Amaravati: Promoting brand Andhra Pradesh as a desired destination for investment and trade on a global platform, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has said that the core strength of the State lies in its honesty, sincerity and commitment besides providing corruption free and transparent governance.

Addressing the delegates of over 30 nations at the Diplomatic Outreach Programme, jointly organized with the Economic Division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), here on Friday, the Chief Minster has explained in detail about the trade opportunities in various sectors and at the same time defended the government policy on Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and the law to provide reservations to locals in industries.

The 974 km long coastline would shore up an array of opportunities in development of Ports besides aquaculture giving a boost to blue economy, the Chief Minster said, we love to collaborate in infrastructure development, oil refinery, steel plants, water management, interlinking of rivers as ours is a Riparian State, clean drinking water plants and reforms in transport system by phasing out diesel-run buses and moving on to energy-powered buses. We also plan to give a boost to maritime economy where the opportunities are wide open for investment.

Increasing productivity in agrarian economy is one area where there is scope for investment as the average yield per acre of coffee here is about 260 kg while in Vietnam it runs up to 8,000 kgs. This is possible with the good agriculture practices which we are looking forward to, for transfer or sharing of expertise. We need your cooperation in setting up globally competitive standards in agriculture and aqua products, he said.

We have four ports and another four will be coming up in the coming five years which will be providing investment opportunities besides setting up of Metro Rail in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Guntur. We have six airports in the 13 districts.

Though we do not have Tier 1 city, and our literacy and gross enrolment rates may not be encouraging, we do have our strengths which are in the form of a stable government which has a thumping mandate by winning 86 % of the state assembly seats. We have very phenomenally cordial relations with the Centre, the neighbouring states of Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and have a strong commitment to the development agenda which rolls on the smooth track of transparency and corruption free governance. We also seek your cooperation in supporting our welfare schemes, he said.

Strongly defending the cancellation of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), he said, ‘ this is a tough decision we had to take, the renegotiation of PPAs will go on to instill confidence among the investors, though in the short run there could be some concern from the international community.

The other side of the narrative of cancellation of PPAs other than what was reported is that the cost factor has been going upward. We have reviewed the energy situation after taking over and we found out that Discoms are not in a position to pay the bills. Over Rs 20, 000 crores were pending from the past 20 months. If the deal continues and power is being purchased at a higher rate, it will reflect on the cost and the new investor has to pay more.

We are honest enough to tell the reality and we are firm in our policy of renegotiating PPAs as such a move will instill confidence among the investors as we cannot procure power at a higher cost. We had to take bold decision and that is what we have done.

The second reform which was much talked about is the job reservations for locals in industry. Even in the US, the slogan is Jobs for Locals and it is a worldwide phenomenon. What we are asking for is nothing new or unusual. Locals give land to industry and the least they expect is employment and they are justified.

We have recently passed a law to provide 75% reservations to locals in the industries and we are pursuing with the policy of promoting industries in the backward areas. We also have put forward a policy of setting up of Skill Development Centres at every Constituency level. What we are asking for is to give us a list of your requirements and we will train them to suit to your standards.

‘We are not asking for any funding from your side. What we are asking for is help in faculty and training so that we can provide you with a skilled workforce, he said.

Earlier welcoming the gathering, the Additional Secretary, Economic Division and States Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, P Harish said, the Centre is providing a platform to the State to outline their vision and put forth their economic development plan and industrial policy to the visiting delegations.

Minister for Industries and Commerce M Goutham Reddy, Finance Minister Buggana Rajendernath, Chief Secretary LV Subrahmanyam, Advisor to Chief Minister M Samuel, Principal Secretary (Industries) Rajat Bhargava, , Principal Secretary (Tourism) K Praveen Kumar and others presented the industrial profile of the state and the areas of potential investments.

Aloso Watch: Watch: AP CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy Speech | Diplomatic Outreach Meeting