Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) director general Chandrajit Banerjee, who is in Indore to take part in the global investors meet, spoke to HT on various issues such as state’s economic and industrial development, implementation of agreements, ban on Chinese goods etc. Here are excerpts:
How do you look at MP’s economic development over the last 10 years?
I think probably at this point of time there is no other state which can claim to have done so much in the last 10 years as far as job creation is concerned. Madhya Pradesh was once a Bimaru state and from there to come to a position where it is today and the attention it evokes at both domestic and international levels is phenomenal. It is a sustained political will which has led to this economic turnaround.
Still, more than 70% of state population depends on agriculture for livelihood, so what more the government can do to accelerate industrial development?
The manufacturing industry must grow at more than 10% year on year. The state faces the challenge of migration from rural to urban areas for which the government needs improve infrastructure in cities because that is where the investment will come. But what is going to be important is the rural sector. The basic issue is -- how we create both agriculture and non-agriculture incomes in rural regions for creating income opportunities for rural people to slow down the migration. In a nutshell, it means rural connectivity which will help in expanding the rural economy.
One of the allegations that the state government faces is the very low rate of translation of agreements signed during the investment summits into reality. What’s your take?
If a state-wise comparison is made, other states’ numbers are not quite different from those of Madhya Pradesh. What matters is the intent which is important. Some of agreements take a lot of time to actually fructify. There is a process after which the actual investment comes on the ground. The second important issue today is fresh investments -- both domestic and international – which are taking time to come by. But in MP, over the last few months companies are waiting to invest money. So the translation of some of these agreements into reality will happen over time but we are witnessing a good trend in automotive, defence and engineering sectors.
There has been a demand for ban on Chinese goods and entry of Chinese companies. What’s the CII’s position?
The Chinese investment is good and we should be happy about it as it promotes local manufacturing companies and generates jobs. But its (China’s) overcapacity is a threat to India and many other countries. It is a nationwide problem and we need to deal with it. Many sectors are extremely disturbed at import of goods from Chinese which come at a very low price.