E-Governance and good governance are two key factors supporting economic growth in the State. While e-governance brings transparency and much-needed pace to public affairs, good governance is moving ahead as per the laid down principles and policies keeping the larger public interest in mind. Being responsive and accountable, UP needs to work more on these counts, says Dr Hari Om, Secretary, General Administration Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh, in an interview with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).
How do you look at UP Investor Summit as an event and platform to attract investment? What opportunities do you see for industries?
UP is the largest State of India not only geographically and population-wise but also in terms of human and natural resources. We have abundance of water, mines and minerals, fertile agricultural land, land block, huge consumer market etc. Every corner of UP is known for some or the other marketable produce. Moreover, we are the historical, cultural and religious heart of the country so a huge potential in cultural and religious tourism exists. The present government is trying hard to speed up the pace of development in the State and the investors summit is a remarkable move in that direction. The summit will host bigwigs of the industrial sector.
If the plans of the Government succeed, the State will benefit in a big way by opening up a vista for new economic and business opportunities for the people of the State. It will also generate jobs. This, in addition, will make a favourable environment for the ongoing economic ventures in the State. Government is already focussing on infrastructure— electricity, roads, water, housing etc. UP has to develop if India wants to develop. So, Investor summit is a welcome step by our government.
How does the Governance and the infrastructure in UP support the industries? Do you feel we have a pro-industry environment in the State?
Infrastructure is the basis of development. Roads, electricity, water, housing, all forms of transport are required for growth. All the previous governments have tried their bit to develop the State. The present government is also having the development agenda on the top. Since, last two and half decades-post liberalisation, economy of UP has seen a remarkable growth in infrastructure. Good cities have come up. Good roads have come up. Lucknow is witnessing Metro. Air connectivity has improved in a big way. Highways have come up. Villages are having road connectivity and improved electric supply.
Health facilities and its coverage has also gone up. All this will support the pace of growth and attract investment in new sectors. Apart from the infrastructure we need to give good governance, maintain law and order, ensure equity in opportunities, welfare schemes and delivery system. Good governance ensures that the principles of just, fair, free, accountable and responsive governance are not compromised. Transparency in the administrative processes ensured.
Safety and security is watched and new ideas, initiatives and ventures are supported without bias. E-governance has ensured that the decisions are taken in public interest. UP is moving very fast on this count. Everything is now online-tenders, purchases, file system, land records, complaint redressal etc. This will help in future.
What are the potential sectors you feel that UP must have investment in and should get investment out of this UP Investment Summit?
A lot more is required on this count. Infrastructure sector needs a push—Metro is an area. Apart from Lucknow present Government has announced metro projects for Varanasi, Kanpur etc. New expressways are needed to connect eastern parts of the State. New airports are needed. Jewar has been on the the list for long. Electricity is the other area. Rural areas and small cities are still not getting enough power supply.
Investment in needed to augment the production capacity but also streamline the existing distribution networks as the lines are pretty old causing huge line losses. Solar energy can be a key sector in the state. Health is another potential area. Government has announced many AIIMS like institutions. Rural areas are still facing shortage of doctors and other para medicos. Agro based industries are other area. Food processing industries are a must. We produce potatoes in abundance but most of it goes waste lacking storage and processing. Dairies can support huge population in rural UP. Amul type initiative needed. Religious and cultural tourism has huge potential. Hardware and software of computers is also an area. Skill development of educated and uneducated youth can also be a good sector. Revival of traditional sectors like cotton, silk fabric of east, pottery and brass of west may also invite investment.
What we have seen in the recent past that industries do come but they prefer Noida, Greater Noida and most likely Lucknow to establish their factories. The areas like Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal seem getting sidelined. Why?
Yes it’s true. Industries are confined to Noida because its close to Delhi. At the most, companies prefer to come to Lucknow but UP needs to develop eastern part and Bundelkhand. We must understand that industries don’t come to develop you. They come to do business, make profit out of their ventures. And, any good venture needs full support and fair play. Good infrastructure, health, education, peaceful atmosphere to do business and good governance is needed. But, it also depends on the nature of industries. If you want to make cement you need to go to Sonebhadra.
Bundelkhand is not attracting industries because it’s poor in water resources. We have to think of planning area specific economic ventures and provide basic facilities for such activities. We wish that things move in the right direction and the State witnesses better growth in near future. We all want to see our UP as a developed state. The present government is going ahead on development path with open arms, mind and heart. Let’s see what future upholds for us.