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Fanciful Rao and tech-savvy Naidu

Octobers south-west monsoon that flooded most of Telangana and parts of Andhra may have rid water wars between the two Telugu states, at least temporarily.

Fanciful Rao and tech-savvy Naidu

With an overflowing Srisailam dam, the power position has also eased in Telangana. However, Hyderabad suburbs and adjoining districts are yet to overcome the infrastructural devastation caused by the torrential rains. Most lakes which abound the capital were full to the brim while some overflowed. Notably the city showpiece, Hussainsagar, through sheer neglect, is now no more than a vast lake of garbage, raising pollution levels. 

There are only three months left for the 2018-19 budget. When Telangana Assembly meets on 27 October, CM K  Chandrasekhar Rao would drumbeat his ‘novel’ welfare schemes and his plans to turn Hyderabad into a ‘world-class city.’ Also, by the end of November, a Global Entrepreneurs Summit (GES) themed “Women First” is to be inaugurated at Hyderabad by Prime Minister Modi.

As the host state, Rao is seeking to showcase Telangana’s ‘unique’  investor-friendliness and invite visiting entrepreneurs to set up more high-tech projects. He has requested the Prime Minister to launch the first phase of the L & T Metro Rail Project that would cover 34 km. 

 

Petrol cess for the Golden Garden 

Unmindful of the state of its finances, the Telangana government is going for an ambitious ‘Telangana Golden Garden’ programme that involves state-wide road building with ring roads and corridors.  A petrol cess is to be levied to make up for the budget inadequacies in the Rs.24,000 crore project that will add 16,261 km to the existing road network.

About technology, a major digital project is under implementation in Telangana. The project involves collaborations with MNCs like IBM, Microsoft, and Intel while also embracing startups. Efforts are also on to make at least one person in each household digitally literate. Warangal will be the satellite corridor for Hyderabad. The UAE-based Lulu Group has plans to build a large convention centre and a five-star hotel in Visakhapatnam with an outlay of 400 million dirhams.

 

Daunting resource crunch in AP

Resource challenges are more daunting for the AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu for building his new capital, Amaravati. He intends to make the capital city a “golden destination for investors.”  Also, the World Bank is still reviewing pre-project works and resettlement aspects about dispossessed farmers before making financing commitments.

Denied the coveted ‘Special Status’ envisaged in the 2014 bifurcation law, Naidu is made to look up to the Modi Government to fund cost-overruns in multi-purpose projects. But the Centre itself has been facing economic woes, and fiscal constraints as GST has cut into revenue flows. With cost escalations and budget deficits, people justifiably fear new burdens on them. 

With his firm belief in technology, the Naidu government has introduced a ‘Designated Technology Park Policy’ that intends to alleviate office space crunch faced by IT companies. Naidu said this was part of several initiatives that are being carried out post-bifurcation and would encourage IT companies to set up entities in AP. The state aims to create 1 lakh IT jobs by 2019. Apart from Information Technology, the Chief Minister has also designed other policies about Innovation, Startup and Cyber Security. He has signed an MOU with Mastercard to create a ‘digital ecosystem’ in the state and provide for innovative payment systems that would act as a push towards achieving a ‘cashless society.’

The chief minister is also looking at smart transit solutions for more efficient public transportation. Other developments include an extension of Vizag port’s iron ore handling capacity that involves an investment of Rs.830 crore by Essar Ports. Naidu has designated Vizag as AP’s Financial Centre, while Amaravati would remain the state capital. 

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