What does your government hope to achieve through the global investors’ summit in Indore later this month? Is there an investment target for the summit?
The idea of organising global investors’ summit in Indore in October 2012 is to have an interface between the investors’ community and the investment potential of Madhya Pradesh. You know Madhya Pradesh is a fast developing economy. It is ready to measure new heights. The requisite infrastructure for industrial advancement has been put in place. The growth rate is an all-time high 12 per cent while the agriculture growth rate has touched the record 18 per cent figure.
Once known as a sick state, Madhya Pradesh has transformed itself into a developing state and will soon be counted among developed states. While we are advancing faster in the social sector, we need to maintain the same pace on economic fronts. Madhya Pradesh has immense growth potential and is an ideal destination for investors eyeing investment opportunities. The investors’ summit will be an opportunity for the participating inventors to realise the strengths of the state and chart a course of action in terms of investment planning.
However, we have not set any investment target. We would like to have investments in some priority sectors like food processing, information technology, small scale industries, manufacturing, vocational education and skill development.
What are some the recent steps taken by your government to attract both Indian and foreign investment?
First of all, we have tremendously improved infrastructure, mainly surface and air connectivity, power generation and supply, and building a land bank. Secondly, we have launched policies for all major sectors like solar power generation, wind energy, horticulture hub, mining and food processing. We have a progressive industry promotion policy which we can modify incorporating inputs from serious investors and industrial groups and their representative bodies. Incentives, concessions and special packages for industries enrich our policy.
The industries that generate job opportunities for the local population are our priority. Single-window system has been improved to facilitate the investors to complete all the paperwork and required administrative formalities. I give personal attention to them and have reserved a time slot every Monday, at Mantralaya, whenever I am available.
We have an apex high power committee in investment promotion for prompt disposal of issues. We are also organising road shows in India and abroad.
What are your plans for developing infrastructure to lure new attract investment?
You know, infrastructure building is a continuing process. We have already improved road and air connectivity and have enough funds for maintenance. Power generation situation has improved considerably with the ongoing feeder separation work. We have set 2013 as deadline for achieving self-reliance in power sector. All I can say is that we will ensure all facilities to the investors. We are deliberating on our new logistics policy.
The state faced a power deficit of 15-24 per cent in April 2012. How do you intend to tackle the power scenario to ensure the industrial sector is not impacted?
A lot of steps have been taken for quality power supply. Thermal, hydel and solar energy projects are underway. Completion of feeder separation work will ensure 24-hour power supply both in urban and rural areas. Industries will get uninterrupted power supply.
With increased priority being accorded to private participation in infrastructure development, do you foresee more projects under PPP mode?
Of course, there are some new areas that offer scope for PPP mode projects like technical education and vocational training. We intend to open polytechnics under PPP mode. Another area is tourism which, I say, is a virgin space for PPP projects.
Meanwhile, deliberations are underway to operate and manage some government hospitals on PPP basis. Sectors like road construction, power generation and renewable energy production are already having such projects.
Land acquisition for infrastructure projects is a major issue across India.
We do not have this issue as we have enough land. For industries, we have clearly demarcated land so there is no shrinkage of farmlands. We have built a land bank measuring over 20,000 hectares. In addition, 27 new industrial areas are being developed to accommodate upcomning industries. Displacement of people is a very sensitive issue. Our strategy is to minimise the chances of displacement. Therefore, the idea of building a land pool, especially for industries, will ensure there is no need for land acquisition.
What is your strategy to ensure development and environment initiatives go handin- hand?
Apart from promoting compensatory afforestation, we have asked the industries to discharge their moral duties under corporate social resistibility. We do not want development at the cost of environment. Pristine greenery is our priceless asset and we would never allow it to be threatened at any cost. We have innovative programmes like ‘Hariyali Mahotsava’ that involves the community for improving and protecting our greenery.
What is your long-term vision for Madhya Pradesh?
Madhya Pradesh is a Future State. I yearn to see a state where all have equal opportunities to grow well with economic prosperity and the capacity to script a history of how it began its journey from dark circles and entered the Bright Future— a Golden Madhya Pradesh with smiling faces. The vision can be realised only with active participation and involvement of the community. It is the government community partnership that will make the task easier.