On his third US tour, Chhattisgarh CM eyes investment in ‘Priority Industries’

NEW YORK CITY (TIP): Every time he comes to the US, he ‘takes home something new.’ On his third US tour, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Dr Raman Singh wooed investors to invest in new sectors, highlighting the tremendous potential across those sectors in the state that has been declared as the ‘Best fiscally managed State’ by Reserve Bank of India. Singh, currently on an official tour of the US, highlighted investment opportunities in Chhattisgarh in front of a gathering at the Indian Consulate, New York on November 29. Senior state government officials accompanied him at the interactive luncheon event, jointly hosted by US India Business Council (USIBC) and the Consulate.

In his welcome address, Subodh Kumar Singh, Secretary to Chief Minister and Commerce & Industries, described how some of the key initiatives under Raman Singh’s leadership including railway network, industrial infrastructure and smart cities in Chhattisgarh has become the main driver of growth and development in the State. He also briefed the audience about the priority industries for investment – food processing, energy, life sciences, defense, information technology, electronics, and manufacturing.

Dr Mukesh Aghi, President of USIBC in his special remark, stressed on enhanced investment partnership between US and India.

There was a brief Power Point presentation by Vivek Dhand, Chief Secretary of Chhattisgarh, that highlighted recently implemented reforms including single window system, tax reforms, construction permits, environment & labor reforms, inspection reforms and commercial dispute and paperless courts. Given that the state came into existence only 16 years ago, he took the opportunity to mention that the World Bank has recently ranked Chhattisgarh fourth in Ease of Doing Business as per Ranking 2016 among all Indian states and Union Territories.

While giving introduction of Dr Raman Singh, the longest ever serving Chief Minister from BJP, Deputy Consul General Dr Manoj Kumar Mohapatra said, “Indo-US relationship is measured by number of visits. In the last two years Prime Minister Modi and President Obama met more than 12 times. That shows the defining partnership.”

Describing Chhattisgarh as ‘Heart of India’, the Chief Minister said, “I just want to tell you what it was 16 years back and what it is today.” Mentioning the reforms and policies undertaken during his tenure that has made the state a frontrunner in ease of doing business, Dr Singh said, “Chhattisgarh is the best destination for investment not just in the core sectors of mines and minerals but also in areas like IT, engineering and solar energy.”

Noting that investors may not be fully aware of the investment opportunities in the young, not so known resource-rich state, Dr Singh invited investors to visit Chhattisgarh to see the investment potential of the state. “Come, see, and then invest.”

A token of appreciation was presented to him by Dr Mukesh Aghi, followed by a Q&A session.

During the brief Q & A session, Prof. Indrajit S Saluja asked the chief minister to clarify on the allegation of a Rs. 36000 crore scam in the public distribution system in the State. Dr. Singh categorically denied there was any scam. He said it was a conspiracy. 60 lakh families benefitted from the scheme and nobody complained. “Our PDS model is unique. So far, no other state could follow that model”, Mr. Singh said.

Later, speaking with The Indian Panorama Chief Editor I S Saluja, in an exclusive interview, Dr Singh appealed to the NRIs to invest in Chhattisgarh. “Our state is the destination for investment. You will get all facilities there. The infrastructure is top class. I want investments in sectors like IT, engineering and solar energy. I am sure if they (NRIs) visit the state they will be convinced to invest. So, I want them to visit (Chhattisgarh).”

When asked if he wants to invite the media to visit Chhattisgarh so that they can project the bright side of the state, Dr Singh said, “Of course. I would invite my media friends here to visit Chhattisgarh. Every year in the first week of November we organize special event to showcase the development activities of our state. I will invite the media from US to come and have a fair idea about our activities.”

Dr Singh also said that he will ask his officials to be in direct touch with the ethnic media in US for a closer relationship to help boost the image of his state.