What has been your role as the chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee of commerce and what are the some of the important agendas for this year?
The parliamentary standing committees are meant to make recommendations to the government on important issues as per the guidelines that are selected by the majority of the members of the committee. While selecting the subject, the committee keeps in mind certain aspects- relevance of the subject, an ongoing issue, addressing a pressing issue, for example, there is a priority to increase the export and reduce imports so that foreign exchange balance is maintained. We keep all these aspects in mind and select the subjects which are helpful for the country.
How has the committee worked towards attracting investments into India post covid pandemic.
We understand the high cost of finance in India which our manufacturers and domestic traders are facing, and the credit facilities that are being provided in fact to the entrepreneurs in India are not popular. We need to increase the awareness regarding this issue. Another aspect are regulatory hurdles that are being faced by the Indian manufacturers like enforcement of contracts. The committee has recommended to simplify the litigation process. The committee has discussed and recommended the government for the introduction of National Logistics policy which will cater to the Indian manufacturers. We recommended the government to introduce attractive SOPs for all the companies that have left China during the covid-19 pandemic and are looking for new countries to invest.
There are several productivity linked incentive schemes in various sectors that have come out. So, what are your thoughts on the actions taken by the government?
Production linked incentive scheme is one scheme that the government has introduced across 14 sectors in with a total allocation of 3 lakh crore. The scheme provides: enhanced value addition in the manufacturing sector that attracts foreign investment. It creates direct employment and indirect employment of over 40 lakh jobs. This will help India in becoming an AtmaNirbhar country and a global manufacturing hub. The potential challenges in the scheme are execution delays and delays in approval. The government on its part is attracting foreign investment by providing all infrastructural facilities that will help in the adoption of this scheme.
What can be done about infrastructure that facilitates trade and exports?
The central government has done a good job with the implementation of PLI scheme and easy credit for MSMEs through the emergency credit line guarantee scheme. India’s merchandise export has increased by 45.8% in the last 2 years. We are expected to hit 400 billion Dollars in merchandise exports this year. The government is focusing on export infrastructure especially the delayed industrial corridors are to be completed. So, their speedy completion will be a priority.
Sir, what do you think about the budget announcement, specially for the state of Andhra Pradesh?
People of Andhra Pradesh are disappointed with the union budget. The increase in government spending that the Hon’ble FM has been propagating, very little of it has been allocated to address the pressing issues of the nation. Secondly, AtmaNirbharta of the states have been neglected. The central government has increased the cess and surcharges in its gross tax revenues. But cess and surcharge collection are not shared with the state governments. This is the injustice that the central government has been causing to the state governments. It is also very disappointing that there is no relief to the common man as far as tax benefits are concerned and in fact the cess on petrol and diesel is at all time high and proceeds are not shared with the states. All major subsidies for fertilizers and LPG were reduced. This move is anti-poor and anti-farmer. While inflation is going up, on the other hand the government is not considering the increase of the exemption limit. There are so many other issues which the reorganization act has stipulated that the Government would implement but have not been implemented.
How would you advise to the government of Andhra Pradesh to leverage the platforms that the Govt of India has created?
Andhra is ranked no. 1 in ease of doing business. Business reforms plan 2019 contains 80 reforms, of which 187 action points are to be implemented by 19 state departments and Andhra Pradesh has achieved 100% compliance in that. AP has made rapid strides in manufacturing, development of imports, multi modal logistic parks, industrial corridors and fishing harbors. There is a lot of scope of development of infrastructural projects and Andhra Pradesh government is envisaging and implementing them. In fact our Late industry minister — Gautam Reddy showcased AP in Dubai expo and he facilitated the launch of single window system where all the permissions are granted for starting the industries and his efforts led to the investment of 5150 Crores to generate 3440 direct employment and 7800 indirect employment in the key sectors of EVs, FMCG, Infrastructure, manufacturing logistics and smart city solutions. AP govt is responsive and it cooperates with entrepreneurs in acquiring the land and making the logistics available with less regulatory compliances. Topographically, AP has got a wide coast range of 970 kms and we have plenty of land available right in the middle of 3 cities- namely, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore. So, it is a strategic location for any entrepreneur to start a manufacturing unit or service sector.
Sir, you’ve raised the right markers both at the national level and as the Chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee of Commerce and for the state itself. How do you see this journey?
The road till now has not been so easy, I have faced many hurdles, many politically motivated cases, reaching here at this point is not important. What we do after we reach here is important. And I have raised so many problems that are being faced by the people of Andhra and problems of the country at large. My humble message to the new generation, is to adopt a quote of Swami Vivekananda- “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”.