Com­plet­ing 14 years in of­fice, Ch­hat­tis­garh Chief Min­is­ter Ra­man Singh trans­forms the State from the coun­try's Rice Bowl to a ro­bust growth en­gine.

India Business Journal - - CONTENTS -

Com­plet­ing 14 years in of­fice, Ch­hat­tis­garh Chief Min­is­ter Ra­man Singh trans­forms the State from the coun­try's Rice Bowl to a ro­bust growth en­gine.

Dr Ra­man Singh is an odd man out in a ca­co­phonic world of self-pro­mo­tion. The 65-year-old chief min­is­ter of Ch­hat­tis­garh, who com­pleted 14 years in of­fice last month, main­tains a rather sur­pris­ingly low pro­file. Shun­ning pub­lic­ity, Dr Singh prefers his work to do all the talk­ing. In­ci­den­tally, Dr Singh, an Ayurvedic doc­tor­turned-politi­cian, has be­come the coun­try's first, long­est-serv­ing, BJP chief min­is­ter. Be­sides, he has found a place among the top-eight, longest­serv­ing chief min­is­ters in the coun­try.

What is strik­ing about the Ch­hat­tis­garh chief min­is­ter is not just his long ten­ure but the qual­ity of his rule. In these 14 years, Dr Singh has con­fronted the Naxal men­ace in the Cen­tral In­dian State with ef­fec­tive wel­fare schemes and last­ing in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment. A silent per- for­mer, Dr Singh's gov­ern­ment is cred­ited with a host of pro­gres­sive steps that have put the State on a fast growth path.

Mean­while, Ch­hat­tis­garh has gone far be­yond just be­ing the Rice Bowl of In­dia. The State gov­ern­ment's ef­fec­tive paddy pro­cure­ment pol­icy and trans­par­ent pub­lic dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem (PDS) have made Ch­hat­tis­garh a model State that ranks top­most in un­veil­ing far-reach­ing PDS re­forms.

Lever­ag­ing the State's nat­u­ral boun­ties of rich min­eral re­sources and a wide-rang­ing farm pro­duce, Dr Singh has turned Ch­hat­tis­garh into a thriv­ing in­dus­trial hub of the coun­try. Be­sides, his gov­ern­ment's sim­pli­fied rules and pro­ce­dures have placed the State among the fron­trun­ners in ease of do­ing busi­ness.

In its pur­suit of in­dus­trial in­vest­ments, the State has not turned a blind eye to its mul­ti­ple so­cial prob­lems. In short, the State gov­ern­ment has been try­ing hard to live up to the as­pi­ra­tions of its peo­ple. In fact, it was the ne­glect of these very as­pi­ra­tions that led to the birth of Ch­hat­tis­garh in 2000, carved out of Mad­hya Pradesh

"Ch­hat­tis­garh has shown the way and demon­strated how a rel­a­tively smaller State can scale new heights in de­vel­op­ment." NAREN­DRA MODI Prime Min­is­ter

dur­ing the previous NDA gov­ern­ment headed by Atal Be­hari Va­j­payee.

The Congress gov­ern­ment of Ajit Jogi - Ch­hat­tis­garh's first chief min­is­ter - did start off well. How­ever, a se­ries of scams dis­ap­pointed peo­ple of the nascent State. The State leg­isla­tive as­sem­bly polls in 2003 saw the BJP - led by Dr Singh, the State BJP pres­i­dent then - storm­ing to power on the de­vel­op­ment agenda.

Since tak­ing charge as chief min­is­ter in 2003, Dr Singh's many innovative so­cial wel­fare schemes have ben­e­fited the weak and the vul­ner­a­ble in the tribal-dom­i­nated State. These poli­cies also seem to have en­sured a long ten­ure for Dr Singh's gov­ern­ment. "It is the bless­ings and trust of peo­ple that has led the party to win three con­sec­u­tive elec­tions in the State. We do

pol­i­tics of de­vel­op­ment," notes the soft-spo­ken, gen­tle­man-politi­cian chief min­is­ter of Ch­hat­tis­garh.

Nur­tur­ing en­ter­prise

Ch­hat­tis­garh to­day fig­ures among the coun­try’s top-five States in terms of ease of do­ing busi­ness and kick-start­ing in­dus­tries in var­i­ous sec­tors. It would not be out of place to note that Dr Singh’s rich ad­min­is­tra­tive ex­pe­ri­ence in the past has played a crit­i­cal role in mak­ing Ch­hat­tis­garh a favourite investment des­ti­na­tion. The Ch­hat­tis­garh CM who be­gan his pub­lic life way back in 1983 as a coun­cil­lor of Kawardha Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil went on to be­come an MLA of Mad­hya Pradesh Vid­han Sabha and was also Union min­is­ter of State for com­merce and in­dus­try in the Va­j­payee gov­ern­ment.

