Jagan said that he wasn’t against big business, but only against graft.
Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who came to power two months ago, has sought the help of envoys of several countries in wooing investments for the state. He shared his vision for growth and business with them, stating that agriculture, healthcare, education and infrastructure would be his priority areas in the coming years.
Addressing a “Diplomatic Outreach” conclave held at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh on Friday—where higher officials from as many as 38 countries from all parts of the world turned up—Jagan made it clear that his government would ensure higher stability and sustainability to the investments made by them and give importance to transparency in investment promotion.
Backed by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), this conclave by the Jagan government was mainly aimed at dispelling the impression made in the last two months that “the CM was against investments and against business” spread by certain sections, thanks to his decisions to cancel the PPAs (power purchase agreements), and some contracts in Polavaram project, Amaravati city and Machilipatnam port etc.
Unlike the investors’ meets held in the name of Partnership Summits by the previous Chandrababu Naidu government, Jagan chose to involve the envoys and business attachés of foreign embassies in Delhi in his bid to woo investments into Andhra. This, according to sources close to him, would enhance the credibility of the projects that come to the state.
Jagan and his party leaders have maintained that investment efforts made by former CM Chandrababu Naidu had failed mainly because of the dubious nature of firms signing MoUs with the government. The involvement of foreign diplomatic missions, on the other hand, would encourage only genuine investors.
Jagan told the diplomats, including those from the UK, Europe, South Korea, the Gulf and Australia, among others, that he was not against big businesses or investments, but rather corruption and lack of transparency. He indirectly hinted that these were hallmarks of the previous Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP government.
Jagan explained to the diplomats that his government was a better bet as compared to the previous TDP regime as his YSR Congress won with a bigger mandate. “We won around 85% of seats in Lok Sabha and Assembly with 22 out of 25 MPs and 151 out of 175 MLAs and we can provide a stable government with long-term policies,” he said.
In contrast to the previous TDP regime’s confrontation with the BJP-led Centre and TRS-led government in neighboring Telangana, Jagan said that he had enjoyed friendly relations with both of them. “This will go a long way in promoting the interests of the investors in the long-term,” the Andhra CM said. The very involvement of the MEA was a sign of the Centre’s cooperation with him.
Jagan has almost repeated the points put forward by former CM Naidu on why Andhra can be a best destination for entrepreneurs in view of its 960 km long coastline, four ports and six airports, immense natural resources, etc.
But what he offered the investors extra was that he and his ministers would take care to see that their projects were grounded on a speedy basis.
Jagan has admitted that his recent policy to earmark 75% jobs in private industries to the locals had created some confusion among the businessmen, but clarified that it would in no way hamper the growth of the sector. “How can we ignore the interests of local youth, if they are jobless, while allowing industries, some of them polluting?” the CM asked.
Jagan reminded the diplomats that the same policies were adopted by all countries, including US President Donald Trump who gives preference to jobs to Americans. “But tell us your requirements of manpower, we will skill them in those areas by adopting the local engineering colleges, so that your cost of importing trained people too would come down,” Jagan said.
Jagan defended his moves to scrap some PPAs, contracts signed by the previous TDP government as they lacked in transparency and imposed a burden on the exchequer. “Isn’t it our duty to lessen the burden on the public and enter into efficient deals?” he asked. Jagan gave a presentation on upcoming Metro rail projects in Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Guntur and the policy to promote electric vehicles, among others.