VISAKHAPATNAM: Citing the State’s double-digit GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product), Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday predicted that Andhra Pradesh’s growth rate would be four to five percent more than the national average GDP in the coming years and asserted that the Centre was ready to walk the extra mile to aid the State in its development.
Inaugurating the second edition of the Sunrise Andhra Pradesh Investment Meet, also called the CII Partnership Summit, here, Jaitley said the environment for policy formulation and reform was far more positive in India than anywhere else in the world.
“There are three important directions to this change in the country. JAM, an acronym for Jan Dhan Accounts, Aadhaar and mobile phones, along with Goods and Services Tax (GST) reforms and demonetisation, are the game-changing initiatives in this regard,” he said.
The Finance Minister said that AP had huge potential and promised to be the most vibrant economy on the east coast, with focus on manufacturing and services. “Within two-and-a-half years after the new State of AP was created, the State is now ranked first in Ease of Doing Business. Over the next 15 years, Andhra promises to have a double digit growth every year,” he said, adding that at a time of global slowdown, having high growth states like AP will contribute to the country’s growth.
Indirectly dismissing allegations that the Centre was apathetic to Andhra’s concerns, Jaitley said that the Centre had a genuine interest in the State. “There are reasons for special relationship with AP as its division has created two unequal parts. This part (Andhra) is more unequal on account of several reasons... the Centre is fulfilling promises made to the State,” he clarified.
He sounded optimistic about the State’s future and expressed confidence that the Polavaram irrigation project, which is fully-funded by the Centre in a way, would be completed on time and make the State a power house in farming sector. He also explained why Andhra is a better bet for investments. “The avenues of investment in AP are far more compared to other parts of India. It has to build its capital, execute irrigation projects, build townships and manufacturing industry,” he said.
Support for demonetisation
Touching upon the note ban, Jaitley said the move, shook the financial system for a short while, will integrate the shadow economy with the formal economy in the long run and ensure better tax compliance. He also assured the delegates that the most contentious issues regarding the GST have been sorted out between the Centre and the States and formulation of the new indirect tax regime was in the final stages.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said the State grew 12.23 per cent in the first half of the current financial year as against the national average of 7.2 per cent. He explained that the State was building a new capital at Amaravati which will need huge funds and require assistance from the Centre and private investors. He invited investors from India and abroad. “About 50 per cent of the 328 MoUs signed at the last Partnership Summit held in Visakhapatnam in 2016, have translated into projects worth Rs 2.82 lakh crore investments,” he claimed.