At the time of bifurcation of the state in 2014, one prospect which really worried Andhrites besides losing out Hyderabad, is on the job prospects for the younger generation. How would a nascent state, which had no industry or service cluster of any repute, create jobs for its 5 crore citizens? Will Andhrites be back to their old habit of moving to other states in search of jobs ?
After all, we had to depend on Chennai till the early nineties and on Bangalore during the last 10 years. If united AP’s only job creating city, Hyderabad, was lost again, where will people of the 13 district Seemandhra go, was the question on top of everyone’s mind.
For the new government of Chandrababu Naidu, this was truly a test. Actually much more serious in nature than building Amaravati or getting central funds for other projects. When Babu took over in 2014, the job creation scenario was bleak and did not offer any great options.
Look at the scenario here.
- IT and software industries were slowing down and were not likely to create any new jobs in big numbers.
- Even if they turned around and started creating jobs, no Andhra city can realistically expect to compete with established centres like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune etc
- Manufacturing in the whole country was slowing down. Major manufacturing sectors like Auto etc were already well entrenched in a few pockets like Chennai, Pune, NCR and Gujarat.
- Indian exports were continuously falling every month as global trade itself was in a recession.
So what was left for Andhra to create ? This indeed was a serious challenge. And the way Andhra moved with imagination and purpose on this front is worth applauding. This is the summary.
- Andhra was quick to understand the strategic importance of Sri city in Chittor district. Though it would be hyperbole to credit Naidu with the emergence of Sri City, he can at least be appreciated for having understood its importance and move quickly to take advantage of it.
- Isuzu’s plant in Sri City opened a narrow opportunity to AP as that was Andhra’s lone presence in the auto sector. Naidu quickly wooed Hero motors. Now with two big names and a world class Krishnapatnam port in the vicinity, Andhra is seriously in competition for future auto investments. If AP could bag Kia motors plant, it would safely place Andhra on the auto map which hitherto was confined to TN, Maha, Gujarat and NCR.
- Naidu was quick to cash on Nokia’s troubles in Chennai and wooed Foxconn to Sri city. Today Foxconn’s mobile manufacturing unit in Sri city employees close to 10,000 people. There is also another mini mobile manufacturing cluster building up near Tirupati.
- AP is also making serious efforts to get defense manufacturing to Vizag. Though these proposals will take time to materialise, AP has been successful in placing Vizag on the map as a potential contender. Some central government defense investments in Rambilli near Vizag are already in the works. Read here on Rambilli Naval base
- AP has also quietly made significant progress in marine exports. Today AP exports almost 13-15,000 crs worth sea food and this number is likely to double in 2-3 years with Vizag container export infrastructure expanding rapidly. The best thing about Marine exports is that the number of jobs created per every million dollar turnover is more than even software exports.
- AP has also been creating jobs in the renewable energy sector. AP made terrific progress here.
- News of Andhra hosting the country’s first Textile city will make headlines very shortly. Combined with serious efforts to lure leather exporters from TN to set shop in AP, two of most labour intensive sectors, Leather and Textiles, will bring many jobs to Andhra.
Most of the jobs thus being created are away from the glare of popular media as media usually does not have an eye for details. Most of the above sectors are not glamorous like say software. So popular media which covers Apple’s Hyderabad centre with great detail even though it creates less than a thousand jobs would be at loss to understand how many jobs have actually been created in the marine and horticulture sectors in AP in the last 2 years. And many would be surprised to know that when AP’s marine exports touch 30,000 crs in 3-4 years time, the number of people getting employment will be very similar to the 75,000 crs software industry of Hyderabad.
I have still not touched upon the number of direct and indirect jobs that will be created when a green field city like Amaravati rises from scratch. The number of civil engineers, construction professionals and people of many small trades that will be required to erect the city will be humongous. When 50,000 government employees along with some 50,000 private sector employees ( and another 2 lakh unorganized workers) shift to Amaravati in the next 2-3 years and start looking to buy monthly provisions, vegetables, cars , 2- wheelers, cable TV connections, houses, clothes and a whole lot more, a whole job generating economy will explode which will be a real treat to watch for any serious Andhra fan.
It is clear that Andhra will create enough jobs in due course that will help Andhrites stay in their own state. But if one is only focussed on Infosys, Apple or Accenture, then it is quite likely that he will have to move to a neighbouring state.
College going kids and job seekers — its time to start calibrating your employment compass and get out of the software rut !!