Amid criticism of the MP government by the Opposition on Global Investors Summit (GIS), the new industry minister, Rajendra Shukla, faces a major challenge to pursue prospective investors to invest in Madhya Pradesh and walk the talk. A minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet for years, Shukla got this portfolio four months ago.
The minister exuded confidence that the perception was fast changing about the state and the ensuing GIS would strengthen the brand Madhya Pradesh. Excerpts of interview:
How different will be GIS in Indore this time?
This time we are going to focus on nine sectors which include agribusiness and food processing, automobile and engineering, defense, IT, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, textile, tourism and urban development. This happens to be a new theme. Again we are not going to focus on MoUs, but intent to invest.
Why should an industrialist invest in Madhya Pradesh when there are several states which are better placed?
Madhya Pradesh has investor-friendly policies and political stability. We have a huge land, availability of labourers, good law and order situation. MP stands on the fifth position in ease of doing business. We will strive hard to make the state number 1 in the coming time.
Don’t you think the summits have been loud on talks but low on actual investments?
I don’t think so. A number of investments have taken place. We are going to present a report too during the meet on the actual investments made after the 2014 global investors meet. We have got such a conducive atmosphere that once an industrialist comes to Madhya Pradesh, he doesn’t leave the state and expands his business. Vardhman and Eicher Motors are the best examples. Improving the industrial scenario has led to the perception among investors that MP is the fastest growing state and the best investment destination.
Single-window system turned out to be a multi-window system which has invited criticism from many. What do you say?
We will fine-tune the system so that the MP Trade and Investment Facilitation Corporation (TRIFAC) can monitor the process. There will be time bound disposal of applications. A software will be installed to monitor movement of files. Nobody will retain any file with him without any genuine reason beyond the days specified for specific works.
Want of good air connectivity is said to be a major hurdle in the way of investment to the state. How are you going to resolve the issue?
This is true that we need good air connectivity. But we are vigorously working in the direction. We already had a private firm-operated intra-state air service which was discontinued about two years ago due to some reasons. But again we are going to put in place an intra-state air service. Tenders have been floated and most probably we will have the service after a month or so.
What do you think is the major challenge before you as far as the investment to the state is concerned?
The major challenge is how to contact and pursue industrialists after the meet. We have to convince them that if they invest here, they will get better facilities than other states. Electricity is a major factor in running of any industry. We have surplus power to such an extent that even if we don’t generate an additional single unit of power, we will have power for the next 25 to 30 years. We have signed an MoU for skill development.
Existing industrial centres are facing several problems. How can you convince investors in such a situation?
We have earmarked a budget for the same. For instance, industries came to Peethampur in large numbers and it resulted in plummeting of water levels. We are trying to resolve the issue. In Dewas too we are trying to address the issues.
There is a perception among experts and industrialists that bureaucracy’s attitude and red-tapism is one of the biggest hurdles. What is your take?
Bureaucracy is working under the control of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and it is doing well.