I am acting as a catalyst to attract investment, says Kamal Nath

Kamal Nath
Just before the 'Magnificent Madhya Pradesh' investor event, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath talks to on his vision regarding investment opportunities, jobs and industrial development of the state. Edited excerpts:

What are your expectations from this investment summit? The previous government also organised many such and there were commitments but no substantial investment was seen on the ground.

This is not an investors summit as organised by the previous government. It is more like a forum to bring together industry stalwarts and government representatives,  to deliberate on opportunities and challenges in various sectors. We want to create an environment of trust for industries and to promote 'Ease of Doing Business' in a real sense.  It needs a concrete action plan to fulfill this vision.

The upcoming summit gives us an opportunity to listen to what industry leaders have to say and to respond in a positive manner. Our objective is to promote inclusive growth — so, it is necessary we promote industries that create jobs, enhance export and impact people positively. I am confident this forum will help us fulfill these objectives.

Have you fixed any specific targets  (in terms of money committed) for the summit? In August, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani had said he planned a global logistics hub in MP. Any progress in this?

We do not have any specific target. This summit is more like a platform to showcase the various opportunities the state offers to the investor community. We will not sign any MoU (memorandum of understanding), as attracting investment is an ongoing process and will continue through the government's tenure. One day is not enough to gauge the state's potential to attract investment. We have received investment interest from various groups and work is underway in all of these.

There is talk that the state government is adopting a land pooling model to attract industries. 

We are committed to offer the best business environment and are studying the best practices across the country and the globe. Land acquisition is a lengthy and costly process; many a time, these projects are marred with litigation. For the first time in India, we are coming up with a land pooling policy for industrial purposes. We have done meticulous planning for this. In this model, participating landowners will not have to relinquish their ownership rights; instead, they will become partners in the development process. They will be direct beneficiaries of all the future price appreciation on the land. Additionally, a 20 per cent cash component of their land compensation will provide them immediate liquidity. The government will issue land pooling certificates to participating land owners. This will be a tradable instrument.

This project is yet to be launched?

The MP Industrial Development Corporation is running a pilot project on land pooling at Pithampur (an industrial area), Sector 5. The first phase of this aims to create an industrial land pool of 400 hectares. In many cases, we have observed earlier, land was acquired at lower cost and later sold on higher prices to industry; land owners felt cheated. The new model will stop such a practice. I personally feel it will encourage land owners to come forward and offer their land. 

The general perception is that you are bringing investment on your personal relationships. If true, how would this ensure sustainability?

Investment is an article of faith and attracting it is a long-term process. I am acting as a catalyst to attract investment and to ensure growth of the state. We need to develop trust among the investor community, so that they feel confident while investing in the state. We are also providing them real ease of doing business, so that the experience of a single window clearance is smooth. This single window should open the door of opportunities, not open further windows and make the whole process highly complex. 

Unemployment is one of the biggest challenges the country, as well as the state, faces. What are your plans to tackle this?

Our government sees the youth of the state as a key enabler and partner in industrial growth. Capacity building of our youth is one of the key pillars of our vision and we plan to establish world-class skill development institutes. A global skill centre in Bhopal  is under implementation. These institutes will help impart  updated skills to youth. We are also focused on attracting industries to generate employment for our youth. Our focus is more on employment-intensive sectors. Our industrial policy provides up to 50 per cent additional incentives to employment-oriented units.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel