In the globalised world where the development in a country, region or province is gauged by the quantum of private investments that flow in, attracting new investments is no cake walk. More so for Andhra Pradesh which can’t even boast of a proper capital city as it lost well-developed Hyderabad to Telangana in the 2014 bifurcation.
The State, though blessed with the country’s second longest coastline of 974 km, is at the nadir when it comes to industrial development and business activity. Barring Sri City SEZ in Chittoor district, some kind of industrial activity in Visakhapatnam thanks to the presence of a steel plant and a port, and automobile-related businesses in Vijayawada, there is nothing else that can be described as an industry in AP which, as consequence, predominantly relies on agriculture and allied segments for sustenance.
However, Naidu, as the first CM of the residual AP, seems to be keen on bringing in paradigm shift in the State towards industrialisation. Successive CII’s Partnership Summits in Visakhapatnam, the construction of new capital city of Amaravati near Vijayawada and his frequent foreign tours are part of such efforts. Naidu’s latest tri-nation tour of the US, UAE and the UK is also aimed at attracting new investments.
He kicked off this nine-day tour on October 18 from Chicago in the US where he met investors and laid out a road map for attracting not less than 500 companies into Andhra within a year. Reports also indicated that 60 representatives of NRI companies showed interest in setting up IT companies in Vijayawada.
During his visit to the Iowa State where he met agricultural scientists and entrepreneurs, Naidu also showcased Mega Seed Park coming up in Kurnool district. Global seed giant Pioneer, a part of DuPont, is said to have promised the AP CM that it will actively consider taking part in the seed park. In the UAE where Naidu spent two days, he showcased investment opportunities in AP to local and NRI investors. He is expected to do the same in UK where he is also scheduled to finalise designs for Amaravati with architect firm Fosters + Partners.
But will such efforts bring in investment moolah? To some extent yes, but AP has a long way to go before it can claim itself as a best investment destination. Lack of industrial infrastructure and ecosystem is a bane for the State and there is an immediate need to correct it. Further, the government claimed in the past that it would develop Vizag as IT and commercial hub.
But in a clear departure from that laudable strategy, it is allowing IT and other companies in Amaravati area too. That may not bode well. However, AP has the wherewithal to make a mark on the country’s industrial map, but it depends on how the government handles it.