In a bid to attract investment in infrastructure and industrial sectors in Uttar Pradesh, the Uttar Pradesh state government organised an Investors Conclave in New Delhi on June 12, 2014- the fourth in a series of meets that have been organised since the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government was sworn-in to power in March 2012.
Industry has typically fought shy of investing in the state despite the many opportunities because of two key concerns- law and order and power supply. UP finds itself at the centre of a crisis owing to both of these issues. As such, confidence building among investors about the overall investment climate in UP is a key move, which the government is hoping to achieve through this event.
The State's Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan told reporters during the pre event briefing- "In the development agenda of the UP government, emphasis is being given on increasing capital investment. This investment should increase in infrastructure and industrial sector. For this an investors conclave is being organised in Delhi on June 12, 2014. The objective of the conclave is to have an open interaction with the investors during which they will be informed about the policies of the UP government".
He said that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav would attend the conclave, which would be attended by the ambassadors of seven countries. Ranjan said that during conclave a presentation would be made on "why UP", why investors should invest in the state. "After this, one to one meeting will be held with the investors during which their queries will be answered," he said. In a reply to power and law & order situation in the state, he said,"we will assure them that you set up a industry and we will provide you a conducive atmosphere. The government is taking steps to strengthen power and law & order situation. We will assure that 24 hours power will be given to the industries."
Touted as the first in a series of road shows, June 12 saw Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav meeting with key investors over a power breakfast, while senior officers from the state made presentations about opportunities available in UP. Wooing investors, the CM said, “Uttar Pradesh is a land of great rivers, it’s a fertile land. The state has investment opportunities in many sectors. No (other) state can compete with Uttar Pradesh as far as tourism is concerned.”
The state government made a presentation about investment opportunities with special focus on food processing, agriculture, infrastructure and industry, and information technology sectors. Later, Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan enlisted the state’s advantages, including its 200 million population; natural resource availability in the agriculture sector and high farm production. “We have created an enabling policy environment, including the Infrastructure and Industrial Investment Policy apart from sector-specific policies for solar and handicrafts sectors and single-window clearance,” he said.
After the CM's closed-door meetings with specific companies, state secretaries from across departments engaged on one-on-one interactions with firms from various sectors during the conclave.
The conclave was attended by Amity's Chairman Emeritus Ashok Chauhan; Reliance Jio chairman Mahendra Nahata; Samsung India Deputy Managing Director Ravinder Zutshi; HP India Vice President Rajiv Srivastava; Fortis President Daljit Singh; Sonalika Tractors Chairman L D Mittal and Kribhco Managing Director V P Kaushik among others. Representatives from 100 companies and seven countries participated in the UP Investor Conclave. Business groups from Europe and Britain, the Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Indo-Canadian Chamber and Lacfi Industrial group, along with representatives from the embassies of Italy, Taipei, Canada, and Germany, among others participated in the Conclave. Government officials confirmed the business groups and individuals have evinced special interest in the food processing, energy, health, urban development and tourism sectors.
Few corporate leaders delivering speeches praised the UP government for providing what they called a hassle-free business environment. The mood among the audience, however, was one of caution. "The list of sectors where investment has been committed- health, education or alternate energy- are basic economic areas where investment will come in any way. Why are there no investors from core sectors like auto?" said an executive who did not wish to be quoted.
In a boost to the UP government’s industrialisation drive, around 20 companies promised to invest Rs 35,000 crore in multiple sectors in Uttar Pradesh during the UP Investor Conclave. Essel Group, Reliance Jio and Fortis were among key names to line up investment. The largest investment commitment of Rs 20,000 crore came from Essel Group, which signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government for setting up urban development, power distribution and solar power projects. Reliance Jio Infocomm, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries (RIL), signed a pact for rolling out 4G broadband services for Rs 5,000 crore in the state. Kolkata-headquartered ITC Ltd promised Rs 2,100 crore for setting up projects in multiple sectors; private university Amity signed a pact for establishing an educational complex in Kanpur for Rs 2,000 crore; Fortis Healthcare committed Rs 800 crore for a super-speciality hospital each at Kanpur, Lucknow and Greater Noida; and Sonalika Tractors promised Rs 200 crore investment for setting up a manufacturing facility. Besides, River Engineering (Rs 350 crore), Uflex Industries (Rs 4,000 crore), JVL Agro (Rs 2,200 crore), Shree cement (Rs 550 crore), Azure Power (Rs 800 crore), Kribhco (Rs 150 crore), Ultra Fairwood (Rs 220 crore), UP Food and Logistics (Rs 600 crore), Duncan Goenka (Rs 100 crore) and Samprash Food (Rs 60 crore) also signed MoUs. In addition, Yashoda Super Speciality Hospital announced a Rs 2,000-crore investment plan for a medical city.
Through the summit, the Chief Minister tried to send a positive signal to investors. “The huge investment commitment shows the way for the next phase of growth in Uttar Pradesh,” Yadav said. “I promise I will meet each one of you personally to resolve issues like clearances.”
Following a series of similar road shows across cities, UP also plans to host a Global Investors' Summit at Agra around mid-2015.