Maharashtra, which is facing stiff competition from Gujarat, Harayana, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Jharkhand in attracting industrial investments, has launched an exercise to frame a new industrial policy, which is expected to be released by March.
State Industries Minister Narayan Rane said the policy would focus on attracting big ticket investments in the state through introduction of a single window system and improvement in infrastructure needed for development of industries. The policy would also lay emphasis on employment generation.
“State is receiving queries from various companies to make investments in Maharashtra. We want to ensure that investors are able to complete their projects in a hassle-free manner. Strengthening one window system will be one of the options and the policy will spell out various other investor-friendly provisions,” Rane told Business Standard.
Rane’s statement is crucial especially when Tatas have preferred Gujarat for its Nano project and not Maharashtra despite the group having its significant presence in the state. Besides, Videocon Group had to scrap the SEZ project in Pune district following strong opposition by locals for land acquisition. Moreover, Dow Chemicals also suspended its research project in Chakan industrial estate near Pune.
CS Deshpande, Executive Director of Maharashtra Economic Development Council said the state government had announced a comprehensive and integrated industrial policy in November 2006.
While the mega project incentives in the policy had worked successfully and enabled the state to attract global giants like GM, Skoda and Volkswagen, the other ingredients of the policy such as implementation of golden quadrilateral and labour market information cell remained relatively neglected.
“Hence, the speedy and time-bound implementation of the proposals already existing in the earlier policy should get the priority they deserve. The new policy should focus on much better ease of doing business, especially for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, which is the backbone of the state’s industry. Further, the policy should lay emphasis on transparent and stakeholder-friendly policy and procedure for land acquisition.
At the same time, the state should now enact the SEZ legislation, which has been pending since over five years. For enhancing industrial activities in the low Human Development Index (HDI) districts such as Dhule, Gadchiroli, Osmanabad, the emphasis should be on the mapping of resources (forests, minerals) available in these districts,” Deshpande noted. MN Chaini, former president of Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC) admitted that the state government’s present policy was reasonably good. “However, the policy lacks commitment and implementation. In the proposed new policy, the government should give top priority to address issues relating to the availability of land, water and power. More importantly, corruption and delay are major hurdles faced by investors and the government will have to make all efforts to curb it,” he added.
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It also recommended that the state should focus on raising revenue without widening the tax net and simplifying the tax procedures