India's Andhra Pradesh state and its new capital city

International Enterprise Singapore CEO, Mr Teo Eng Cheong (seated, right), and the Infrastructure Corporation of the Andhra Pradesh representative, Dr Sambasiva Rao (seated, left), signing a memorandum of understanding on Dec 8, 2014, to pr
International Enterprise Singapore CEO, Mr Teo Eng Cheong (seated, right), and the Infrastructure Corporation of the Andhra Pradesh representative, Dr Sambasiva Rao (seated, left), signing a memorandum of understanding on Dec 8, 2014, to prepare the master plan for the new capital city. Mr S. Iswaran (standing, right) Singapore's Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, was at the signing ceremony with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu (standing, left). -- PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Singapore and south India's Andhra Pradesh announced a partnership on Dec 8, 2014 to plan and develop the state's new capital city to replace the existing capital of Hyderabad. 

The development is the single largest infrastructure project attempted by Singapore in India. 

Here are some interesting facts about Andhra Pradesh and the planned new capital city:

OLD CAPITAL, NEW CAPITAL

Hyderabad is currently the joint capital city of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India's 29th and newest state which was carved out of Andhra Pradesh early this year.

Under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014, Hyderabad is designated the common capital to serve both states for 10 years till Andhra Pradesh creates its own capital city.  Hyderabad is well-known as a hub for education and research, and especially famous for its Genome Valley - a 600 sq km high-tech business district with a focus on biomedical research, training and manufacturing.

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Andhra Pradesh is looking to having a new capital which will be designed by Singapore and built by Japanese companies. The state's chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has said his government plans to build the new capital in the Guntur-Vijayawada region at an estimated cost of one trillion rupees (S$21.36 billion).

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The development will take shape in three or more stages. There will be a master plan for 7,325 sq km of a state capital region - 10 times the size of Singapore.

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The project will have a 125 sq km core area and an 8 sq km development where Singapore companies will build up utilities, officials say. Singapore will also train Indian government officials in urban development and governance.

The site for the planned capital city currently has 17 villages.

THE CHIEF MINISTER'S "DREAM CAPITAL"

Andhra Pradesh's Chief Minister wants a capital city that is centrally located. "The government is of the opinion that the interests of the entire state and its balanced development can be best served by locating the capital around Vijayawada. This would enable equal access to people from all regions of the state," says Mr Naidu.

On Dec 9, officials said his government has begun to acquire land from around 10,000 landowners to build the capital city along both banks of the Krishna River.

He is reportedly keen on having a riverfront city with skyscrappers and a 44-storey building to house government offices.

He is also said to be planning to construct two "ultra-modern bridges" across the river to connect the capital with key cities and towns in Krishna district. 

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In planning his dream capital city, Mr Naidu reportedly studied Singapore, London and Putrajaya in Malaysia.

Reports say his goal is to promote tourism in the new capital city.

FAMOUS SITES IN ANDHRA PRADESH

Virabhadra temple

Built in the 16th century by the kings of the Vijayanagra empire, the Virabhadra temple in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh draws devotees from across the country every year. The Hindu temple is well-known for its intricate craftsmanship with pillars covered by life-size images of dancers and musicians. It also has a huge statue of the Nandi bull - the sacred mount of Lord Shiva - chiselled from one giant granite rock.

Undavalli Caves

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At 29m-long and 16m-wide, the monolithic rock-cut cave temple of the Undavalli Caves in the Guntur District was carved out of solid sandstone on a hillside in the 4th to 5th centuries. The caves started out as a worshipping ground for Buddhists but was later taken over by Hindus. The second floor of the four-storey temple is home to the famous 5m-long granite sculpture of Lord Vishnu in reclining position.

ECONOMY

The economy of Andhra Pradesh is supported by its agricultural, industrial and service sectors. In 2012-13, its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) stood at US$77.2 billion (S$102.16 billion) at current prices.

As of July 2014, the state has 17 operational special economic zones in the state across sectors, including textiles and apparel, food processing, pharma and IT.

The Andhra Pradesh government has recently proposed a slew of measures to double the contribution of its manufacturing sector to its GSDP, triple investments and create 500,000 new jobs by the end of 2019.

The state also proposed to create a country-specific helpdesk for foreign direct investment, on top of offering hand-holding support and reports on cost of doing business.

Sources: Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, India Today, Business Standard, NDTV, India Brand Equity Foundation