President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the concluding session of the UP Investors Summit 2018 on February 22, 2018 in Lucknow. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Uttar Pradesh is a state teeming with talented young people. It comprises one of the largest workforces, as well as consumer markets, not only in India but anywhere in the world. It is home to some of India’s finest institutions of higher education, such as IIT Kanpur, IIM Lucknow, Banaras Hindu University, Allahabad University and so many others. This talent pool and this energy give Uttar Pradesh the base to become an economic powerhouse. They make it an irresistible destination for investors.
The President said that the recent period has been one of enormous economic changes for India – of soaring aspirations and achievements. The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax has been a milestone. It has broken down barriers between states. It has provided a boost to the creation of a common market and a more formal economy. Filing of taxes under GST has been made progressively smoother. The switch from cash to digital payments has been notable and has created new opportunities. The simplification of procedures for tax payers, business-persons and investors has led to India making significant advances in Ease of Doing Business. The opening of more and more sectors to greater private and global investment has also drawn appreciation. As a consequence of this, there has been a sharp rise in FDI in the past three years – from US$ 36 billion in 2013-14 to US$ 60 billion in 2016-17.
The President said that our reform process seeks to make such economic changes meaningful to all segments of our society – and to all regions of our country. Programmes such as MUDRA, Start-up India and Stand-up India are promoting grassroots enterprise and small businesses – and helping integrate these with the larger economy. In parallel, the union government has transferred a larger share of tax revenues as well as economic and policy responsibilities to the states. Increasingly, the economic future of India is being written by states and state governments, such as that of Uttar Pradesh.
The President said that the Uttar Pradesh government has shown determination in providing a facilitative environment for business and for investors. The ‘Nivesh Mitra’ single-window-portal has made it easier to start an enterprise in the state. The state government has begun implementing the ‘Business Reform Action Plan 2017’ as per the union government’s suggestions. A new policy has been rolled out to enhance industrial investment and employment. All these changes have boosted the confidence of investors.
The President said that Uttar Pradesh is a state of farmers. Farmers here have shown great determination in accepting modern technologies. There is need for developing the entire agri-value chain so that small farmers can sell their produce at a fair price, and large investors can develop cold storages and other infrastructure, and have good marketing facilities. Uttar Pradesh is a leading producer of many agricultural commodities. There are enormous opportunities for large investments in the state in agriculture-based businesses such as food parks, food processing units, animal husbandry and dairy products manufacture.
Pointing to the ‘Ek Janpad –Ek Utpad’ scheme of the Uttar Pradesh government, the President said that we should learn from countries such as Italy and France to enhance earnings and increase employment through branding and marketing of traditional handicrafts. Our artisans are very skilled and we should use their skills effectively. This will result in economic progress of crafts-persons in every district of Uttar Pradesh and every district will be able to carve out its distinctive identity.
The President said that investing in human resources is of utmost importance. The Uttar Pradesh government has made a very substantial provision for education in its recent budget. Resources will be used for basic and secondary education along with technical education and higher education. This investment will have far-reaching benefits for the young talent in the state. He appreciated the Uttar Pradesh government for giving top priority to education as a building block of the economy.
President said that investors have shown great enthusiasm due to progressive governance and forward-looking policies. But the task of taking the state forward is not just that of the government. All residents are partners in the development of this state. He urged the people of Uttar Pradesh to extend their traditional hospitality to investors, tourists and all economic stakeholders. Apart from attracting investments of an economic kind, the progress of Uttar Pradesh should motivate those who come to the state to become emotionally invested in it.