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AP Govt needs to be wary of its signals to investors: Singapore Minister

Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said the new Andhra Pradesh government is reviewing the master plan for capital city Amaravati, which was developed by a Singapore-based consortium, and it must be given time for doing so.
 
At the question-answer round of the India, Singapore: The Next Phase of Strategic Partnership session, international lawyer Tommy Kooh asked “whether the much-touted Amaravati project was dead?"
 
After Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated in 2014, the then ruling Telugu Desam Party zeroed in on Krishna and Guntur districts for the state capital, naming it Amaravati, as the former state capital was part of newly formed Telangana. However, five years on, Amaravati city is yet to be formally notified.
 
Amaravati still remains a cluster of 25 revenue villages even as dark clouds loom over the capital city’s development.
Responding to Kooh, Balakrishnan said, “There is a new state government in Andhra Pradesh, formed on May 30. All governments are entitled to review their plans. The Singapore consortium companies have informed me that they will wait for the decisions of the new Andhra government.”
 
In 2014, the then Andhra government had sought Singapore's help in creating the master plan for Amaravati. A consortium of Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp corporation was awarded through a competitive Swiss challenge to form a joint venture with the Andhra government to master develop the capital using green and sustainable solutions.
 
Balakrishnan, an Indian-origin leader in Singapore, clarified that no Singapore government grants or subsidies were made for the Amaravati project, calling it a complete “private sector, a commercial decision”.
 
On the delay in finalisation of the project, the minister said, “In all commercial activities, political and regulatory risks need to be taken into account. It is also the prerogative of the local governments to adjust their plans and priorities from time to time. I would also submit that governments need to consider the signal they send to investors.” 
 
In case of Singapore, “we remained a highly competitive economy because we have provided for the long-term a stable and predictable environment for investors both local and foreign. Let’s give time to the new government in Andhra on the Amaravati capital city project.”

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