With just three days remaining for the government’s ambitious event — Global Investors' Summit (GIS) — to begin in Indore, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was on Monday seen extremely busy at his official residence at Shyamala Hills getting feedback from officials about arrangements and preparations.
Chouhan, while talking to HT, feels GIS’s success is amply reflected in the fact that ambassadors and high commissioners of as many as 28 countries to India will take part in the event and that this has never happened before. Excerpts:
Of late the state government seems to have put in everything to make the GIS a huge success. What is the yardstick of success?
Madhya Pradesh was a BIMARU state. But government’s effort in building infrastructure and branding the state has started yielding results. In the past two years since the previous GIS, the state has seen investments worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore. This was during the period when the country witnessed a policy paralysis and investors were moving out of the country. Another success is the consent of ambassadors and high commissioners of as many as 28 countries to attend the summit. Further, we had to close the registration three days before the event given number of participants shooting up and space constraint at the venue. Madhya Pradesh has become an ideal destination for investment globally. This is why following the 'Make in India' slogan of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we want the investors to invest for 'Make in Madhya Pradesh'.
How do ambassadors fit your scheme of things in context of GIS?
Ambassadors are key persons of foreign countries not from the point of view of investments only. They also create an opinion about the state and the country. I hope, after GIS, they would proactively play their role. Once they are convinced that MP is an ideal destination for investments they would ask the companies in their respective countries to invest here. Thus in a way the ambassadors would become our brand ambassadors in their respective countries.
A couple of years back, you went to China and were highly impressed to see infrastructure raised in Shanghai. You talked of getting the best of the system implemented here. But investors here still face a lot of problems with the first and foremost being poor air connectivity. When will Madhya Pradesh see a China model?
We are not going to exactly implement a Chinese model. Whatever good we see anywhere we would like to implement here. We also have our specialties like a single window clearance system and a pro-industry policy. We are raising our infrastructure and at the same time branding the state too. We are going to set up 27 new industrial centres. These would give a boost to the development.
Unlike the previous summits, this time there is no focus on memoranda of understandings (MoUs)? Any specific reason for the same?
GIS is a forum for branding the state and showcasing its policies, facilities and infrastructure to possible investors. When we focused on MoUs in the past we were confined to MoUs only. Hence, the investors are now free to take their own time to understand every aspect of the state and then come here with investment.
You have been talking of making Madhya Pradesh the no. 1 state in the country. Have you fixed any target for investment in the state and explored the areas in which MP has the potential to grow?
My only target is how to fulfil my seven resolutions that I took several years ago which include agriculture, women empowerment, infrastructure, industrial development, good governance, health and education. Thus, industrial sector happens to be just one of these. This (GIS) attracts attention because people from across the world would be attending the meet. I will be successful only when I am able to strike a balance among these seven areas. In fact, I want to create such an environment where people can enjoy their life and also meet not only their physical requirements like food, clothes etc but also use their wisdom and creativity to meet the requirement of their 'mann, buddhi aur atma'.
What is your fair assessment about development of Madhya Pradesh on the country’s map?
There can be different yardsticks to judge the same. However, in terms of growth rate MP is no. 1 state with 11.08% growth rate. Our agriculture growth rate is 24.99%. People in the entire country say MP has done wonders. But there are still areas like IMR, MMR, per capita income, health and education etc in which though situation has improved vastly, there is a lot to be done.
Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would inaugurate the summit. But there was confusion and speculations on his visit earlier. Any comment?
There was no confusion. I met and invited him. It is natural that he would not accept the invite the very first day. In fact he said to me, "Shivraj ji, meri puri ichchha aane ki hai par mai jara apne programme dekh lun." There was nothing unusual in it. Whenever I get some invite I also need some time to think over the same. I cannot help if people create confusion and speculate.
What does Modi’s presence in the summit mean to you and how MP is going to benefit from his presence?
Modiji is a global leader. The entire world is impressed by his abilities whether it’s the US, China or Japan. Now, as I have heard Putin is also set to visit India. Hence, a global leader’s presence in a global meet would definitely make a difference.
On the one hand you are inviting investment to the state and offering various facilities to the investors, and on the other the existing industrial areas in the state lack infrastructure and are grappling with several problems. Don’t you see a dichotomy?
One of their problems is regarding infrastructure like drainage system etc. The old government (Congress) didn’t do anything. But we have earmarked Rs 700 crore for infrastructure development. Rs 300 crore worth tenders have already been floated. Also, my focus is not only on big investments. I also want to create conducive atmosphere here for the medium and small scale industries. On October 8 we would discuss the problems of the medium and small industries only.
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