AP Minister:

The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (4th from left), recently visited the U.S. for a business roundtable event. (Embassy of India photo)

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy cites a strong U.S. partnership as a critical element in Andhra Pradesh's future growth, the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C., noted in an Aug. 16 news release following a business roundtable with the minister.

The U.S.-India Business Council and the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center held an exclusive business roundtable discussion in the nation’s capital Aug. 16 with Reddy.

This exclusive business roundtable in collaboration with Georgetown University focused on opportunities to strengthen connectivity between United States and Andhra Pradesh and laid the foundation for investment and trade opportunities between Andhra Pradesh and United States, according to the embassy release.

Ambassador of India to the United States Harsh V. Shringla set the context for the engaging discussions and introduced the chief minister and his vision to an audience comprising of leading business houses, educational institutions and think tanks, the release said.

Leading companies were upbeat on Andhra Pradesh's promise of rapid economic growth and appreciated Reddy's impressive mandate for unlocking the expansive growth potential of Andhra Pradesh, it said.

With a strong mandate from the people of Andhra Pradesh, Reddy will have an opportunity to usher in an era of inclusive growth, rapid development and strategic leadership for Andhra Pradesh, according to the embassy.

Speaking at the roundtable, Reddy complimented the USIBC for working with the government of India to identify the “five big ideas” that will catalyze the U.S.-India Economic Partnership and welcomed the USIBC to work with government of Andhra Pradesh to also identify five big ideas to catalyze the U.S.-Andhra Pradesh Economic Partnership, the release noted. 

“Andhra Pradesh is poised to catalyze investments, capital and partnerships owing to robust infrastructure for connectivity, enabling policies, integration with global value chains, shifting demographic dividend and a ready work force,” Reddy said. 

The Indian minister added that the government of Andhra Pradesh and USIBC can prepare a roadmap to achieve investment and trade targets especially in the areas of agriculture and food security, healthcare, education, infrastructure and manufacturing.

He also welcomed U.S companies to expand meaningfully their CSR activities in India, the embassy noted. 

The chief minister is also committed to strengthen the human, physical, natural and financial resources, though the launch of several programs based on a four-pronged approach towards transformational governance. 

The state, under his leadership, will provide stability and predictability, political will, transparent policies, strategic direction and governance, which will attract investments and capital to the state of Andhra Pradesh, according to the embassy.

Speaking to global investors, Reddy laid his emphasis on delivery of corruption free governance, bringing transparency in procurement and contract management and providing investor-friendly experience through one-stop handholding of investors across the implementation lifecycle, it added.

Reddy renewed focus on the economy includes improving productivity, bringing value addition and innovation in the agriculture sector, doubling the manufacturing growth, enhancing trade through strong infrastructure - ports, airports, and industrial corridors, providing universal health care, ensuring education for all, building a pool of skilled workforce, decentralized people-centric governance – village secretariat and volunteers, building a transparent government procurement system, and facilitating low cost of doing business, the release said.

IANS adds from Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is reportedly in the U.S. for a personal visit until Aug. 24 to admit his daughter to a university.

His younger daughter Harishini Reddy will be pursuing an undergraduate course at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana. His elder daughter Varsha Reddy is studying at the London School of Economics.

According to an official release, Reddy's travel with his family members is strictly personal and the entire cost of travel and stay is being borne by the chief minister from his personal finances.

However, taking advantage of his presence in the U.S., he planned to meet U.S. officials, entrepreneurs, and Indian Americans in Washington, DC, Dallas, and Chicago.

In a related event, Reddy's alleged refusal to light a lamp at an event in Dallas kicked up a row with the Bharatiya Janata Party alleging that he insulted Hindus, but the YSR Congress Party denied the allegation.

BJP leaders posted a video of the event alleging that he refused to light the lamp.

"He just fooled AP Hindus for votes, by visiting temples. He was a Hindu for votes, like RaGa," tweeted BJP's state unit in an obvious reference to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's temple visits.

BJP's national secretary and co-in-charge of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh Sunil Deodhar too demanded an explanation from Reddy.

"Why did Jagan Mohan Reddy refuse to light a lamp before inauguration of a program? He must answer," tweeted Deodhar.

Rajya Sabha member C.M. Ramesh, who recently quit the Telugu Desam Party to join the BJP, too took to Twitter to comment that Reddy's action was definitely an insult to Hindus.

"It becomes clear that on the eve of elections he ran around temples for the sake of votes," said Ramesh.

YSRCP spokesperson Ambati Rambabu said a needless controversy was created.

"It was the basic norm in that country to use electronic lighting and the illumination is not done manually due to fire safety measures in place, more so in an auditorium," he said.

He alleged the issue was raked up and was blown out of proportion by TDP and BJP and others who crossed over from TDP to BJP.

Reddy, though a Christian by faith, also visits Hindu temples and participates in Hindu religious ceremonies.

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