By Brajendra Nath Singh
New Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS) Madhya Pradesh will review its industrial policy to encourage private investment — with concessions to woo investment in backward areas — in a bid to counter the aggressive sales pitch of other states, says Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The state is also focussing on spreading the network of small and micro industries and encouraging young entrepreneurs who feel they can excel like their counterparts in the southern states or Gujarat or Punjab, he said in an interview to IANS.
With just a year to go before his third term ends, Chouhan is so confident of victory in the Assembly elections that he spoke of reviewing polices before the next global investors summit in the state to be held in 2019.
The Chief Minister acknowledged that there has been some farmer unrest over the fall in prices of agricultural products and the government was addressing the issue.
Chouhan said the state has realised that agriculture alone cannot sustain growth. This is why it launched a global investors meet to attract investment in 2007 by changing policies and bringing in a single-window clearance system, and improving ease of doing business.
“In 2014-15, we finalised investments of Rs 2.73 lakh crore against MoUs of about Rs 5 lakh crore. In the last investors summit held in Indore, we received intent-to-invest proposals of around Rs 5 lakh crore. I am hopeful that the actual investment figure will be around Rs 2.5 lakh crore. The proposals are in IT, health, automobile, food processing, renewable energy, mining and other sectors.”
Asked about other states aggressively seeking investment, Chouhan said: “If some states are aggressive, we change our policy accordingly. To encourage investment we will again review our policies before the next investors summit to be held in 2019 — after the next assembly elections.”
He said concessions are given depending on the size of the proposed investment as well as where it will be made. “If somebody wants to invest in backward areas, then the government gives them special concessions,” he said.
The 58-year-old Chief Minister said Madhya Pradesh was focussed on spreading the network of small and micro industries. “If investors come from outside, they are welcome. If not, we will develop our people as entrepreneurs and industrialists.”
He said the state has launched the Madhya Pradesh Yuva Udyami Yojna under which the government provides loans of up to Rs 2 crore for starting small and medium industries.
“The government provides guarantee for the loans. It has started giving results. Many youngsters from poor backgrounds have developed themselves as successful entrepreneurs and industrialists.”
With “bijli, sadak, pani” (power, roads and water) as the focus of infrastructure development, Chouhan said, “We were generating 2,900 MW of power some years ago. Today we are generating 17,000 MW. Now we are a power-suplus state and are giving power to other states.”
In agriculture, the state had 7.5 lakh hectares of irrigated land when he came to power. “We are increasing this area by generating 4-5 lakh hectares of land every year. My target is to create 60 lakh hectares of irrigated land.”
Asked about the farmer unrest in the state and the police firing in Mandsaur that claimed the lives of five farmers in June, Chouhan said it was not a farmers’ movement in Mandsaur.
“Mandsaur is the most affluent district of Madhya Pradesh because opium is grown there. There were many anti-social elements behind it who were later arrested. Their activities were always suspicious. Some smugglers are there against whom we had acted and also arrested some under NSA.”
He acknowledged that there was some unrest among the farmers because the price of products like onion and pulses had gone down suddenly. “But some miscreants and anti-social elements used the occasion for their own benefit and tried their best to create unrest in the state. The Congress also incited the masses,” he alleged.
As far as suicide of farmers is concerned, he said, “I am not going to justify it. But this is the situation in every part of the country… Those involved in farming and agriculture, if any of them commit suicide due to whatever reason, they are counted among farmers suicide… There are different reasons for the suicides. We need to go into details of these problem and find a solution.”
The Chief Minister said a roadmap has been prepared for doubling farmers’ income by 2022 and it has been submitted to the Prime Minister.
“We are organising workshops in every district from September 15 to October 15. These workshops will be attended by experts, farmers and ministers. We will keep this roadmap of doubling farmer’s income and will discuss with them and plan accordingly. We are developing modern farm houses and Khet teerth to set examples.”
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