Telangana has been focused on tapping companies that are likely to move out from China. TS has been following up with embassies, high commissions and others to attract companies from the textiles, electronics, life science and other segments that have a capacity to create large scale employment, said Industries Minister KT Rama Rao.
"We have a reasonable success and a formal announcement will be made in a couple of weeks," he said.
Speaking at a webinar on `Rebuilding and rebooting Telangana's economy post Covid-19, organised by industry body FICCI, he said the ambitious Pharma City project will take shape in a few months. About 10,000 acre has been acquired and another 2,000 acre is being acquired, he said adding that the pharma manufacturing cluster once ready will cut the dependence on imports and further strengthen Telangana's hold in the pharma and bulk drug segments, said Rao. Hyderabad already has an electronic manufacturing cluster and there is a need for more such facilities given the demand they have. The State is continuing its focus to attract investments with proactive polices that are focused on ease, cost and quality of doing business in the State. It will continue to work on these parameters, he said.
The Minister said that the fight with Covid will go on. On the other hand, the State and the nation cannot afford to shut out the economic growth. Alluding with industrialist and Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj, KTR said India indeed flattened the wrong curve- that of economy. "Governments are in a catch 22 situation. The effort has been to strike a balance between the economy and the health issues. While there is no doubt that health of people is most important, reviving the economy is also important," he said adding that the Telangana revenues also suffered due to the lockdown and was now getting only about Rs 150 crore from the earlier Rs 500-600 crore on daily basis.
Telangana was among the States that have opened up the economic activities without delay. It has now allowed the manufacturing sector including the MSMEs to open up their activities. The Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India have announced several measures that will ease the liquidity crunch for the industry and more can be done. He said Telangana Government has decided to defer collection of property taxes for the MSMEs. In another measure giving relief to the small industries, the TS Government has decided to bill on the actual power usage and no fixed charges will be collected. The State is urging the banks to step up lending at the district level.
Agriculture and pharma
Telangana was also among the States that have ensured that there is no shortage of essential commodities and services even during the lockdown. It ensured there is no disruption to agriculture and health industry activities then. Several Hyderabad-based pharma companies have made hydroxychloroquine tablets here and have exported to the US on President Trump's insistence for having the drug supplied there. The TS Government has been implementing the irrigation projects on a war-footing and that has helped the State to produce 83 lakh metric tonne paddy, which is more than 63 per cent of the total quantity produced in the country, the minister said.
Healthcare, textile and electronics
KTR said that the standard of living has been enhanced due to the proliferation of IT industry, which has recorded 18 per cent growth in the State, compared to the 8 per cent the country recorded. Now, healthcare can play the same catalytic role in the coming decade. "Corona has shown the world that the healthcare infra and personnel are woefully inadequate to tackle a pandemic. This is an opportunity to train the youngsters in healthcare and allied sectors. About 78 per cent of the medical devices used in the country are imported. The effort should be to up the local production to cut down the imports. Telangana is now setting up the largest medical devices park in the country, he said.
There is a need for Government investment and some bold reforms keeping scale in mind. Mega industrial parks are the need, he said. TS is also setting up a mega textile park and this will focus on making garments to the global market. This will have a capacity to use rural infrastructure. Citing an interaction he had with an economist, Rao said the economist observed that the entire industrial infrastructure is intact and what is missing is the workforce. The productivity will come back once the workforce joins back and it could be a `V' shaped recovery (sharp rise) but the current conditions indicate that it will be 'U' shaped recovery (slow).
The TS in the Budget has allotted Rs 1,500 crore to be clear part of the pending incentives that are due to the industry. In all, the dues are about 1,800 crore. However, Covid has changed all these plans as the economy has gone haywire. Now, the State will work on a mechanism to award certificates which can be used to adjust against State GST or for paying power bills and the like. A similar mechanism will be evolved for the solar sector too. He also urged the industry to up the payments due to the State. The Government is also engaging with cement and steel makers as spiraling prices will hit the demand in the construction segment, which is linked with several other sectors.
