It has been nearly two years since you took over as Chief Minister of Maharashtra. What are your achievements so far and what will be your priorities in coming months?
Since I took charge as Chief Minister of Maharashtra, I have been concentrating on creating confidence among the people, of a clean and transparent administration as well as taking (the state) on the path of accelerated development.
There are challenges in various sectors like industry, agriculture, employment, education and urban development. To keep regional balance and improve the Human Development Index are also two important things on our agenda towards which we have taken certain steps.
While Maharashtra has been India’s most developed and industrialised state, it continues to face major challenges on various fronts.
Maharashtra is facing several challenges. Sustaining high growth, by enhancing agricultural productivity through wider irrigation coverage, addressing agrarian unrest and malnutrition, meeting challenges of urbanisation and infrastructure deficit, and naxalism and terrorism are daunting tasks which are being tackled by the government.
While addressing the local problems, efforts are being made to bring global experience, innovation and investment for the development of the state. I have to handle issues ranging from the nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Konkan region to environment clearance for infrastructure projects to touching the core theme of human development for achieving inclusive growth of the state.
These issues are complex and the process to address them is difficult, considering the financial, environmental and socio-political ramifications. The expectations of the people and particularly of different political groups are very high and their demands are pressing. The approach adopted by my government to meet these expectations and demands is to take general policy decisions, which would give benefits to the community at large.
Development is crucial to the economic uplift of people but, at the same time, it is also essential development comes with a human face.
I always say, while giving emphasis on various activities, we should focus on the human face of development. We have decided to give priorities for the upliftment of the downtrodden, poor and farmers. Our priority is to enable people to move away from agriculture to agro industry, agro services and allied agriculture for economic opportunity and incomes. We want to engage aggressively in capacity building through universal access to education and expansion of vocational training to take industry and therefore employment to the hinterland, and improve the living conditions of the people by ensuring food security, housing, health, drinking water supply and sanitation facilities for all people through our flagship programmes.
Maharashtra’s long-held position of being the top investment attracting destination in India is being challenged by other states. Does your government have a strategy to ensure that the state maintains its leading position?
I don’t think Maharashtra’s longheld position as the top investment attracting destination in India is being challenged by other states. I am confident that we have maintained our No.1 position-we are leaders and we will be.
Maharashtra is a leader in 20 out of 26 sectors in the country and possesses a colossal potential for development in varied sectors due to widespread vital resources across different regions of the state. As a result, the state houses several investment regions.
In addition, Maharashtra is perhaps one of the premier states to launch a single window clearance service that permits both online submission and approval system through a dynamic interactive portal. These services include sector- wise and industry categories done distinctly under different central and state departments for the benefit of existing customers and plot holders along with prospective investors.
Maharashtra, the second most populous and the third largest state by area, is the richest state of India. Right from the pre-independence days, the state’s favourable economic policies have helped it to become India’s leading industrial state. Even though agriculture has been a major focus, it has made rapid strides in industrialisation as well. Over 41 per cent of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Maharashtra. Today, it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Critics claim that Maharashtra has managed to remain a top investment destination with the help of state-owned investment proposals and not by attracting more private investment.
The state contributes almost 18.4 per cent of the nation’s industrial output and 14.09 per cent of its GDP. It is one of the most investment friendly states.
Maharashtra has been the premier state in its drive to ease the process of doing business in the states. It has already championed the launch of single window clearance which permits both online submission and approval system through a dynamic interactive portal. In order to facilitate the investors further on their investment strategy, decision making, intimate knowledge about the country’s commercial climate and information on approval processes in the state, the Government of Maharashtra is working hard.
The government is also making innovations and efforts to see that the dreams are cherished, followed and fulfilled. The state welcomes all its well-wishers, entrepreneurs and dedicated executives who are willing to join in the state’s mission to be the No.1 investment destination of the country.
Most industries and upcoming investment in Maharashtra is still concentrated around the Mumbai-Pune belt. What are your government’s initiatives to encourage more industrial development in the backward regions like Vidharba?
MIHAN, the multipurpose project ( Multi-modal International Passenger and Cargo Hub Airport at Nagpur in Vidarbha region) is the largest multi-product operational SEZ in India. It is the most sustainable growth model complementing SEZ and airport and is the growth engine of Vidarbha which is far behind in industrialisation.
Some of the highlights of MIHAN are:
- Project area: 4,354 hectares (11,000 acres)
- Expected employment: 1,20,000 jobs by 2018
- Expansion of existing airport
- Second runway: 4,000×60 metres
- New terminal building: 3 million sq. ft
- Special economic zone on 2,086 hectares
It includes IT parks, health city, dedicated power plant, valueadded export units, rail and road logistics hub, international school, pharmaceuticals and food processing.
Can you tell us about the government’s textile policy?
We have announced the state’s textile policy which will boost this very important sector. The object of the policy is to lay special emphasis on raising processing units at various levels from cotton to manufacturing textiles for the assured long-term development on priority basis in the cotton producing sector, expansion of the textile industry and growth of employment in the state.
The aim of the policy is to attract a total investment of Rs.40,000 crore in the sector for the purpose of adding value to 45 lakh surplus cotton bales produced in the state. It is proposed to create 11 lakh new jobs in the sector in Maharashtra in next five years. During last three years meetings and seminars have been held at different levels and suggestions received have been considered while formulating the textile policy of the state.
What is your long-term vision for the economic, industrial and infrastructure development of Maharashtra?
Maharashtra is a land of opportunities and the potential and attractions are unlimited. Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation Ltd is the most investor friendly and state-of-the-art corporation which is eager to serve every individual investor. We have well developed industrial estates, very good network of connectivity, single window clearance mode and ease of facilitation, skilled manpower, a firm and investor friendly policy, and willpower to promote industrial culture in the state.
There is great potential in the auto and ancillary sector, construction and infrastructure, biotechnology, chemicals, food and agro, fashion designing, gems and jewellery, information technology, pharmaceuticals, textiles, entertainment and many other sectors.
Maharashtra is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. It is also one of the most industrialised and urbanised states of India. We are opening up sectors for investment in various areas and we have promising consumer markets. Also, we have made significant investment in infrastructure creation for industry.
Surging ahead, we are working on a holistic development that focuses on the state’s growth momentum, balanced regional development, reduction of agri dependency and increase in employment generation, physical and social infrastructure development, environmental conservation, and development of counter magnets to reduce migration to sustain Maharashtra’s numero uno position.
The industries department, as a part of the development approach of the new industrial Policy, has compared the other states’ industrial policies along the dimensions on policy objectives, policy targets, MSME – fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, cluster development initiatives, incentives to large units, facilitation agencies, special provisions and thrust areas, and investment and employment thresholds for mega projects.
Going ahead, the Draft New Industrial Policy is aiming to achieve 13 per cent growth rate in the next five years in manufacturing sector. The state has initiated a policy revamp to fine tune policies conducive to the current investors. Besides the new industrial policy to be launched soon, the state has revised the existing IT policy and also introduced agro processing policy. I am confident that Maharashtra will always be the most favoured destination of entrepreneurs all over the world.