BREAKING NEWS

Peek Into History: Post-independence era Growth of the Telugu Land - Part 2

(This article is part 2 of The Better Andhra’s ‘History Series’ on post-independence development in Andhra Pradesh)
 
In 1972, The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), an international organisation which conducts agricultural research for rural development, set up its India headquarters in Hyderabad. It was founded in 1972 by a consortium of organisations convened by the Ford and the Rockefeller foundations. This laid the foundations for crop research in the country. Anticipating the growing agriculture market after the establishment of ICRISAT and the dire requirement for storage facilities, industry leaders suggested the government to increase the warehousing capacity in the state.
 
Home-grown agri firms crop up
 
Taking the advantage of ICRISAT’s inception in the state, Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL), which is currently said to be India’s largest hybrid seed company, was established as a part of the NSL Group by Sri Mandava Venkata Ramaiah in 1973. 
 
Realising the difficulty in transportation of goods, the members of FAPCCI in 1973 met with the Working Group, Air Cargo, Government of India and requested for a customs office in Hyderabad that would ease the hassles of exporters as they had to send their goods to Bombay, Madras or Visakhapatnam. Apart from this, industry leaders also sought the extension of railway services within the state.
 
Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh Government had set up a scooter unit called AP Scooters Ltd. in collaboration with Piaggio in 1974. They came up with Vespa PL170, when Bajaj Auto used to have long waiting lists. Once, Bajaj Auto increased its capacity, AP Scooters failed to survive. In the same year, a Telugu daily newspaper Eenadu was started in Visakhapatnam and became the largest circulated Telugu daily in the State.
 
In the 1980s, the Nagarjuna Group set up diverse industries such as Nagarjuna Steels, Nagarjuna Fertilizers, Nagarjuna Finance, Nagarjuna Construction and Nagarjuna Signode being the other companies in the group. Of these, Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Nagarjuna Construction (NCC) have survived. The Pennar Group, came up alongside the Nagarjuna Group.
 
Another industry that gained prominence during this decade was Hyderabad’s biscuits industry. (Foundations were laid for the industry when Osmania biscuits became popular in the 1920s). Often ignored, this industry also made Hyderabad the capital of biscuits for India. After a few local biscuit manufacturers set up their factories in the city during the 1980s, multinational biscuit-making companies also joined the bandwagon.
 
With the growing infrastructure demand in the city, the construction sector got a boost, following which companies like the Visakha Industries Ltd was established in 1981 for the manufacture of cement fiver sheets.
  
Humble beginnings of Hyderabad’s IT sector 
 
The early 1980s also saw the rise of a home-grown IT company Satyam Computers, which gradually grew to establish its presence as one of the first software technology companies in the Indian IT sector. The company also became the highest employer of IT talent in Hyderabad as it expanded its operations globally and created the craze for “IT jobs” in the state.
 
Another Public Sector Enterprise which was set up in the state was the Vizag Steel Plant in 1982, along with several CPSU’s such as ONGC, GAIL and others in coastal Andhra which came up around the region after the first gas discovery in the Krishna-Godavari Basin in 1983. The Krishna-Godavari Basin (KG Basin), located on the east coast of Andhra Pradesh, is one of the most promising areas for exploration and production for its oil and natural gas. It is said to be one of the largest oil/gas fields in the world.
 
Meanwhile, the Government of Andhra Pradesh in 1985 created an agency called the AP Assistance Centre for Entrepreneurs (APACE) for the issue of approvals and clearances required for starting industries. FAPCCI played a key role in working with APACE. This was also the year in Bhagyanagar India Ltd. (BIL) was founded by GM Surana, which was into copper products. 
 
During the late 1980s, the expansion of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry took place with the formation of National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research; Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (Previously called Regional Research Laboratory under CSIR); National Institute of Nutrition and The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology. 
 
Pharma’s home-grown heroes emerge
 
The proactive steps and availability of infrastructure has attracted a lot of technical talent into the industry. Large number of current MSME entrepreneurs here are technocrats who have working experience with large or medium pharma firms and Organizations. The units started in a small way and rapidly graduated to the next level Dr. Reddy’s Lab, Aurobindo Pharma, Natco, Divi’s Laboratories, Matrix, Suven Pharma, Vimta Lab, Neuland Laboratories, etc. are now internationally recognized names.
 
Moreover, other regional institutions helped its pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry grow in a better way. Standard Organics and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories were major pharma players at the time. While Standard Organics and its sister company SOL Pharmaceuticals no longer exist, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd has emerged into a pharma giant in the country through acquisitions. 
 
The presence of a massive pharma and biotech industry in the state also gave a boost to the healthcare sector. The LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) was established in 1987 in Hyderabad as a not-for-profit, non-government eye care institution.. In 1988, Apollo Hospitals was the first corporate hospital established in Hyderabad and paved the way for making the city the medical tourism hub of India.
 
The pharma sector’s presence also boosted the logistics sector. In 1989, GATI was set up for express distribution and supply chain solutions providers. Following this, several local players entered the logistics market. 
 
This period following Independence until 1990 underwent several phases of change. Industry bodies grasped the changing needs of the industry and made several representations to the government, compelling a change in policies that could reduce the hassles and boost industrial development. 
 
These policies also provided opportunities for a new generation of entrepreneurs to foray into infrastructure, IT, electronics, healthcare, logistics, hospitality and retail sectors. Therefore, this was one of the most crucial periods in the history of Andhra Pradesh as it laid strong foundations for modern industries which provided numerous employment opportunities.
 

Photo Gallery