The Uttar Pradesh government received what it said was an overwhelming response from business heads on the opening day of its ‘Investors Summit’, with 1,045 proposals worth Rs 4.28 trillion. The biggest announcement came from Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani, who promised aggregate investment of Rs 350 billion over the next five years. Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani promised extension of his Reliance Jio telecom venture, with fresh investment worth Rs 100 billion. Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, committed Rs 250 bn for the state in the next five years. Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra Group, said his group could set up a manufacturing unit for electric vehicle if the state government came up a with a favourable policy in this regard. This is the first time that as many as 5,000 delegates, including foreigners, have participated in any investor summit held by the state government. So much so, that senior officer said: “We had expected investments only up to Rs 1 trillion. Now, implementation would be a challenge.” For, the past record of the government on implementing the big-ticket proposals signed during earlier such investor summits, such as those held by former chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, has been dismal. What could work this time for the UP government is favourable support from the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre.
Modi, selective about attending such meets held by various state governments, flew to Lucknow with many cabinet ministers. These included home minister Rajnath Singh (who represents Lucknow in the Lok Sabha), commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, textiles and information & broadcasting minister Smriti Irani, and food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.Modi assured the tycoons that state chief minister Yogi Adityanath would personally monitor and ensure speedy implementation of each project. And, that his government would support UP’s one district, one product policy through various central schemes, such as the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. A consultant, who works with various investors, said Modi throwing weight behind the state government had given confidence to the investors. “But, investors, mostly foreigners, are still worried about labour issues in UP. They are only interested in setting up businesses in Noida, Greater Noida and the Yamuna Expressway as only these areas have some infrastructure, beside also being close to Delhi.” Modi also tried to dispel apprehensions of the investors by informing them that UP would benefit from upcoming international airports, at Jewar and Kushinagar, and two dedicated rail freight corridors, the Delhi-Mumbai one and Amritsar-Kolkata, passing through Dadri, near Noida. “Not red tape but red carpet will welcome investors,” Modi said. He also exhorted Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra to compete with each other in becoming the first trillion dollar economy in India. Modi also used the platform to reach out to the state's voters, who send 80 members to the Lok Sabha. He spoke on the success stories of flagship schemes run by the Union government and a 'defence industrial corridor' to the drought-hit Bundelkhand area. “There is a direct investment opportunity of about Rs 200 billion and it would generate over 250,000 jobs,” he said. Chief Minister Adityanath said his government was looking to generate additional job opportunities for around four million people through these investments.