The current edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) held at Davos from January 23 to January 26 witnessed the rise of two sons of two Chief Ministers—K.T. Rama Rao, son of Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao and Nara Lokesh, son of Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu. Both KTR and Lokesh are ministers with Information Technology department and are vying with each other to woo investors.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered this year’s plenary session of WEF at Davos, the organisers had invited all major states in the country to join the four day-long event. The Union commerce ministry encouraged the states to participate in the annual summit so that they can get exposure to the global investors and policy makers.
Besides Maharashtra, a few other states set up their lounges at Davos, but those of Telangana and AP were very active in drawing visitors, sources from industries departments of these states said. “This activism is due to the presence of two young ministers—KTR and Lokesh,” said an official of the industrial promotion wing of Telangana, who spoke on phone from Davos to this newspaper.
AP CM Chandrababu Naidu is a regular visitor at Davos annual event. This time the industries department, which is held by KTR, wanted to join the WEF gathering by sponsoring a longue there. This prompted the AP CMO to send Lokesh as part of his efforts to draw investments into the IT sector in AP.
Lokesh has set a goal of creating around one lakh jobs in the IT sector in AP in the next two years and his staff thought that Davos is the best opportunity to showcase the potential of the state before the global investors. As a result, both father and son, CM Naidu and IT minister Lokesh, landed at Davos, albeit with different schedules. Lokesh celebrated his 35th birthday on Tuesday at Davos.
42-year-old KTR appears ahead of Lokesh, as Telangana’s longue has been drawing good crowds at the WEF. KTR signed MoUs with several leading MNCs like Novartis and Mitsubishi which came forward to set up their units in Hyderabad. “Already, we have signed 12 MoUs and another dozen are in the pipeline,” said the official from Telangana.
Novartis has a research and development centre in Hyderabad with a 90,000 sq feet laboratory and it would be expanded by an equal capacity and 150 more scientists. Hyderabad has a Genome valley where dozens of drugs and pharmaceuticals companies have their units. Mitsubishi has plans to set up a heavy vehicles unit in Hyderabad.
KTR invited firms like Air Asia, Hitachi, HP and Clean Energy from Finland and assured them of all support from the state government for setting up of their units in and around Hyderabad. KTR also utilised his meeting with Reliance chairman Mukhesh Ambai at Davos to invite him to expand his business in Telangana.
Compared to KTR, Lokesh is lagging a bit, but he is able to draw investments from HP’s 3D printing unit, Black Chain Technologies and a new educational technology firms from China and Singapore.