Advocating the need for states to compete with each other in appealing investments, union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that states need to “reform or perish” in the era of competitive federalism.
India has become a competitive federalism, with states vying with each other to attract investment, he said while inaugurating the two-day ‘Happening Haryana Global Investors’ Summit in this Haryana city, connecting the national capital.
“Reform or perish could not be more true than it is today. It is about states competing with each other to attract investment.
“Those who don’t reform… people in those states are at a disadvantage and those who are in a position to offer more favourable economic, business and political environment to investors certainly are going to benefit,” Jaitley pointed out.
Noting that a growing number of Indian states were holding investor summits, he warned them that an environment of policy paralysis was bound to put off potential investors.
The investors’ summit begun here under the shadow of the recent Jat agitation for reservation which saw Haryana being paralysed by violence, leaving 30 people dead and losses to property pegged at over Rs.20,000 crore.
Referring to the violent protests, Jaitley said: “The dark clouds are over.”
Host state Haryana, which has seen big industrial investment in the past over three decades, signed 38 MoUs with different companies, involving an investment of Rs.1,28,740 crore.
These agreements included a MoU of Rs.45,365 crore for combined use development, office and retail, smart city signed with M3M, Rs.12,823 crore and Rs.11,100 crore for infrastructure with Vatika Ltd and IREO Private Ltd respectively.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar promised entrepreneurs and potential investors all out support by the government and ensured ease of doing business.
“I promise that you will never find my government hesitating or wanting, in going the extra mile to support your ventures. Our enterprises promotion policy, 2015, is just a beginning,” he said.
“We have planned some major economic policy reforms in the coming days,” he said.
The summit has been partnered by 11 countries – China, Czech Republic, Japan, Mauritius, Malawi, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, Spain, Tunisia, Britain – and Canada’s Ontario province.
Listing key initiatives taken by his government to make things easy for investors, Khattar said Haryana had already ended the uncertainty over future enhancements in cost of industrial plots, launched e-biz portal, introduced automatic change of land use in 75 development blocks in the state, done away with the CLU necessity in 31 blocks, and set up three-tier grievance redressal system for both existing and new investors.
To encourage small and medium enterprises, the state government will reserve 20 percent of its purchases for this sector, Industries Minister Abhimanyu announced at the summit.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar pitched for investment in the state, particularly in the defence-related sectors, given its proximity to the national capital, technology base and skilled manpower.
He suggested that the state government target on possibilities of defence and aerospace industry.
“Haryana has made significant contribution to the Indian army, with one person from almost every family in the state serving in the army,” he said.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu released that a rail coach factory would be set up in Haryana.
“We want to take the rail infrastructure at the next level so that Haryana will further become an infra hub and contribute significantly in growth of the country,” he said.
Leading industrialists and heads of leading companies, including Gautam Adani (Adani group), Y.C. Deveshwar (ITC), R.C. Bhargava (Maruti-Suzuki), Sunil Kant Munjal (Hero Motocorp), cardiologist Naresh Trehan (Medanta Hospitals), Subhash Chandra (Essel-Zee group), Rajiv Singh (DLF) and Wang Jianlin (Dalian Wanda group of China) and others were present on the first day of the summit.