial policies -- AP Industrial Development Policy 2020-23, AP Electronics Policy 2021-24, YSR Jagananna Mega Industrial Hub Policy 2020-23, YSR Badugu Vikasam Policy 2020-23 and AP IT Policy 2021-24. For achieving balanced economic and industrial development, the State has proclaimed its focus for decentralized development across the three regions of Rayalaseema, Coastal Andhra and North Andhra.

The State with the assistance of the Union Government is implementing three industrial corridors viz. Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC), Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) and Hyderabad-Bangalore Industrial Corridor (HBIC) extending over the length and breadth of the State to accelerate the pace of development.

Among many promises, the government declared that it will develop airports in each district, reduce logistics cost by improving connectivity and constructing containers if required to avoid shortage for faster evacuation of cargo through sea route, interlinking of rivers, completion of Polavaram project by Kharif of 2023 and roll out a red carpet to investors and provide them an easy entry and exit approach.

To improve conditions for Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), APIIC launched on April 1 an online portal for implementation of its citizen charter services, apparently reiterating its commitment to promote the 'Invest in AP' campaign. The charter attempts to redress the grievances if any with regard to registration, land allotment to availing various policy incentives envisaged in the Industrial Policy unveiled by the State Government. The GSDP of AP has gone up by 1.58 per cent in 2020-21 despite the crisis posed by the pandemic. The growth rate is higher than the national GDP of negative 3.8 per cent, the government officials claim.

AP exported goods worth $16.9 billion in FY 2020-21 with a growth of 14 per cent over the previous year and moved to 4th rank in exports in the country in FY 2020-21 from 7th rank in 2019-20. Andhra Pradesh has ranked second, next to Gujarat in exports performance pillar. According to a latest Export Preparedness Indicator Report released by NITI Aayog, the State has scored 50.39 points and occupied ninth slot by improving its record in overall performance indicators from 20th rank.

Officials say since June 2019, 22,935 units were grounded with an investment of Rs 43,319.34 crore generating employment to 2,12,907 people, officials say. As many as 70 large and mega projects (including PSUs) are under active implementation with an investment of Rs 1,61,155.85 crore with a projected employment for 1,80,754 people. This apart, 31 large and mega projects with an investment of Rs 41,434 crore are in the initial stages of implementation with a potential to create jobs for 1,22,041 people.

The financial constraints notwithstanding, the government announced the release of incentives amounting to over Rs 2,086 crore, including Rs 684 crore for the textile industry under the ReSTART Package, that has been overwhelmingly welcomed by thousands of MSMEs and textile units for reviving their operations.

Santosh Patnaik
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