Indian state banking on S'pore's expertise

Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu.
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh hopes to capitalise on Singapore's expertise to speed up its development, its chief minister said here yesterday.

Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu is here to attract investment and discuss plans for its new capital city, Amaravati, with Singapore government agencies and business partners.

He told the media, after a speech yesterday to around 300 business leaders, diplomats and academics at the Sheraton Towers Hotel, that he hopes the Singapore Government will "assist with the best practices and knowledge" in developing Amaravati.

Singapore's Surbana Jurong has helped the state develop a three-part masterplan for its new city - one for the entire city, another for the capital region, and a third that includes government buildings and the Central Business District. The last of the masterplans was completed and handed to Mr Naidu in July.

Amaravati is being created from the ground up after Andhra Pradesh lost its capital Hyderabad when the new state of Telangana was created last year following boundary changes. Mr Naidu said Andhra Pradesh has advantages such as abundant natural resources and a strong and stable leadership.

There are "huge opportunities" for investments in sectors such as infrastructure development, infocommunications, biotechnology, tourism, and education, he added.

"We will build a capital city with the best institutions," he said, adding that it will be the "best city not just in terms of administration, but also in economic activities and entertainment".

A recent World Bank report on the ease of doing business in India ranked Andhra Pradesh second out of 29 states, narrowly losing out to Gujarat by just one percentage point, said Mr Naidu.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officiate at the foundation-stone laying ceremony for the new city on Oct 22, Mr Naidu said, adding that he will be inviting Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to attend.

"There are opportunities available. Come, see, believe and invest," said Mr Naidu, whose three-day visit ends tomorrow.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2015, with the headline 'Indian state banking on S'pore's expertise'. Print Edition | Subscribe