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Telangana focusing on 14 key areas for industrialization, says K. T. Rama Rao

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-05-2017 Yunus Y. Lasania

Hyderabad: Friday, 2 June, marks the third anniversary of Telangana’s statehood. Telangana’s information technology and industries minister K. T. Rama Rao, in an interview, spoke about the challenges faced by the state after it was carved out of Andhra Pradesh, its pro-farmer stance and the recent lay-offs in the IT sector. Edited excerpts:

Post-bifurcation, what were the immediate challenges? How much investment has come into the state till now?

I won’t say that we faced a lot of issues after Telangana was formed. Hyderabad has a brand name which is very well-known across the world. All I had to do was to make sure that there was economic stability.

I don’t think I can lay claim to what has happened in the past three years. In the past two years, about $10 billion worth of investments have come in.

You have said that the recent lay-offs in the IT sector are cyclical and not something to worry about. Please elaborate.

Every year, there are lay-offs in the IT industry and recruitments also take place simultaneously. It’s not a new phenomenon is what I was trying to say. It’s cyclical in the sense that people leave an organization and join elsewhere, while some are let go. It is nothing that the world has not seen. In terms of percentage, numbers, recruitments, etc, I will be releasing a report on Thursday on what has happened in the IT industry in Telangana and the rest of the country in the past year.

Do you see the start-up area in the neighbouring capital Amravati as a competition to Hyderabad’s IT sector?

Any government will want to attract investments. We can’t see this only as competition. Kochi also has a start-up village and so does Bhubaneswar. We are competing with the rest of the world. Andhra Pradesh for us is a forgotten chapter. I am not concerned with what is happening in Vijayawada.

What are the areas of focus in Telangana with regard to the industrial sector?

There are 14 thrust areas for industrialization in the state, on which we are focusing. The Hyderabad pharma city will be operational by the end of 2018. We are building several parks here. Electronic manufacturing, aerospace and defence are also some of the key sectors we are working on.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has shown much interest towards farmers through various schemes. Opposition leaders and the Telangana joint Action Committee claim that the TRS is losing support of the farming community.

We have waived off Rs17,000 crore in farm loans. This government is pro-farmer. We started as a power deficit state, but are supplying it for nine hours a day in rural Telangana now. The storage capacity in the state has also been increased from four lakh metric tons to 21 lakh metric tons.

With the Rs4,000 input subsidy per acre scheme (each farmer will get the amount for the rabi and kharif seasons from 2018), the state exchequer will be affected by Rs6,000 to Rs7,000 crore a year. It is unique, and a model for the rest of the country. It is also a reprieve for the farm sector which is in distress and is in continuity of whatever we have been doing.

Ibrahimpur village in Siddipet district has managed to adopt the online payment system post demonetization. Will more villages head the same way in Telangana?

As of today, 400 villages of 8,890 in Telangana are ready to go ‘cashless’. This is the highest number in any state in India. The state is also number one in the country for digital transactions. India is a country that deals in hard cash, at best what you can do is provide infrastructure to be ‘cashless’. What a person does after that is his/her wish.

Why wasn’t Telangana one of the states which notified the Real Estate Regulation Act, which came into effect from 1 May?

It will be notified soon. Nobody needs to worry as we are in the process of consultation with all stakeholders, including home buyers. Point is that the real estate sector is coming back on track now. If we do it in haste and there is a negative impact, it will be passed to the consumer.

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