During my 37 years career as an IAS officer, I was fortunate to be posted in the industrial sector in the combined state of Andhra Pradesh for nearly a decade i.e. from March 2001-Dec 2009.
This was indeed a satisfying and challenging period in my career with tenures as Secretary, Industries & Commerce (2001-2004) and CMD APIIC (2005-2009). This helped me to facilitate at least 20 class industrial clusters (list enclosed) which have created as many as 40 lakhs jobs, directly and indirectly over a period of time.
Encouraged by proactive leadership in the State, I was able to contribute in not only allotting land for these projects, but also helped in facilitating basic infrastructure such as water supply, uninterrupted power supply, road connectivity and was involved in these projects right since conception, or from thought to finish to borrow the tag line of E&Y in the past.
Of these clusters many are now in and around Hyderabad such as Genome valley, L&T infocity, Raheja Mindspace, Gachibowli Financial Dist and Hyderabad Knowledge City which have changed the profile of Hyderabad as a global city apart from providing employment to lakhs of people.
Some of the notable clusters in Andhra Pradesh are Sri city (near Nellore) and Brandix apparel city in Visakhapatnam which have turned out to be models worthy of emulation.
While Sri City today is one of the best multi product SEZs in the country, which has attracted over 90 MNCs to provide direct employment to over 50,000 persons, Brandix with 25000 workers is the best modern apparel cluster in the country.
For Sri City we worked with the promoter Mr. Ravi Sanareddy, an NRI and a son of the soil, who was keen to create a manufacturing hub, right from the planning stage. With his help we could acquire over 6,000 acres near Chennai (90 kms ) at a vantage point abutting the National highway.
We visited Shenzen and Shanghai together to emulate the Chinese models to make it a “factory of the world “. That dream is fulfilled today, to a large extent and it’s a shining example of “make in India” ( even before the slogan was coined!)
We could achieve similar success in other important clusters such Aerospace cluster in Adibhatla, a global hub for aerospace manufacturing, with the presence of all top players such as Boeing, Airbus, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin etc.
Similar clusters like Pharma SEZ in Jadcherla and Ramky Pharma city in Visakhapatnam have also generated significant employment.
All in all, my experience in creating these world class clusters, was truly a labour of love to look back upon with a sense of pride, though I had to face many trying times due to my involvement in these clusters.
Andhra Pradesh with its vast and rich natural resources has a plethora of opportunities in developing industries/MSME clusters across the state. Each district has its own unique potential for a range of clusters.
To highlight a few Nellore can become a cluster for ancillaries, aerospace, leather, textile and food processing while Prakasam could house clusters of granite, building material etc.
In addition YSR Kadapa could be a cluster for steel, animal biotech while Guntur could be for skill development, dairy and dairy products. Srikakulam could be for cashew, beach sand & coir .
Similarly other districts could follow their respective cluster-based model thereby accentuating the overall growth of MSMEs in the state.
(The writer is the former special chief secretary of Telangana. He had also served as Secretary, Industries and CMD, APIIC in the combined state of Andhra Pradesh.)