No won­der, Ch­hat­tis­garh has stood fourth among all States and Union Ter­ri­to­ries in the ease of do­ing busi­ness rank­ing in the past three con­sec­u­tive years – the State’s po­si­tion is un­changed in the pro­vi­sional rank­ings of 2017 that were re­leased re­cently. The fourth rank achieved consistently by Ch­hat­tis­garh in the past three years in­di­cates that the State gov­ern­ment has taken a lot of ef­forts to in­crease its eco­nomic and in­dus­trial growth. In fact, the State gov­ern­ment scored a whop­ping 97.32 per cent in im­ple­men­ta­tion rate and did well in 331 out of the 340 pa­ram­e­ters to bag the fourth po­si­tion in the over­all ease of do­ing busi­ness rank­ing of 2016.

The 340 pa­ram­e­ters or ar­eas of re­forms re­lated to the rank­ing are broadly un­der dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing con­struc­tion per­mit, en­vi­ron­men­tal and labour reg­is­tra­tion, elec­tric­ity con­nec­tion, on­line tax re­turn fil­ing, in­spec­tion re­form, ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and trans­parency, sin­gle-win­dow pro­cesses, land avail­abil­ity and com­mer­cial dis­pute res­o­lu­tion. The pa­ram­e­ters and the rank­ing have been jointly in­sti­tuted by the World Bank and the Union gov­ern­ment's Depart­ment of In­dus­trial Pol­icy and Pro­mo­tion.

“We are happy that in many pa­ram­e­ters of ease of do­ing busi­ness and in­dus­trial growth, Ch­hat­tis­garh has suc­ceeded to score a good rank and has brought a pos­i­tive sign for peo­ple of the State as it will open up jobs and other op­por­tu­ni­ties for them,” points out Dr San­tosh Jain, a noted econ­o­mist and well-known fi­nan­cial ex­pert.

In­dus­trial growth

The proac­tive mea­sures of the gov­ern­ment have trans­formed Ch­hat­tis­garh into a lead­ing in­dus­trial hub of the coun­try. In fact, over the last cou­ple of years, in­dus­trial growth is not lim­ited only to the more de­vel­oped ar­eas of Raipur, Durg, Ra­j­nandgaon and Raigarh. Many new large in­dus­tries as well as small and medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) have started op­er­at­ing in tribal-dom­i­nated and Naxal-af­fected dis­tricts of Bas­tar, Konda­gaon, Kanker, Bi­japur and Narayan­pur.

The State's abun­dant min­eral re­sources have made it an ideal des­ti­na­tion for metal and other heavy in­dus­tries. Ma­jor de­vel­op­ments un­fold­ing on the in­dus­trial front are set to up­grade the liv­ing con­di­tions of the

"I am de­lighted to see the progress - be it in education, busi­ness or med­i­cal sec­tor. Ch­hat­tis­garh has be­come a model for many States." YOGI ADITYANATH CM, UP

peo­ple of Ch­hat­tis­garh in the days to come.

In a ma­jor de­vel­op­ment set to light up the State's prospects, the board of NTPC, the coun­try's largest ther­mal power pro­ducer, re­cently ac­corded an investment ap­proval for Talaipalli pro­ject in Raigarh dis­trict for min­ing 18 mil­lion tonnes of coal per an­num. The com­pany is ex­pected to com­mence coal pro­duc­tion from the Talaipalli block by Novem­ber 2019. The coal from this block is to be put to cap­tive use for the 4,000-mw Lara Super Ther­mal Power Pro­ject (STPP) be­ing estab­lished by NTPC in Ch­hat­tis­garh.

No­tably, power from Lara in Raigarh dis­trict will be supplied to Ch­hat­tis­garh, Goa and Ma­ha­rash­tra. It may be re­called that NTPC's up­com­ing STPP has ac­quired all nec­es­sary clear­ances from the Union Min­istry of For­est, En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change for the pro­ject. The State is also ex­pected to add 14,140 mw of ther­mal power by 2022 to cater to ev­er­grow­ing de­mand from in­dus­tries and en­ter­prises.

With most three im­por­tant el­e­ments of land, wa­ter and power eas­ily avail­able, the State is get­ting in­vest­ments in sev­eral other sec­tors also. Re­cently, the gov­ern­ment signed four Me­moran­dums of Un­der­stand­ing (MoUs) in­volv­ing a to­tal investment of Rs 386 crore across elec­tron­ics and food pro­cess­ing sec­tors. This investment would create over 2,800 em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the State and give new em­ploy­ment av­enues to lo­cal youth.

