Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy Saturday promoted Andhra Pradesh as a desired destination for investment and trade on a global platform and said that the core strength of the state lies in its honesty, sincerity, and commitment, besides providing corruption-free and transparent governance.
The CM was addressing the Diplomatic Outreach Programme in Vijayawada where delegates of over 30 nations were present. The programme was jointly organized with the Economic Division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
While addressing the gathering, Jagan explained about the trade opportunities in various sectors, while defending the government’s decision to review Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) made by the previous government, and the law to provide 75 per cent reservations to locals in industries.
“We would love to collaborate in infrastructure development, setting up oil refineries, steel plants, and water management, interlinking of rivers as ours is a riparian state, clean drinking water plants and reforms in transport system by phasing out diesel-run buses and moving on to energy-powered buses. We also plan to give a boost to maritime economy where the opportunities are wide open for investment,” he said.
The programme was attended by ambassadors and diplomats of countries like South Korea, Singapore, Austria, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Botswana, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, UK, Denmark, Indonesia, Australia, among others.
The CM said that increasing productivity in agrarian economy is one area where there is scope for investment as the average yield per acre of coffee in the state is about 260 kg while in Vietnam it runs up to 8,000 kgs. “This is possible with the good agriculture practices which we are looking forward to, for transfer or sharing of expertise. We need your cooperation in setting up globally competitive standards in agriculture and aqua products,” he added.
“We have four ports and another four will be coming up in the coming five years which will be providing investment opportunities besides setting up of Metro Rail in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, and Guntur. We have six airports in the 13 districts,’’ Jagan said.
While defending the cancellation of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) made by the previous TDP government, Jagan said, “this is a tough decision we had to take. The renegotiation of PPAs will go on to instill confidence among the investors. Though in the short run, there could be some concern from the international community.”
“The other side of the narrative of cancellation of PPAs other than what was reported is that the cost factor has been going upward. We have reviewed the energy situation after taking over and we found out that Discoms are not in a position to pay the bills. Over Rs 20, 000 crores were pending from the past 20 months. If the deal continues and power is being purchased at a higher rate, it will reflect on the cost and the new investor has to pay more,’’ he added.
Also speaking about the law passed recently that reserves 75 per cent jobs for locals, he said, “Even in the US, the slogan is ‘Jobs for Locals’ and it is a worldwide phenomenon. What we are asking for is nothing new or unusual. Locals give land to industry and the least they expect is employment and they are justified.”
He added that his government will set up skill development centres in all districts so that local youths can be trained.