It was just his second day in office. But KT Rama Rao, Telangana's IT&C and Panchayat Raj Minister and son of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, is already busy meeting industry representatives. Sitting at his makeshift office, he spoke to BUSINESS TODAY on the role the new government intends to play in the region and on the priorities for the industry and the IT sector. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. You have been meeting investors and industry representatives. What are they asking you and what's your message to them?
A. Between May 16, when the poll results were announced, and June 2, when the portfolios were decided, I had held informal meetings with people from across industry - from heads of leading IT companies, pharma, real estate developers to local oil and steel companies. I had also met representatives from some of the international schools. We want to convey the message that we mean business. We don't want them to think that there will be a sectarian approach or any sort of regionalism. Telangana is now a reality and it is time to move on. At the end of the day, it was a task we had set out to achieve and we have achieved it. What was considered a mission impossible is now possible.
Q. What makes you think that the industry is keen to invest in the region?
A. In one of my recent meetings with the chairman of a leading Indian IT company, he told why he was keen to expand here. He said Hyderabad had three times more infrastructure than Bangalore and the cost of doing business was one-third of Bangalore. Similarly, Chennai had half the infrastructure of Hyderabad but the cost of doing business was double. This shows that Hyderabad is still a great place to invest. The only missing thing was political and economic stability. This is what we will provide for the industry. I had recently met people from top five companies in the IT sector and all of them are keen expand their operations here. All that they were seeking was uninterrupted power supply and a supportive government.
Q. How does the government propose to solve urgent issues like the status of GO 53 on power, completion of water projects and state tax issues?
A. There are a lot of inter-state issues about which the industry is worried. For instance, VAT. We believe that we can sit and talk to our neighbouring state, who are our Telugu brothers... We hope that Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu, being a wise man, will certainly want to talk and resolve issues in an amicable manner.