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Investors’ Meets Galore

As India sets its eyes on a developed country tag by 2047, there is a scramble among states to host investors’ meets to attract investments to fuel the ambitious growth targets

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In his address at the UP Global Investors Summit on February 10 in Lucknow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also an MP from Varanasi, showcased the state of Uttar Pradesh like very few could have.

The PM said that the state had a very strong network of MSMEs where industries are linked to tradition and modernity, as he talked about Bhadohi carpets and Banarasi silk. He cited a success story from contemporary India. “Today, more than 60 per cent of mobile manufacturing in India happens in Uttar Pradesh alone. Maximum manufacturing of mobile components is also done in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Indeed, Uttar Pradesh has come a long way from being castigated as a BIMARU state. The recently-held UP Global Investors Summit, that attracted investments worth Rs 35 lakh crore -- much more than the initial target of Rs 10 lakh crore – did the state a world of good in achieving an image overhaul.

That “UP means business” was evident at the investors’ meet as industry captains right from Mukesh Ambani, K. M. Birla to N. Chandrasekaran, among others, spoke, in glowing terms, about the “enormous potential that the state has”. Not surprisingly, the Yogi Adityanath government is taking success stories from the state like “One District, One Product”, popularly known as ODOP, far and wide.

Investors’ meets, organised by various states, are definitely not new, not even in the context of Uttar Pradesh. The previous Samajwadi Party government organised three investor summits – at Agra, and in Delhi, and Mumbai. The last investors’ summit in UP was held in 2018.

What was new this time around, however, was an unprecedented interest in the UP event and also the ground work done by the state government in the run-up to the meet. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, for instance, personally met India Inc. leaders like Anand Mahindra, Mukesh Ambani and others in Mumbai, prior to the event. The state government organised preparatory events in different Indian cities and also abroad.

Singapore, Denmark, UK, Italy, UAE, Australia, Japan signed MoUs with the UP government at the investors’ meet which saw the participation of ten country partners, and more than 1000 foreign delegates from 40 countries, as part of around 25,000 delegates.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and 15 other Union Ministers addressed the event.

The success of the UP Investors’ meet has set the tone for other such investors’ meets in the pipeline. The Punjab Investors’ meet is scheduled for later this month, while the Andhra Investors’ meet and Telangana Investors’ meet would take place in March.

Among the recent investors’ meets, Karnataka got investments of around Rs 10 lakh crore in November 2022, while Rajasthan got around Rs 10.44 lakh crore in October 2022, and West Bengal got Rs 3.42 lakh crore in April 2022.

With India as the fastest growing large economy, states have a huge role to play by contributing to the national GDP. Some commentators stress on the need to have “champion states” – in terms of their economic imprint. It is reassuring to note then that various states are increasingly setting for themselves ambitious targets like a $1 trillion economy goal.

Many UP officials, for instance, said that the investors’ vote of confidence in UP at the meet would help them “to reach the $1 trillion economy milestone”. India aspires to be a developed economy by 2047 and a $5 trillion economy in the next few years.

More than any discussion around politics, it is the discourse around businesses and economy that, more often than not, tends to be a unifying force. When states compete with each other in improving ease of doing business, and in being better investment destinations, both lives and livelihoods are made better.

According to Government data, for FY 2021-22, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Delhi were the top recipient states of FDI. According to recent CMIE data, Gujarat and Rajasthan are India’s top investment destinations. After its successful investors’ meet, UP would surely like to rank among the very best.