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MP: Investments trickle but hopes run high

A red carpet welcome will be rolled out for prospective investors at the global investors summit (GIS) 2016 — fifth in a decade — in Indore on October 22.

indore Updated: Sep 10, 2016 11:56 IST
global investors summit
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during signing of an MoU during the Global Investors Meet in 2012. (HT File photo)

A red carpet welcome will be rolled out for prospective investors at the global investors summit (GIS) 2016 — fifth in a decade — in Indore on October 22.

Though the state has gained from several commitments, noticeably in the power sector, nearly 23% of the memoranda of understanding (MoUs) signed till date have been cancelled.

Of 2,357 MoUs signed in the four summits, 537 have been cancelled whereas, of Rs 7.37 lakh crore committed since 2012, about Rs 3.82 lakh crore has materialised, according to official data.

While the government attributed some of these cancellations — especially in the mining sector — to lack of environmental clearances, experts feel most of them were either not serious or not capable enough to set up shop in the state.

However, state chief secretary Anthony DeSa stressed that focus should be on the actual investment, saying the inflow has been very encouraging in the past few years.

Industrialists, on the other hand, called for an overhaul of the government machinery.

“Many investors only come to attend the event as a VIP guest,” Pithampur industry association president Gautam Kothari said. “A look at their company’s turnover will show that it does not match the amount they have pledged to invest.”

Delay in clearances and permissions also resulted in cancellation of agreements, Kothari noted, adding, “The ground realities in terms of industrial infrastructure should match the promises made to investors at the time of signing of agreement.”

Taking cognisance of the controversy arising out of cancelled MoUs in the past, the state government has decided to screen registrations more diligently this year. “We have confirmed only 1,500 registrations out of 3,500 registrations made so far,” a senior official of the industry department said.

Moreover, investment from foreign investors has been next to nil. The GIS 2014 was ‘global’ only in name and its flavour was overwhelmingly domestic.

Although delegates from different countries did take part in the summit, most went away without committing anything and it was mostly domestic investors who dominated the show. The same is true for other meets held since 2007.

The lack of global connectivity is also an issue. Even though Indore and Bhopal claim to have international airports, there are no foreign flights from here.

For foreign investors and envoys, Madhya Pradesh is still an unknown state and most of them came to understand the place and the possibilities that exist here.

On the flip side, industry leaders had praised the state government after GIS 2014 for making investment possible at a time when an uncertain economic scenario prevailed over the world.

The state government has clearly gained from some of the agreements in the power sector that it inked during the 2007 summit in Indore. Madhya Pradesh is now power surplus and sells electricity to other states.

While the quantum of investment that the state will attract during GIS 2016 is anybody’s guess, the state government is hopeful of improving its record of project implementation this year.