A for Amaravati: Before Davos Calling, Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu Shares Plans to Woo Investors
File photo of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. (PTI)
Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is no regular politician. While speaking to the man who once turned around Hyderabad from a sleepy city known for its biryani and rich history into India’s Silicon Valley, one can easily confuse him with a technocrat or even a start-up CEO.
Hours before he boarded the flight for Davos to attend World Economic Forum along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this is how Naidu described his plans to woo investors to Amaravati, new state capital which is being built from scratch: “I am planning to go for disruptive technology.... I want Amaravati to be India’s centre of cloud management, artificial intelligence, data analytics, cyber security, Blockchain, healthcare etc.”
Technology has always been at the core of Naidu’s idea of governance.
And if Hyderabad, now capital of Telangana, was where he turned around a legacy corporation, in Amaravati he has donned the hat of a start-up CEO.
“Today’s Andhra is India’s youngest state.… We are just three-and-a-half years old. By no mistake of ours, we lost everything during bifurcation,” said Naidu. “But that has given us a great opportunity to build a greenfield city. Imagine a city which is known for cleanest air and water in India… a city that has electric cars running on best roads in the world. Amaravati is going to be a totally different kind of city,” one can sense the excitement of a start-up CEO in his early 30s in the voice of Naidu, who turns 67 this April.
“We are planning nine unique districts as part of the larger Amaravati project — financial district, legal district, entertainment district, sports district, healthcare district… on those lines. At Davos, I want to not only attract investment for each of these areas, but also capture the latest trends in technology,” he added.
Naidu has been a regular visitor to the World Economic Forum, Davos.
“I have been going continuously to WEF because I get to network with and learn from investors, bankers, scientists, technologists and a whole host of people under one roof. This year, with the Prime Minister coming, India is finding a lot of traction. I am sure investors will show interest in Andhra,” he said.
Naidu is not just a dreamer like a start-up CEO but also an aggressive seller. When asked about recent reports suggesting that the grand Amaravati project is yet to take off, he was quick to refute such reports.
“Ground-level implementation has already begun. Assembly house, airport, housing, schools, hotels… everything is coming up. Work on the seven key roads has also begun. We have done reasonably well,” said Naidu.
When asked about his expectations from the Modi government’s last full Budget, he said, “Job growth is crucial for India. The PM wants India to have double digit growth… and if we plan well, it can be achieved. We have to focus on agriculture and allied activities because most of our population is dependent on it. We as a country have advantage terms of demography and technological knowhow. I believe everything is possible for India.”
It remains to be seen if investors will buy into Naidu’s bullish vision for Andhra, now branded as India’s Sunrise State.