Looking at Uttar Pradesh as a serious investment destination, a 39-member US-India Business Council (USIBC) delegation came calling to the state capital on Wednesday and put their heads together with those at the helm of affairs in the corridors of power here to bounce off ideas and explore prospects of putting their money on India's most populous state which has the potential to become an economic powerhouse.
It was the first-ever visit to the state by such a large American team or for that matter any foreign business entourage.
Finding a platform to exchange views on the investment climate in UP at the business summit 'Destination Uttar Pradesh - Investing in Future', the delegates focused on sectors like agri-food processing, manufacturing, infrastructure, information technology, skills development, defence, heavy metal and healthcare. The first-of-its kind event by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and USIBC turned the spotlight on the critical need for capital and technology to tap the unlimited potential of the state.
Prescribing a strong growth pill, Ajay Banga, chairman of the USIBC, said infrastructure would play a crucial role in UP's economic development and suggested that 1-2 million jobs be created to ensure development in the state. Speaking at the summit, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav invited US entrepreneurs to invest here and assured all support to bring about an economic change in UP. He said, "Uttar Pradesh has 11% of India's purchasing power and helps investors connect to 60% of India's rural market. In rural UP, a revolution is waiting to happen." Inviting US companies to invest in the defence, heavy engineering and automobile sectors, he said the average growth rate of the state was 6%, making it one of the five best performing states in the country.
Describing the meet as a landmark in the history of the state, Yadav said investors should do regular follow-ups to ensure things materialised after discussions were over. He said the state needed investment in several sectors, especially in food and technology, so that no one went hungry. "Let me know what you require, so that issues can be resolved. I look forward to learning from you and will welcome the feedback on the deliberations," said Yadav. The state had an environment in which companies could invest, he added.
Chief secretary Jawed Usmani said investment worth $4.2 billion was proposed on various highway projects in the state.