Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy appealed to Prime Narendra Modi to accord special category status (SCS) for rapid industrialisation in the state. This came during the Niti Aayog's 6th Governing Council meeting on Saturday, which saw the participation of 26 chief ministers, three Lt. Governors and two administrators participated in the conference.
"Rapid industrialisation of my state is possible if only the special status is accorded. This was a commitment made on the floor of the Parliament and was a precondition to the bifurcation," said Jagan.
He said Andhra is yet to gain growth momentum in industrialisation despite commitment to provide a business friendly environment.
"There are five significant impediments to the growth of the manufacturing sector: Exorbitant cost of funds, high cost of power, delays in land procurement, delay and complexity in grant of statutory clearances and rigid labour laws," the Chief Minister pointed out.
A thorough study and analysis of the factors that contributed to some countries making good progress in the manufacturing sector was essential, he mooted, adding that the Union government and the states should dive deeper to understand the root cause and introduce reforms to remove the hurdles in the country.
"The bifurcation resulted in my state being deprived of a tier-1 city, infrastructure, employment opportunities and financial resources. Rapid industrialisation of my state is possible if only Special Category Status is accorded," Jagan said.
Talking about infrastructure building, Jagan lamented that even the state governments undertakings were borrowing money from financial institutions like Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation at higher rates of interest of 10-11% per annum.
"With this enormous debt-servicing requirement, our manufacturing units cannot hope to offer products that can compete with products of countries where credit is available at interest rates as low as 2-3%. So is the case with power, which is available in a few counties at tariffs lower than Rs 3 per unit," he noted.
On improving physical infrastructure, which he said was a matter of utmost importance for economic growth and poverty alleviation, Jagan wanted the Union government to provide access to low-cost finance to state governments for developing social infrastructure as well.
"Keeping the socio-economic conditions in mind, we cannot wish away the fact that the government is and will be majorly responsible for providing critical services in the areas of health and education.
Low-cost finance will enable states to provide quality services to citizens at affordable rates," he said.
Jagan also wanted low-cost credit for creating a market stabilisation fund to procure agricultural produce in the absence of remunerative prices for the farmers. This would facilitate the state governments to provide necessary support to farmers, he added.
He suggested a few other policy interventions like minimising the cost of production, ensuring post-harvest technologies and storage and processing facilities for strengthening the agriculture sector and doubling the farmers income.