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A reboot for UP’s investment mission

The Yogi regime has ramped up efforts to woo entrepreneurs on a large scale and has already signed 270 MoUs, generating hope of positive economic change as the same party is in power in UP and at the Centre after almost three decades. HT takes a look at various facets of the investment scenario in the state ahead of the UP Investors’ Summit.

lucknow Updated: Feb 12, 2018 13:37 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,UP investment mission,Investor's summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the two-day summit in Lucknow on February 21.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT Photo)

The UP Investors’ Summit will give the Yogi Adityanath government a platform to refurbish the state’s image as a business friendly destination and attract huge investment to create more jobs for the youth, senior government functionaries say.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the two-day summit in Lucknow on February 21.

UP’s industry minister Satish Mahana says: “I have been in politics for 27 years. I have not seen such a large-scale effort to attract investment in the past.”

Giving a context to the event, Mahana says: “No serious efforts were made to attract investment during the previous regimes. A sum of only Rs 80,000 crore has been invested in the state in the past 15 years. We have so far organised six road shows ahead of the summit. The previous government passed of such road shows as the summit to attract investors.”

Indeed, this is the first such major attempt by chief minister Yogi Adityanath to show his government’s investment-friendly face ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Little wonder, the event is being billed as an attempt to bring UP back on the path of development. Over the years, UP has been categorised as a ‘BIMARU’ state despite having 16.5% of the country’s population, 7.3% of the area and having elected nine Prime Ministers from Jawahar Lal Nehru to Narendra Modi.

Although successive governments have announced incentives to attract investment in the past, they have failed to improve the situation in the state.

Apparently, major investors have kept away from the state in view of the poor law and order situation.

The rush to woo investors is in sharp contrast to the political mood in the pre-globalisation period when the political leadership maintained a distance from the industry to project a people-friendly face.

In the post globalisation period too, investors preferred the National Capital Region (NCR) and some shifted to other states, claiming better facilities there or blaming the red-tape or corruption.

During the Congress government’s tenure till 1989, the then chief minister Narain Dutt Tiwari conceptualised many development projects. At that time, there were Congress governments both in the state and at the Centre. The situation is now similar with the BJP being at the helm in both Lucknow and New Delhi.

After Tiwari’s tenture, the first organised effort to attract investment was made when Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, he took over as chief minister in 2003.

During his regime, the much hyped Uttar Pradesh Development Council, comprising leading industrialists, had attracted nationwide attention and a number of major projects were proposed for the state’s development. The Mulayam Singh Yadav government claimed that the UPDC attracted investment of Rs 33,000 crore. Yet, the mega Dadri power project was caught in a controversy over land acquisition issues and subsequently shelved; so were many other projects.

The Uttar Pradesh Development Council was scrapped once the Mayawati led BSP government assumed office after 2007 assembly elections. The BSP government also ordered closure of Reliance Fresh Stores that were coming up in major cities of the state.

The Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party government aimed for 11.2% industrial growth in its Infrastructure and Industrial Investment Policy-2012.

The Akhilesh Yadav government hosted a global investors’ summit and held interactions and conventions with film-makers and industry lobby groups. His government also tried to woo foreign investors. Yadav, in collaboration with other organisations, launched the Silicon Valley and Avadh Development of Entrepreneurial Services for Humanity (SVADESH) on December 21, 2014 to attract foreign investment.

Yadav had a video conference with Oakland (California) mayor Libby Schaaf and many of those who attended the launch promised to bring investment.

His moves to launch mega infrastructure projects like the access controlled greenfield Agra-Lucknow Expressway on the public private partnership (PPP) model, however, failed to attract investors. His government had to subsequently mobilise funds to get the CM’s dream project, the Agra-Lucknow expressway, implemented on the EPC model. Yadav also conceptualised the Poorvanchal Expressway and brought the Metro Rail to Lucknow. His government, however, failed to achieve the industrial growth rate targets. An estimated investment of about Rs 6452.18 crore was made against proposed investment of about Rs 50,793.79 crore up to March 31, 2016.

Although some more investment was made in 2017, the state remained far behind the target.

This was considerably lower than the investment of Rs 35000.72 crore made from 2007 to 2012 against target of Rs 84140.33 crore.

Efforts to attract investment got a reboot with the Yogi government organising six roadshows in the run-up to the summit. These roadshows include the one in Mumbai that Yogi attended to ensure the presence of who’s who of the industry.

The state government claims to have worked on 371 points for ‘ease of doing business’, and 270 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) have been already signed. These MoUs will be exchanged at the summit.

The state government also claims to have got proposals for investment of Rs 2.53 lakh crore and 22 sessions have been planned for a close interaction with different groups of investors at the summit.

Infrastructure and industrial development commissioner Anoop Chandra Pandey says he will try to ensure that all the MoUs signed now are implemented in the next six months. “With this investment, we hope to create 25 lakh direct jobs in the state,” says Pandey.

To give a strong message that UP is a safe destination for investors, the state police have launched a drive against criminals. The state government is in the process of enacting a new law to check organised crime. The chief minister moved Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill during the winter session of the state legislature. The bill has been strongly resisted by the opposition but is likely to be passed during the ongoing budget session of the state legislature that commenced here on February 8.

Leading industrialists, including Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani, Adani Group chief Gautam Adani, Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, GMR group’s GM Rao, Tata Group chairman N Chandrashekharan and CEOs of leading companies, 20 union ministers and foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the summit.

First Published: Feb 12, 2018 13:37 IST