Jan. 28: The most exciting moment for chief minister Akhilesh Yadav today seemed to come when the president of the US-India Business Council, Ron Somers, announced at the CII Partnership Summit in Agra that American companies were ready to invest in Uttar Pradesh.
Somers’s statement came during the Q&A hour immediately after Akhilesh had addressed an exclusive session on the heartland state on the summit’s second day.
“Americans are coming to UP,” Somers said. “American firms are keenly interested in investing in UP’s agri-processing sector and power sector, considering the potential and opportunities. With the proposed capex (capital expenditure) in new power projects of 16,000MW, there is an opportunity of $16 billion for potential investors.”
Akhilesh beamed. “I’m happy; UP has impressed the investors,” he said from his seat on the dais.
An hour earlier, the chief minister had unveiled his government’s policies on six sectors: solar energy, power, food-processing, sugar, information technology and animal husbandry. The policies dealt with tax incentives, land availability, geographical locations where investment can be made, and a timetable within which proposals will be cleared.
During the Q&A, the industrialists sought to know how well the policies would be implemented. Akhilesh reassured them his government would give this top priority.
Somers announced that a US business delegation would visit Uttar Pradesh in March to translate partnership proposals into action.
“There is a $10-billion opportunity in the defence sector through the defence offset policy of the Indian government. UP can benefit hugely from this offset policy, if leveraged properly,” he said.
Jaiprakash Gaur, the founder chairman of infrastructure giant Jaiprakash Associates Ltd, said Akhilesh had been “at his persuasive best”.
“That is what a chief minister can do to reach out to prospective investors. The state will regain its pre-eminent position in industrial development under the dynamic leadership of the chief minister,” Gaur said.Officials said the state had received 43 proposals at the end of the session, of which 23 had come from foreign firms. The major proposals came from the US, Sweden, France and the Emirates, they said.
Among Indian entrepreneurs, Vineet Mittal, promoter and managing director of Welspun Energy Ltd, spoke of investing in clean and renewable energy in Uttar Pradesh.
K.K. Modi, the chairman of Modi Enterprises, made an investment proposal on infrastructure development. “It’s an opportune time to invest in the state,” he told reporters.
Akhilesh promised to come up with more policies on various sectors.