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A staggering sum of nearly Rs 12,000 crore "invested" in setting up new industries in Andhra Pradesh has seemingly "vanished" in 21 days, thanks to the manner in which the Information and PR department sought to project the strides being made by the state through three separate press notes riddled with discrepancies. Apart from this, a prospective industrial investment of Rs one lakh crore that was to come into the state has also supposedly been lost in the same period, if one goes by the figures put out by the 'Research and Reference Wing' of the state Information and PR Department. "Currently, industries have started in the state with an investment of Rs 59,000 crore. While production has commenced in some of these industries, others are on a trial run," the I&PR Department had said in a September 26 press release issued in the name of its Commissioner. The same Research and Reference Wing issued another press note on October 16 with no change in the wording, but showing the sum invested as Rs 47,680 crore. Even the figure Rs 47,680 crore appears to be inaccurate as the note said that Rs 43,660 crore has already been "invested" while another Rs 2,850 crore "will be invested", making it a total of only Rs 46,510 crore. In that case, the "vanished" amount would be Rs 12,490 crore.
The Information and PR Department has offered no explanation over such huge variation in the investment figures as it quietly sought to push the "success story" afresh on October 16.
No specific numbers were given in respect of the industries already opened and those in the process of being opened.
When contacted, I&PR Commissioner S Venkateswar, an Indian Information Service officer on deputation, said his staff was taking the information from the Chief Minister's CORE Dashboard, which provides data from all departments.
"The Joint Director who used to oversee the press releases retired recently. I will now take steps to ensure such discrepancies do not crop up again," the Commissioner told PTI.
The state is also supposed to have 'lost' an investment of Rs one lakh crore in the three-week period as the I&PR note on October 16 said "industries worth Rs two lakh crore are yet to be started" whereas the September 26 release had put the figure at Rs three lakh crore.
Again, there is no explanation on this discrepancy.
The two press notes said 1.40 lakh jobs were already provided while another six lakh would be created when investments in the pipeline materialised and production began. That would be a total of 7.40 lakh jobs.
The notes, however, said eight lakh direct jobs and "twice as many" indirect jobs would be created if total investments happened, meaning a total of 24 lakh jobs.
Interestingly, one more note was released on October 3 in which it was claimed that the government targeted to create 28,25,000 jobs by attracting an aggregate investment of Rs 3,17,000 crore in ten sectors under the Industrial Policy 2015-20, including 10 lakh jobs in the industrial sector with an investment of Rs two lakh crore. It gave a split-up of the number of jobs to be created in different sectors but it totals only 20.7 lakh, leaving a huge gap of 7.55 lakh. The October 3 note also made a separate mention about the 331 Memoranda of Understanding signed with national and international companies during the three-day Partnership Summit-2016 in Visakhapatnam early this year. "Through these agreements, in future, there is scope for setting up of industries with an investment of Rs 4.78 lakh crore and creating 10 lakh jobs," the note said, leaving the question if these 10 lakh jobs were within the "targeted" 28.25 lakh jobs or would be in addition.