Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, who has taken up the daunting task of building a new state with a new capital city, Amaravati, practically from scratch, is ready to lay out the red carpet for investors.
True to his style, he has set a growth target of 14% to 15% for his state, and promised to further improve ease of doing business and give all clearances within three weeks. “In case of any problem, we will sit across the table and clear them,” he said at an investors’ meet organised by the commerce ministry and the Confederation of Indian Industry in this port city.
Naidu is considered one of the early reformers in the country, and took Hyderabad to new heights even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as chief minister of Gujarat, showcased his state as the most attractive investment destination. Naidu now wants to make Visakhapatnam the new destination for the Make in India programme.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman, minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha, and minister of state for power, coal and new and renewable energy Piyush Goyal were also present in the inaugural session of the meet.
Naidu sought the support from the Centre to achieve his mission. He said the greenfield riverfront capital city of Amaravati would be world class and urged the industry captains present to open at least one office in the city.
“We will give you infrastructure, 24X7 power, good labour and good governance, only we need investment and you have to join us in developing the new state,” Naidu said.
Even the man on the street seems to be impressed. “He had completely changed Hyderabad, he means work and he will do the same here,” said Syed Beig, a taxi driver.
However, he will have his work cut out in winning over farmers as high debt levels have led to an increase in farmer suicide. “This is one area he cannot ignore and should not ignore, this area is crucial for overall development and growth,” one of the delegates at the event said.
However, industry captains and policy makers are confident Naidu would be able to change the state. “In today’s context of Andhra Pradesh, the crisis has been turned into an opportunity,” felt Anil Ambani.