The state of Andhra Pradesh has always been a hotbed for politics with various political parties keenly vying to garner the trust of residents and promising them a future that is filled with economic prosperity and good governance.
Albeit the BJP in the recent past has been a tad coy of its political ambitions in the state and has thus mostly aligned with other regional parties it is now pretty much evident that the BJP party has a strong penchant for coming to power in the state.
With this play in mind the BJP has deputed probably its most articulate and efficacious leaders to help get them the desired results.
A native of the Tenali district in Guntur of Andhra Pradesh, Mr GVL Narasimha Rao is no stranger to the state and is arguably one of BJP’s most efficient and effective communicators.
Having been the National Spokesperson of the BJP he has time and again articulated BJP’s official position in the national and international media platforms on a host of issues since 2014.
GVL as he is popularly called is a man of varied learnings. From having served on a range of committees from defence to finance to consumer protection and having been on many parliamentary delegations has visited a slew of countries abroad and is thus well aware of developments globally.
Mr GVL Narasimha Rao is Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and since July this year is also the WHIP for Southern states in Rajya Sabha.
In a free-wheeling Interview with our Editor Mr. A.K. Sabharwal Mr. GVL Narasimha Rao shared his views on his broader plans for Andhra Pradesh.
Edited Excerpts of the interview below.
Sir you have been vociferously advocating for the development of A.P. What’s your action plan?
There is enormous scope for development in AP but there is an impression that successive State governments have concentrated on land grabbing and not Development.
I have an action plan and Vision 2030 for Vizag and we are working on this already.
In the last eight years Modi Ji has increased National Highways in AP from 4192 Kilometres to 9000 kilometres. We want to untap the enormous opportunity for the IT Industry with huge manpower. AP is rich in agriculture and massive cold stores and warehouses need to be constructed, similarly value addition should be done for sea food exported from AP. Successive state governments have lacked VISION to develop AP.
There is 970 KMs of coastline with AP but just 4/5 ports whereas Gujarat has 22 ports.
The Central Government wants to develop the Vizag Chennai Corridor but AP has not earmarked the land till date.
The BJP has been criticizing the state government for lack of investments in the state. But as a matter of fact your own government has ranked AP as No.1 in Ease of Doing Business?
While that might be partially true, the commitment and vision with which the industry is being approached is not praiseworthy or impressive.
Why isn’t the Central Government releasing funds for the Polavaram project? We understand our CM has made multiple follow ups in this regard and met the PM?
The Central Government is very efficient and expects the same of state governments. GOI has already released over Rs 12000 Crores for Polavaram Project. In this regard, AP is yet to clarify a few queries.
Vizag has for long been a major PSU hub providing employment and economic development for decades together. However, with GoI’s disinvestment plans many of these PSUs are being lined up for privatisation, including RINL?
Mr Sabharwal, do you know Vizag Steel Plant has the single largest investment of over Rs 10000 Crores by GOI. This is the biggest spend across South India but the Successive AP governments have not supported it by giving Coal Blocks or Iron ore mines to VSP since its inception.
To put it into perspective, there are no Major ancillary industries downstream or upstream developed by the Successive AP govt. When the Central Govt makes such a huge investment, we expect the state governments to encourage setting up MSMEs, ancillary industries with a view to create a few lakhs jobs for Locals.
RINL has been a major source for employment in this region and continues to present fantastic trading opportunities. Then why privatise?
As stated previously, the state has to come forward to multiply investments and job creations. For example, Vizag Steel has the core advantage of being a shore based steel plant and could have easily captured global market share but since inception no mines have been given to RINL-VSP.
Despite this, workers of RINL-VSP produce the highest quantity of steel per worker which is a record in itself. But yet again the AP government fails to give Iron Ore mines and coal blocks to AP for many decades. This in conjunction with their failure to Build Ancillary industries, is what drives our current approach. This includes bolstering Indian industrialists who are capable of attracting fresh capital and multiplying capacity. As such, GOI views divestment as a means to grow faster and create more jobs.
Visakhapatnam Port Authority is working towards becoming a landlord port. However there are rumours that VPA too might come up for privatisation?
No There is no such proposal to my knowledge. See today COMPETITION is the order of the day, every industry has to compete globally else potential investors will come forward to take-over. You know even in the private sector if an industry is not performing well, it is taken over by others. I am hearing several Pollution related
issues with VPA, and I have already met the shipping Minister Mr Sonowal and given a representation.
In fact, I urge the Pollution Control Department to take stern action against all polluting Industries. I often hear of major accidents in Pharma City-Vizag and it can be avoided by effective controls by the Local Government.
You have been urging for Sea planes operations and Vizag Metro etc to develop Vizag?
The work has already commenced on Cruise Terminal. Yes seaplanes will operate from Cruise terminal by VPA and the same will be ready by next year. Mr Sabharwal I am again saying that I see immense potential in Vizag alone and also in AP but it is the state who has to think of participating, coordinating and facilitating fresh investment and ease of doing business.
And Vizag Metro Rail?
The State was asked to submit a revised proposal in September 2017,but nothing has materialised so far.
The state government has advocated the 3 capital formula with a view to decentralise power & create all round development. Then why are you opposing this?
Mr Sabharwal, General impression is that a real estate angle and land grabbing is the objective for this 3 capital formula. Please note, Gujarat is the most developed state in the Country and they have only one Capital. It is never the number of Capitals that brings development but an efficient and Honest Double Engine Kee Sarkaar like that of Modi Ji who has a Vision and a committed workforce who motivates to make India a $5 Trillion Economy.
Sir PM is fond of our CM Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy who is a Hugely popular CM and many Central Leaders like Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari have openly praised the CM. On the contrary most State BJP leaders have always criticised the CM. Why is that the case?
Modi Jee loves and supports everybody including Jagan Mohan Reddy. Modi ji maintains very good & Cordial relations with all heads of states as cooperative federalism.
But please also note that all political parties unanimously approved Amaravati as State Capital and Modi Ji especially came to Amaravati for Foundation Laying Ceremony. However, the CM now wants to shift Capitals.
But why do your BJP State leaders constantly criticise CM?
Importantly, BJP leaders have nothing against Mr Jagan and their criticism is purely issue based.
Though the Government has promised a Railway Zone in Vizag, why has it not been happening?
Who said so? Railway Zone in Vizag is well underway.
Sir GOI has come up with many PLI Schemes for various sectors, is there any PLI Scheme for AP ?
As you may be aware, the PLI Scheme is sector specific and not State specific.
There is a talk that You are the next BJP Lok Sabha candidate fromVizag. Please comment?
(Laughs aloud) Arrey Sabharwal Saab, I am already a Rajya Sabha MP.
Sir, your message to our readers.
I am delighted to see Vizag Industrial Scan as the flagship publication for Industrial News across Andhra Pradesh. The publication not only retains its dominant leadership in providing fair and transparent news but continues to grow in these challenging times for the print media. Well done to your entire team at VIS to provide their readers credible information and analysis.