Eyeing better investment flow from diaspora, State heads on Sunday showcased the competitive business environment and investor-friendly policy initiatives of their governments while identifying education and healthcare as key areas for deeper two-way engagement.
Addressing the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas here, Chief Ministers of various states sought active support of the 25 million diaspora in enhancing infrastructure in their respective States, while highlighting India as a safe destination for investment.
Making a fervent appeal for enhanced investment in his state, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said inclusive growth should be the “mantra” of THE development process if India has to emerge in the right earnest.
“This decade of Gujarat has been a decade of phenomenal growth. We have not only registered overall double digit GDP growth but our important sectors also have registered double digit growth,” he said a gathering of around 1,500 NRIs and Persons of Indian Origins (PIOs).
Showcasing the investment potential of his state in diverse sectors, he said the government has been trying to make people the partners in growth not just beneficiaries.
“Our agriculture has grown at 12.8 per cent in the last five years and at 9.6 per cent over last seven years.This is thrice the national average. The industrial sector has also grown at 13 per cent,” Mr. Modi said.
He said Gujarat contributes to 22 per cent of total exports and 30 per cent of the stock market capitalisation of the country, which reflects the opportunities and dynamism of the State economy.
Speaking on the occasion, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda termed the Indian diaspora as a “formidable global force” who represent a “truly great resource” in the form of intellectual, technical, scientific and entrepreneurial excellence.
Seeking investment for his state, Mr. Hooda described Haryana as a land of “opportunities and enterprise” and said it had grown at 8 per cent even during the worst period of economic meltdown.
“Haryana has made rapid strides and carved a niche for itself. The state, which was largely an agrarian initially, is now one of the most industrialised states in the country with the manufacturing and services sector contributing about 80 per cent of the gross state domestic product,” he said.
Both Mr. Hooda and Mr. Modi spoke about need for enhancing infrastructure in health and education.
During the last five years, Mr. Hooda said the state has attracted investment to the tune of $11 billion (Rs 53,000 crore) from both domestic as well as international investors and investment worth Rs 1 lakh crore is in the pipeline.
Speaking on the occasion, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the government has made a huge “turn around” in the state and it is now growing at 11 per cent.
Listing the progress made by Bihar government in the past five years, he said, “all the mines went to Jharkhand but the minds are still with Bihar and to nurture that we have appointed more than two lakh teachers in government schools.”
He also said that the government has improved the law and order to great extent as neither a single case of death or a single incident of booth capturing occurred during the state assembly election last year.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, while complimenting the NRIs for their contribution in development of the state, announced setting up of a Commission for NRIs to redress their grievances, especially related to property matters and other legal disputes.
He said the commission would be headed by a retired judge of the High Court and Punjab would be the first state in the country to take such initiative to redress grievances and disputes of the NRIs.
Mr. Badal said the Punjab Government has already set up dedicated police stations and exclusive fast track courts for taking up issues related to NRIs only.
“The contribution of the NRI fraternity to the prosperity if the state is immense. Every village in the state carries the stamp of their contribution,” he said calling for greater partnership between the state and the diaspora.
Giving account of major initiatives of his government to improve key infrastructure, Badal said within next couple of years Punjab will be a power surplus state and while another ambitious scheme to make all the major roads either four lane or six lane has been launched.
“Punjab will soon become the first state in the country to have three international airports. International flights from Mohali airport will begin shortly,” he said.
In his speech, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who could not make it to the programme, said his government would soon come out with a policy to promote creation of key infrastructure while safeguarding interests of the farmers.
Calling for better collaboration with the diaspora, he assured them to speed up clearance for industrial and infrastructure projects. “Efforts are being made to ensure easy availability of land so that land conversion, land use change, plan approvals, etc take minimum time.”
Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat, in his speech, also sought investment from the diaspora in the state and said despite occasional adverse publicity, the state’s tourism profile as an ideal leisure destination has not been impacted.