Power, tourism, transport, education, expressways and sugar on priority list.
The Uttar Pradesh government is prepared to divest from all sectors where private investors are willing to enter, V N Garg, principal secretary of its industrial development department, said.
The state would, instead, primarily focus on framing the right policies and creating an amicable environment for business to flourish, he underlined.
He listed power, tourism, transport, education, expressways and sugar as priority sectors, where the government is vigorously pursuing a private-public partnership model of development.
He said this at the Business Standard Round-Table on ‘Uttar Pradesh: The Development Agenda’ here on September 25.
His assurances are part of an effort by the industrially backward state’s administration to invite private inverstors in a big way.
The New Economic Policy announced by the Mayawati government in December 2007 had envisaged investments of over $25 billion (Rs 100,000 crore), with a major thrust on PPP. However, the results have not been satisfactory.
Garg mentioned that the state government had undertaken several initiatives which could be counted as a first in the country, including the Rs 30,000-crore Ganga Expressway Project.
“However, the perception about UP largely remains of an agrarian, under-developed state, where a majority of the people live below the poverty line,” he said.
Conceding that investments in the state were much below the potential, he stressed ‘Brand UP’ needed to be presented to prospective investors and industry in a much appealing and convincing manner.
He added the government had taken several policy decisions to project UP as an ideal investment destination. “At the same time, we also have to appreciate that infrastructure cannot be created in a day, but over a span of time with the active participation of all the stakeholders, including the government, industry and citizens.”
Garg lamented that the backwardness and lack of development in the state could be largely attributed to the lack of an active civil society in the state.
“There is tremendous investment opportunity available in the state, given its large geographical size, population and demand. Investors must seize this opportunity,” he emphasised.
He made a special reference to the Yamuna Expressway and GEP to buttress his point and said about 48 per cent investment had already been done in the former to date.
“Expressways are not merely roads, but corridors of development. These projects will lead to a silent revolution and create several smaller townships along their course,” he added.
He admitted the power sector was a laggard and the state was partnering with the private sector to ramp up generation in a big way, to address the demand-supply mismatch.
“In the transport sector, UP needs 90,000 buses, while the UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) has a fleet of 15,000 buses only. The state also needs 500 bus stations to connect all important destinations. This throws up a huge opportunity for private investors,” he noted.
Besides Garg, panelists at the Round-Table included Mirza International chairman Irshad Mirza; Giri Institute of Development Studies director A K Singh; CII UP Council vice-chairperson Jayant Krishna; and World Bank consultant and Lucknow University professor Arvind Mohan.
Other participants included leading industrialists from across sectors, economists, bankers, industry association representatives, among others.
Industry demanded an efficient single-window clearance system, representation on policy making bodies, a roadmap for development with tangible targets and special focus on the medium and small enteprises sector, which formed the industrial base in the state.