What is unique that Uttar Pradesh has to offer investors? How is the state planning to lure those who already have bases in other states?
Uttar Pradesh (UP) now has a safe and secure environment for investors. The law-and-order situation in the state has significantly improved in the last nearly six years. The state has better connectivity, robust infrastructure, new sectoral policies, an online incentive management system, among others. For proactive investor connect and handholding, our government has developed a new online system called ‘Nivesh Sarathi’ for signing MoUs and monitoring their implementation, as well as the online Incentive Management System.
The state has taken several reformative steps towards creating a one-time ecosystem for industrial development through policy-driven governance by formulating about 25 policies to attract investment. We are trying to connect with those investors who already have bases in other states by promoting our new policies, ‘ease of doing business’, and ‘ease of starting business’, the easy availability of land, and incentives being provided to investors in UP.
What steps have you taken to change the old perceptions about UP for investors who in the past were averse to doing business
UP is now the best investment destination where their investment will not only be safe and secure but also fruitful. The reboot of law and order in the last five years has played a huge role in perpetuating a changed perception of the state. Before 2017, investors avoided any kind of investment in the state due to the poor law-and-order situation. Investors from the state were shutting down their industries and migrating. But now you can witness the transformation. Today, UP is crime-free, riot-free. Investors feel safe and their investments are secure in the state.
Due to the state government’s unwavering focus for the last six years on developing a robust transport and logistics infrastructure through a network of highways, expressways, railways, waterways, and airways, investors are flocking to UP—the unprecedented success of the Uttar Pradesh Global Investors Summit (UPGIS) 2023 is testimony to it.
You have promoted UP as a major destination. How confident are you that the MoUs will translate into actual investment? How many MoUs have turned into real projects on your watch?
In the ground-breaking ceremony of the UPGIS this year, the prime minister laid the foundation stone of 1,406 projects worth more than ₹80,000 crore. The state has seen the establishment of various new units in all sectors like data centres, among others. The confidence of investors regarding UP is quite evident with the flow of investments and MoUs taking shape.
Which are the major sectors that you are focusing on for investment and why?
Our major focus is on sectors like manufacturing, energy and renewable energy, sport, food processing, dairy, e-vehicles, textiles, tourism, electronics manufacturing, industrial parks, and hotels among others.
The availability of a skilled workforce is crucial for investment. The manufacturing sector needs a robust supply chain. How are you dealing with such constraints? How do you hope to manage the manpower required for these likely new projects?
Our state is home to 24 crore citizens, making it India’s largest labour and consumer market. We have the largest skilled manpower. UP has India’s largest youth population, with 72 universities and 169 industrial training institutes operating across the state. UP offers vast opportunities for skill development institutes and exchange programmes. For an investor, all these combined are going to create a great investment environment.
You undertook a Herculean task to overhaul the state as one grappling with law-and-order problems. How do you review its success?
The result of the government’s policy of zero tolerance against crime and criminals has transformed UP into one of the safest places in the country, whether for traders, businessmen, investors, women, youth, or farmers. The state is not only being referred to as the most “investor-friendly” in India but also its “law-and-order system” is being widely praised internationally, drawing foreign investors to UP.
“Our major focus is on sectors like manufacturing, energy and renewable energy, sport, food processing, dairy, e-vehicles, textiles, tourism, electronics manufacturing, industrial parks, and hotels, among others”
Share this on
What has been the progress on the Defence Industrial Corridor front?
The Defence Industrial Corridor is being developed in UP. Under this, out of six nodes, Agra, Aligarh, Kanpur, Lucknow, Jhansi and Chitrakoot, the Aligarh node has already been inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while land allotment is in progress for the other nodes. Its major allocations include BrahMos in Lucknow and Bharat Dynamics in the Jhansi node.
There are still places, particularly in rural UP, where basic infrastructure like power is scarce. How long will it take for the benefits of investments in the state to filter down to these places?
Well, the power deficit in UP is the lowest among big states. In UP, electrified rural households receive 18 hours of electricity daily. Tehsil towns and Bundelkhand receive over 20 hours of electricity daily while district headquarters and cities receive electricity throughout the day. Through these investments, our priority is to provide employment opportunities to people in rural areas. The Purvanchal and Bundelkhand areas (known as the most backward areas) have received significant investment which is certainly going to benefit the people.
Has the rate of improvement in social indices been satisfactory?
Our government works on the policy of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. We are constantly working towards improving the livelihoods of people, connecting them with employment. We are ensuring that no one is left behind in economic and social development.
Update us on your endeavours to attract Big Tech to set up shop in the state.
As I have informed you earlier, to attract such tech giants we have made several policy reforms. We are already providing an investment-friendly atmosphere and UP has the best connectivity. There is a very visible improvement in the road infrastructure. There has been an overall improvement in the law-and-order situation in UP.
How do you see meeting the goals and deadlines for enabling India to become a $5-trillion economy?
UP has set fixed goals for itself. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced his ambition of making India a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25. To help India achieve its goal, UP has set a target of becoming a $1-trillion economy by 2027, one-fifth of what the country is eyeing in the same year. With that target in sight, the government is working towards making the state, which currently contributes 8 per cent to the national GDP, the second-largest economy in India with a special focus on infrastructure.
The state is working in a planned and phased manner towards becoming the growth engine of the country and its leading economy. Plans have been formulated for every sector to touch new heights and contribute in one way or the other to the state’s economic growth.
“Our state is home to 24 crore citizens. We have the largest skilled manpower. Uttar Pradesh has India’s largest youth population, with 72 universities and 169 industrial training institutes. For an investor, all these combined are going to create a great investment environment”
Share this on
Murano glassware from Italy is so world-famous that the artisans are the biggest beneficiaries of this successful branding. What do you plan to do for similar products from UP in terms of global branding?
Under the prime minister’s inspiration, we started the branding of our locally made products in 2018 through our flagship ODOP (One District One Product) scheme. We have 75 districts and each of them has its own traditional unique products. The UP government set up a portal, ODOPmart.com, for people to buy One District One Product items from all 75 districts online. As part of its mission to promote a wide variety of traditional products from 75 districts of the state, UP launched the shopping portal in 2022 to facilitate the online sale of ODOP items.
By giving ODOP gifts to its esteemed guests, UP is fast gaining fame for its handicrafts and products. Moreover, by gifting ODOP souvenirs to G20 heads of state, the prime minister also played a key role in adding to the prestige of the state’s local handicrafts and indigenous products. Prime Minister Modi, in 2022, became the brand ambassador of UP’s flagship ODOP scheme, deciding to gift special products made by the skilled artisans of the state to celebrities during his foreign visits. This way, our products are getting global recognition.
How excited are you about the outcome of this global summit? How do you assess enthusiasm among investors? Which sector received the most MoUs this time round?
With more than ₹33.50 lakh crore in industrial investment, this investors’ summit has set a record in the country. Record industrial investment has flowed into underdeveloped areas, such as Bundelkhand and Purvanchal. The success of this summit will pave the way for making UP the biggest economy in India. The successful UPGIS 2023 has given recognition to a new Uttar Pradesh all over the world. The manufacturing sector received the most MoUs, that is, around 7,700, which are likely to generate employment opportunities for over 15 lakh people in the state.