Noted industrialists, economists and management experts will be arriving in Patna on Saturday to participate in the first meeting of the high profile Bihar State Industrial Investment and Advisory Council (BSIIAC). They are to mull over strategies to fast-track industrial growth and investments in the state.
Headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar, the council is the second determined effort of the government to draw on the experience of national level personalities, who have not only been able to leave an indelible imprint in their respective domains, but also are in a position to suggest the route and necessary course correction, if need be, to achieve targetoriented growth.
The BSIIAC, in its earlier avatar as the Bihar Development and Investment Council in 2006, was a great let down. Despite having several important luminaries on board, the council failed to find time to complete the task of drawing a road map after its maiden meeting in April 2007.
Some members of the first council had been of the view, that industrialisation cannot be boosted unless it was rested on the bedrock of a strong franchise of domestic players. However, a section of local entrepreneurs have come to believe, that the powers that be saw the endorsement of this view by industry leaders due to their feedback from local entrepreneurs. Interestingly, the then chairman of Investment Council, Ratan Tata, had also endorsed such a view.
It is probably due to this realisation that has led to the exclusion of the representation of local trade and industry bodies now - a cause for concern for domestic players. Many of them are apprehensive, that they might be left out completely in the industrialsation drive, once the cash rich companies open their purse strings.
No wonder, Bihar Industries Association president KPS Keshri shot off a letter to the chief minister recently, saying that the decision to exclude local private sector players and institutions, which had two representatives on the previous council, was not only discouraging but also detrimental to the larger cause.
"The two-way discussion between local representatives and national level industry leaders play a vital role in exchange of views in crystallising a concrete programme that is also rooted in reality," he said, adding "as a committed stakeholder in Bihar's economic and industrial development, the association is ready to extend support to the council as and when required."
The government, it seems, has done its homework this time. Determined to get the perfect mantra to accelerate industrial growth and increasing investment flows in various sectors, besides creating employment opportunities, it has decided to follow up this meeting with another one in Mumbai.
And yet doubts persist over end results, as the entire country is not only facing inflationary pressures but also witnessing a contraction in the spending on expansion by private sector on the back of an economic slowdown.