Ch­hat­tis­garh has al­ways been one of the pre­ferred States in the coun­try for busi­ness and investment. But so far, most of the in­vest­ments were made in core sec­tors, like min­ing, steel, alu­minium, and ce­ment. The State has huge po­ten­tial for non-core sec­tors, like elec­tron­ics, food pro­cess­ing, en­gi­neer­ing and so­lar equip­ment, which are be­ing pro­moted as strate­gic sec­tors in the State.

New sec­tors, like elec­tron­ics, have got a big boost with ap­proval of an elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ing cluster (EMC) in Naya Raipur, the State's new cap­i­tal be­ing built from scratch. More­over, the State is set to house a metal park, an en­gi­neer­ing park, a mega food park and a plas­tic park. Tourism too has got a leg-up with the launch of Ra­man Jan Pary­atan Yo­jana, aimed at ex­ploit­ing the State's nat­u­ral beauty and boost­ing tourism there.

The Ch­hat­tis­garh gov­ern­ment has also re­cently launched San­char Kranti Yo­jana (SKY), in which 45 lakh smart­phones will be dis­trib­uted to

youth and women in the State. Un­der SKY, 1,700 mo­bile tow­ers will also be set up for pro­vid­ing mo­bile con­nec­tiv­ity across the State.

So­cial de­vel­op­ment

Per­haps one of the big­gest achieve­ments in Dr Singh's long ten­ure is his gov­ern­ment's ef­forts to bring about so­cial change. The chief min­is­ter of­ten stresses that one can­not com­pre­hend the de­vel­op­ment jour­ney of Ch­hat­tis­garh only by look­ing at the cap­i­tal city of Raipur, Durg and Bhi­lai. It is the pos­i­tive change in the lives of even the marginalised sec­tions of Bas­tar and Sur­guja re­gions, which tells the tale of the State's jour­ney. Ac­cord­ingly, the Ch­hat­tis­garh gov­ern­ment is for­mu­lat­ing schemes to bring about pos­i­tive changes in lives of those stand­ing last in the row.

In fact, Dr Singh has al­ways been

em­pa­thetic of marginalised peo­ple. Born in a fam­ily of farm­ers in Kawardha, he knows the harsh re­al­i­ties of weaker sec­tions of so­ci­ety first hand. As the Ayurvedic doc­tor in Kawardha, he could rightly feel the pulse of his pa­tients, es­pe­cially the poor. He never lost that touch with ground re­al­i­ties even as he oc­cu­pied higher posts in pub­lic life.

Soon af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi launched his in­ter­ac­tive broad­cast, Mann Ki Baat, on All In­dia Ra­dio (AIR), Dr Singh too fol­lowed suit with Ra­man Ke Goth on AIR and sev­eral other rev­enue-starved re­gional news chan­nels. These ef­forts have brought the CM fur­ther closer to the peo­ple.

Mean­while, the big fight in Bas­tar is build­ing roads, bridges and schools, which are se­verely op­posed by the Nax­als. How­ever, the good news is that 80 per cent of the seven dis­tricts of Ch­hat­tis­garh that were se­verely af­fected by Nax­alites in the past are free of Nax­als now. It was af­ter the State gov­ern­ment built education hubs of 6,000 chil­dren each in Nax­al­in­fested ar­eas of Dan­te­wada that tribal chil­dren are mak­ing it to IITs and civil ser­vices, shun­ning the vi­o­lent path and join­ing the main­stream. Be­sides, the gov­ern­ment has started POTA cab­ins, Prayas res­i­den­tial schools and estab­lished an education city in Dan­te­wada, where thou­sands of Naxal-af­fected chil­dren are pro­vided with education fa­cil­i­ties.

The big pos­i­tive churn in education is not lim­ited to the tribal and Naxal-af­fected pop­u­la­tion alone. Think of chil­dren of bu­reau­crats join­ing gov­ern­ment-run schools to pur­sue their stud­ies, that too at the pri­mary level. Yes, that is what is hap­pen­ing in Ch­hat­tis­garh to­day. For the first time in the coun­try, a cou­ple of serv­ing bu­reau­crats in the State have started a new trend by send­ing their chil­dren to gov­ern­ment schools rather than the usual trend of send­ing them to pri­vate schools.

Bal­ram­pur Dis­trict Col­lec­tor Awan­ish Ku­mar Sha­ran be­gan the trend by ad­mit­ting his five-year-old daugh­ter, Pragya, in the lo­cal gov­ern­ment pri­mary school. Tak­ing a cue from him, an­other serv­ing bu­reau­crat, D Rav­is­hankar, the su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice of the State In­tel­li­gence Bureau, also fol­lowed suit. In fact,

Mr Rav­is­hankar ad­mit­ted his six-yearold daugh­ter, Dibyan­jali, to the Shanti Na­gar gov­ern­ment pri­mary school in Raipur. The Ch­hat­tis­garh gov­ern­ment has as­signed IAS and IPS of­fi­cers to teach in their des­ig­nated schools once a week in a bid to improve the qual­ity of education in these schools.