The TS government will soon announce a new waste management policy and that will cover solid, liquid, biological, biomedical, construction and demolition waste management among others. TS shortly will also announce a policy for the hospitality segment, which is one of the most affected sectors, to re-emerge from the covid dent, the Industries Minister said.
Telecom and EVs
Rama Rao stressed the role of telecom companies in the times of Covid in ensuring uninterrupted communication. TS is now executing T-Fibre and once ready this will create a robust broadband ecosystem that will help the Government come closer to people and enhance the quality of education and health services. The State is also working on Telangana Emerging Technologies Corridor (TETC) to focus on new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, drones and allied fields, he said adding that the TS has declared 2020 as year of AI. TS is working with healthcare provider Apollo and WEF on a project - Medicine from the sky- to deliver drugs or even blood through drones.
The State is already using some electric buses and going forward it will favour hybrid buses as well. This will meet the transport needs of rural and semi urban areas. Hyderabad has been consistently rated as the most livable city in the country. The city stands 142 on the global scale and the Government is working on decongesting city by building satellite townships leveraging the 160-km Outer Ring Road. A regional ring road, double the size of ORR, is also proposed to take development further.
Sircilla has now become a case study in water management for the civil servants. The groundwater has risen 6m mainly due to the irrigation projects. The State has already rejuvenated more than 20,000 tanks and an equal number will be done. The State is also keen on increasing water treatment for secondary uses like construction and landscaping.
The central governemnt should enhance the limits of borrowing. The governemnt allowed partly but those came with a lot of riders. Also, we are disappointed that the government is not buying the commercial bonds. That would have been a great help to the States. Even as our own resources have been hit, we are continuing with the debt services and other obligations. We are all in the same boat. Now, we want the industry to give us the comfort of choosing to invest in TS or increasing the investments.
Defence and aerospace
The State has three aeroparks and two more will be added. About 30 per cent of the components used in the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) were sourced from companies in Hyderabad. One company is also making parts for submarine. The cabins of Sikorsky helicopters are made in Hyderabad.
Industry lauds TS' efforts
Hyderabad: Industry leaders have lauded the efforts of Telangana in dealing with Covid, particularly with respect to reopening the industry. They also made suggestions for some areas that need to be improved.
"The State has done good in dealing with Covid and it is among the States with lowest number of cases. I am sure the State will step up in areas that need some corrections. Lifting of the lockdown and getting back to work have been done smoothly," said Sangita Reddy, president, FICCI at the online conference 'Rebuilding and Rebooting Telangana's Economy Post COVID-19'.
"The attendance you have is really exemplary and this is reflection of the positive image of the State and your personal proactive interactions," she said.
"We all realise that the next 60 days will be critical. TS is among the few states that have opened up agriculture and others quite early with the requisite standard operating procedures. It is also the only State that is procuring 100 per cent of the paddy produced, which is a huge relief to the farmers. This has been the history of Telangana- to be proactive, farmer-friendly, pro-poor policies, which continue to be the hallmark. TS has a strong industrial base with many inbuilt drivers for a sustainable growth," she said.
Sandip Somany, vice chairman and managing director, HSIL Limited, said: "In terms of revival of the industry, Telangana was an easy State to work from. The Government ensured that the industry opened fairly quickly and also followed due safety procedures. I think we have reached about 60 per cent capacity. I am an emissary of your State and we are happy that we have our investments in the State. Significant investments have come to Telangana in the last few year."
"It is great to feel the optimism from States that are well managed like yours," said Naina Lal Kidwai, chairman, Advent Private Equity.
"You represent the new age and future Indian political leadership, most importantly totally aligned to the tech suaveness that India requires to be able to deal with 1.3 billion people. You demonstrate by example the fact that technology use and absorption in Government is perhaps one of the ways now to deal with governance for the people," said Tanmoy Chakrabarty, chairman, FICCI Committee on Urban Transformation.