With the ushering in of an era of liberalization and various reforms initiatives at the Central and State level, the entire world has shrunk to a Global Village, and as a response to the changing economic environment, the nature of enterprise and the quality of entrepreneurship throughout our country has undergone a major metamorphosis said Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, while addressing well attended gathering of around 400 investors from Delhi NCR and country during the ‘Emerging Himachal Investors meet’, at New Delhi on late last evening.
Government of Himachal Pradesh and CII jointly organized Emerging Himachal-Investors Meet at New Delhi to promote Himachal Pradesh as preferred investment destination.
The Chief Minister said that our track record in industrial relations has been excellent with practically no man hours lost during the last few years, which was best in the region, he said. Emphasis were on for setting up ecologically sustainable projects, which complement our environment, he said.
Shri Virbhadra Singh that the State has comparatively higher per capita income of Rs. 104943 at current prices and as regards social indicators, our literacy rate of 82.82 percent was highest in the region. Our per capita public expenditure on general education, at Rs. 1391 was amongst one of the highest in the country, he added. “These statistics, besides indicating the stage of our economic growth will also leave no doubt about our commitment to continuously upgrade the social infrastructure in our State, which we believe is a prime motivator in attracting investments in any region”, said Shri Virbhadra Singh.
He said that a host of measures have been initiated across various line departments to ensure ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in our State and to make the services available online and ensure delivery of services in a time bound manner. The objective is to put in place one of the most efficient and hassle free system of approvals in keeping with the expectations of entrepreneurs. We seek to achieve this at one level by strengthening the ability of our government institutions to provide basic public services and on the other hand by giving an increasing role to the market in the performance of various functions traditionally handled by the Government, he said.
We are seeking to evolve new institutional designs so that all areas of government activity giving rise to hidden inefficiencies can be subjected to market discipline and expectations in order to further achieve the goals of cost effectiveness and accountability, said the Chief Minister. He further said that in pursuing the goal of accelerated development, we were visualising a pre-dominant role for the private sector in every area.
The Chief Minister said that comparative strength of the State was its hydel potential, climate and natural beauty and till now, we have largely looked on power and tourism as special areas of focus for attracting private sector investment. We realize that basic and professional education, high value health care, technologically advanced agriculture and horticulture, information technology and IT enabled governance and public interface together with creation of physical infrastructure for rapidly emerging urban areas like creation of special townships, social and civic amenities have the potential for attracting private investments, he added.
We are also open on new township development and augmentation of existing social and civic infrastructure of the existing ones, for private sector investment, which we would like to discuss with the established players in this field, he said.
He said that to ensure a non-polluting and eco-friendly environment, few complexes were being developed exclusively to promote specific industries like IT, BT and electronic units. It has been decided that to promote their growth, upstream and downstream industries would also be allowed to be set up there, he added. He said that the State would welcome units based on Information Technology and Software Development.
Shri Virbhadra Singh said that the Government had already simplified procedure for the approval of medium/large scale industrial projects besides making it online. In order to ensure expeditious clearances from the respective departments for the setting up of such projects, a Single Window Clearance and Monitoring Authority has been set up, he added. He further added that combined application form has been introduced which was available online and the process had been made time bound by giving clearances within a period of 45 days. He said the government had also put in place a fast track and simplified procedure for the transfer of land for industrial purposes and now it was possible for the State Government to permit transfer of private land for industrial /tourism/hydel purposes within a very short period.
Earlier, the Chief Minister, while interacting in a one to one meetings with some of the top industry leaders, built a strong case for H.P as a preferred investment destination and invited investments in the sectors like Tourism, Food Processing, IT & ITES, Pharmaceutical, Hydro power, Automobiles, Auto Components and Electronics manufacturing etc.
Industries, Labour & Employment Minister Shri Mukesh Agnihotri while speaking on the occasion thanked the Big Business houses for taking keen interest in the meet. He further added that the Government of Himachal Pradesh has envisioned transforming the State as the most preferred destination in the country for the entrepreneurs. He added that the State electricity regulator had already announced freezing of the power tariff upto 2018 at one fixed rate and that the rates of power in H.P were 20 to 30 percent lower than bordering States in Northern India, which would act as a fillip to industry in the State. He also listed about other big corporate houses investing in the State.
“We are aware, of the need to provide attractive incentives, concessions and facilities to attract investments in our State” he said, adding that Industrial and certain Tourism units are entitled to 15% investment subsidy on their plant and machinery. Besides industrial units were also getting 75% Freight subsidy for transportation of the finished goods and raw material from their factory site to the nearest designated rail heads.
Shri Agnihotri also came down heavily on BJP and said that Shri Virbhadra Singh who was elected for the sixth time as Chief Minister, it was obvious that he will be pressurised and attacked from his opponents.
He said that Himachal has extended its hands for the entrepreneurs to invest in State and the government will provide all facilities and sought support of the industrialists.
In his welcome address Mr Shreekant Somany, Chairman, CII Northern Region & Chairman & Managing Director, Somany Ceramics Ltd said that Himachal Pradesh has immense potential to emerge as one of the most economically developed State in India. The State is a leader in hill area development, agriculture and horticulture revolution and it offers wide range of fiscal incentives along with appropriate polices to provide conducive milieu to foster investments and development of industries, he added.
Representatives of TATA group of companies, Indorama, Apollo group and others renowned corporate houses while sharing their experience with the gathering appreciated the efforts being made by the gvernment to promote investments in the State and Chief Ministers direct interaction with the representatives of big industrial houses.
“CII is working with State Government on Range of issues such as attracting Investments to State, Ease of doing business, Skill building and fostering Entrepreneurship”, said Shri Rajiv Aggarwal, Chairman, CII Himachal Pradesh Council while addressing the meting. He also thanked the Chief Minister and his team for leading the initiative of inviting investors from the front.
An audio-video presentation of Himachal Pradesh as an ideal destination for investing and the milestones it has achieved in development was also screened on the occasion.
Chief Secretary, Shri P.Mitra, Additional Chief Secretaries, Shri V.C. Pharka, Shri Tarun Shridhar, Dr. Shrikant Baldi, and Shri R.D.Dhiman, Director, Tourism, Shri Mohan Chauhan, Director I&PR, Dr. M.P. Sood and other senior officers of the State Government including representatives of big corporate houses were also present on the occasion amongst industrial from big corporate houses.