With a view to ame­lio­rate the liv­ing con­di­tion of trib­als in the State, who are of­ten known as poor peo­ple of the rich land, the Dis­trict Min­eral Foun­da­tion was in­tro­duced for the first time more than two years ago. The ini­tia­tive has brought ad­di­tional funds to the State's ex­che­quer. Trans­par­ent auc­tion of iron ore and dolomite, as a part of the ini­tia­tive, has en­sured that there is a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the State's rev­enues be­yond Rs 4,000 crore.

"Now, in Korba, Dan­te­wada and Raigarh, we are get­ting rev­enue of at least Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,000 crore more, which is go­ing into de­vel­op­ment work for the peo­ple, en­sur­ing drink­ing wa­ter and build­ing schools. We have built good hos­pi­tals in Sukma and Bi­japur. This is how pol­icy changes things for the bet­ter," adds Dr Singh.

The new bat­tle

Mean­while, Naya Raipur, the new State cap­i­tal which came up from scratch in 2012, is abuzz with ac­tiv­i­ties. Naya Raipur - the fourth such planned, green­field cap­i­tal city in the coun­try af­ter Chandi­garh (Pun­jab and Haryana), Bhubanesh­war (Odisha) and Gand­hi­na­gar (Gu­jarat) - is tak­ing shape at a rapid pace and could hold sig­nif­i­cant lessons for the coun­try's ur­ban plan­ners. Be­sides, the new cap­i­tal of Ch­hat­tis­garh could also in­spire Amaravati, the new cap­i­tal of Andhra Pradesh that com­ing up at an ag­gres­sive pace.

Naya Raipur, con­cep­tu­alised as an in­ter­na­tional city and the coun­try's first smart State cap­i­tal, boasts of wide roads, land­scaped side­walks and smart trans­porta­tion. The Sec­re­tar­iat, named Capi­tol Com­plex, de­rived from the Capi­tol Hill in the United States, houses the of­fices of State chief min­is­ter and his Cab­i­net col­leagues. Most of the State de­part­ments have shifted base here from old cap­i­tal Raipur.

Ch­hat­tis­garh has in­deed come a long way since Dr Singh took charge of the State 14 years ago. Just to demon­strate that huge change, the State Bud­get was around Rs 7,000 crore in 2003, when Dr Singh first be­came the chief min­is­ter. To­day, Ch­hat­tis­garh boasts of an over eleven-fold jump in its Bud­get of a whop­ping Rs 82,000 crore. The State Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct at over Rs 2,50,000 crore and per capita in­come at Rs 82,000 have grown multi-fold dur­ing this pe­riod.

Sim­i­larly, the State has wit­nessed many sig­nif­i­cant changes dur­ing this pe­riod. The State's PDS has turned out to be an in­spir­ing model for other States to over­haul their own food dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems. The bat­tle against Nax­alites is al­most tilt­ing in the State's favour. For the past many years, the State gov­ern­ment has consistently worked for the bet­ter­ment of the poor, farm­ers and all the sec­tions of the so­ci­ety. Dr Singh's com­mitt­ment to the de­vel­op­ment of the State, in­clud­ing ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties of peo­ple such as education, health, roads, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, elec­tric­ity, drink­ing wa­ter, has helped Ch­hat­tis­garh gain rep­u­ta­tion at na­tional and in­ter­na­tional lev­els.

In his 14 years in of­fice, Dr Singh has ini­ti­ated a fas­ci­nat­ing so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion of the State. Now, the Ayurvedic doc­tor in him could be ready­ing a new pre­scrip­tion to make Ch­hat­tis­garh an ideal role model of all-round growth.

Naya Raipur, the coun­try's first smart State cap­i­tal, stands tes­ti­mony to Ch­hat­tis­garh’s de­vel­op­ment and progress.

Ch­hat­tis­garh Chief Min­is­ter Ra­man Singh

Power gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity has shown multi-fold growth from mere 4,000 mw in 2003 to above 22,000 mw at present.

Dr Singh has con­fronted Naxal men­ace with last­ing in­fra­struc­ture, such as good roads.

State’s education hubs for chil­dren in Naxal-in­fested ar­eas are a huge hit.

Ch­hat­tis­garh Chief Min­is­ter Dr Ra­man Singh: Play­ing pol­i­tics of de­vel­op­ment

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