Andhra Pradesh offers plethora of opportunities to investors like availability of encumbrance free industrial land at affordable rates, reasonably priced water & power, highly skilled manpower etc. The State Government is committed to provide the best-in-class infrastructure and end-to-end handholding support for building a conducive industrial ecosystem, says Sri Mekapati Goutham Reddy, Minister Industries, Commerce, Information Technology, Skill Development and Training, Infrastructure and Investments, Government of Andhra Pradesh in conversation with Krishna C. Mishra of Elets News Network (ENN).
Andhra Pradesh has been ranked no. 1 in the ease of doing business ranking 2020. How have you been able to accomplish it?
Andhra Pradesh stood 1st in the overall ranking of the State Business process reforms undertaken during 2019. I would like to categorically state that the rankings for the first time in the 4 years are based 100 % on the user feedback (more than 35,000 users) and the state topping it reflects the on ground reality in the ease of doing business.
Industrialists in Andhra Pradesh have whole heartedly embraced the reforms agenda and the transparent governance model of the government and gave favourable feedback to DPIIT World Bank survey under BRAP 2019 which made AP the top state for doing business in the country.
In the guidance of our Hon’ble Chief Minister, we are moving ahead with reform agenda not only to improve Ease of Doing Business but also to reduce cost of Doing Business and de-risk investments through prior environmental assessment and industrial zoning.
What are the key competitive advantages of Andhra Pradesh vis-à-vis other states and how do you plan to tap them?
The State is situated at a geographically advantageous location with long coast line and positioned at a logistically efficient location to access domestic markets in South and East of India.
The key differentiators for the state are the availability of encumbrance free industrial land at affordable rates, utilities (water/power) at reasonable prices, availability of skilled manpower and a transparent and stable government led by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Sri YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The government of Andhra Pradesh is focused on investing in the future. We are investing in development of infrastructure, improving access to health and promoting education and skill development.
Andhra Pradesh has the distinction of being the only state in India that is home to three major industrial corridors, namely viz Visakhapatnam Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC), Chennai Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC), and Hyderabad Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (HBIC).
The state government is establishing a Skill University and 30 world class skill colleges. These colleges will be established with sectoral emphasis drawn from the industries and the industrial clusters in the proximity and create a synergistic ecosystem for the supply and demand and serve as a trigger to the local economy.
We believe in sustainable industrial transformation by protecting our environment, where communities share the long term benefits of this industrialization by way of local employment, improved connectivity, and increased living standards.
What are your Government’s plans to propel the economy & put the state on a high growth trajectory?
We have recently launched Industrial Development Policy 2020-23 which is focused on driving sustainable industrialization and balanced growth across regions. Through the policy, we aim to drive industrialization based on the natural competitive advantages of the state such as long coastline, availability of power and water, infrastructure & connectivity, and a large pool of talented resources.
At the same time, the focus is also on promoting high value add and cutting edge industries to be future proof. 10 sectors will be in focus including niche sectors like Toys and Furniture, Footwear and leather, machinery and precision equipment, aerospace and defence including the already in focus sectors like Pharma, Textiles, Automobile, Electronics, and Petrochemicals.
The government has also undertaken a mammoth exercise to map all the industries in the state – SamagraParishrama Survey -2020. The exercise intends to identify the industry requirements.
We are going much ahead in our reform agenda with exercise like SPS-20 which intends to create evidence based policies. We are also focusing on district level reforms in EoDB- 24, new online services have been introduced for industrial permissions from municipalities, district collectors and other district authorities such as education, health, mines, legalmetrology etc., so that approvals can be granted online with defined and strictly enforced timelines.
How has the pandemic hit the economy and what has been the policy response?
The state has pulled all stops to control the spread of the virus. At the same time we have ensured livelihoods are protected by way special economic package (ReSTART) to small businesses (MSMEs).
On the economic front, due to the COVID induced lockdown, the economy has come to a standstill and has severely affected the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands dependent on MSME sector.
MSMEs are lifeblood of our economy as they contribute in a significant way to the growth with a share of around 45% in total manufacturing output and 40% of exports. We had a direct communication with industry associations to understand and assess the situation. On the basis of the requests from various quarters of the industry sectors, Government of Andhra Pradesh has formulated a Policy to support MSMEs financially and accelerated the economic restart.
The ReSTART package (INR 11.1bn) includes the payment of all sanctioned but outstanding incentives to MSME units, waiver of 3 months fixed demand charges for MSMEs, deferment of power minimum demand charges for 3 months for large and mega units, working capital loans for MSEs along with preferential market access for MSEs.
The aim of the package is to aid industries to successfully overcome the stress and strain created by the lockdown and restart the operations thereby protecting the livelihoods.
Would you like to convey any message to investors?
We invite businesses to come and explore Andhra Pradesh. We are committed to provide the best-in-class infrastructure, zero hassle setup, skilled labour availability and end to end handholding support for units to provide an industry-friendly environment at par with international standards.
I welcome you all to an all new industry experience in the state of Andhra Pradesh where abundance meets prosperity.