Im­ple­ment poli­cies in let­ter and spirit

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Spotlight - The writer is a UP­based in­dus­tri­al­ist and pres­i­dent of En­trepreneurs’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion, Ut­tar Pradesh. VINAMRA AGAR­WAL

The Ut­tar Pradesh govern­ment is em­bark­ing on per­haps the big­gest ever push to­wards boost­ing eco­nomic growth in the state through planned in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion. The UP In­vestors Sum­mit is ex­pected to wit­ness a pan­theon of po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, in­dus­tri­al­ists, con­sul­tants and diplo­mats de­scend on the City of Nawabs to hear why they should in­vest in UP and to ink MoUs worth sev­eral thou­sands of crores, in­di­cat­ing their in­ter­est to in­vest in the state.

While Luc­know is be­ing given a facelift for the sum­mit, a few im­por­tant points need to be kept in mind:

1. UP, de­spite hav­ing had one of the best in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion poli­cies in re­cent years, has lagged woe­fully be­hind other states in terms of at­tract­ing in­vest­ment. De­spite be­ing a gold­mine in the form of our mar­ket size and our ex­ten­sive agrar­ian base, in­vestors have shied away from com­mit­ting in­vest­ments in the state.

2. This is tra­di­tion­ally the in­vest­ment sum­mit sea­son. As­sam has just hosted one. Ma­ha­rash­tra’s jam­boree is just a day be­fore UP’s. Te­lan­gana and Andhra Pradesh events are in the off­ing. This means that both the do­mes­tic and for­eign in­vestor com­mu­nity are go­ing to be spoilt for choice. Hence, UP will need to have its value propo­si­tion spelt out very clearly in or­der to get prospec­tive in­vestors to bite.

3. It is also im­por­tant to un­der­stand what has kept in­vestors away so far. While the rea­sons of po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, non-align­ment be­tween cen­tre and state and a poor per­cep­tion of the law and or­der sit­u­a­tion are well known, the ele­phant in the room con­tin­ues to be a per­sis­tent ap­a­thy to­wards busi­ness/ in­dus­try right down to the low­est lev­els in govern­ment.

Al­most every govern­ment over the past 20 years has promised large-scale in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion in the state whether through in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion out­reach, or mod­els like the erst­while UPDC. Re­gret­tably, these have not yielded the de­sired ben­e­fits. The above fac­tors have led to a very high de­gree of cyn­i­cism re­gard­ing the ul­ti­mate re­al­ity from promised in­vest­ments.

For­tu­nately, the in­di­ca­tions in the run-up to the sum­mit are pos­i­tive. Most se­nior bu­reau­crats seem to be com­mit­ted to­wards chang­ing the sta­tus quo, will­ing to ac­cept sug­ges­tions and in­puts and en­gage in di­a­logue to­wards res­o­lu­tion of many is­sues.

As an in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tive, I have the fol­low­ing wish list:

1. Im­ple­men­ta­tion of newly for­mu­lated state poli­cies not just in let­ter, but also spirit. The govern­ment needs to en­sure that ben­e­fits to in­vestors are de­liv­ered speed­ily in a trans­par­ent man­ner.

2. Ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion and con­tin­u­ous mon­i­tor­ing of the Sin­gle Win­dow clear­ance plat­form planned by the state – not just for the “big­gies” but also the MSMEs which con­sti­tute the largest pop­u­la­tion of our in­dus­tries.

3. A vari­a­tion of the Chi­nese model in which the DMs, as the fore­most govern­ment func­tionar­ies in any dis­trict, would be con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored on the scale and pace of in­dus­trial growth in their dis­tricts, and would thereby also be in­cen­tivised to en­sure speedy res­o­lu­tion of is­sues brought be­fore them.

4. A ‘zero-tol­er­ance’ pol­icy for cor­rup­tion at all lev­els, par­tic­u­larly in de­part­ments like labour, pol­lu­tion, rev­enue which are the very life-blood for in­dus­trial growth.

5. A pol­icy of deemed per­mis­sions and clear­ances, whereby in the ab­sence of any re­sponse from the con­cerned au­thor­ity in a fi­nite and de­fined time, the per­mis­sion is deemed to be given.

6. A pro­gres­sive, trust based self cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pol­icy for govern­ment clear­ances with a sys­tem of ran­domised checks, with strict penal­ties for de­fault­ers.

In­dus­try has al­ways been ready, it is now im­por­tant for govern­ment to “walk the talk”.

If the two are able to con­verge, there is no rea­son why Ut­tar Pradesh can­not emerge as an in­dus­trial pow­er­house in its own right in the times to come

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