Under the leadership of Mayur Maheshwari, the CEO of Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Authority (UPSIDA), Uttar Pradesh has seen many marquee infra projects take flight and the state is already being noticed for its drastic shift in infra development.
Now that the state is all geared to host the UP Investment Summit 2023, Maheswari spoke to BW Businessworld about the key achievements of UP on the infra front and more.
We know the state of Uttar Pradesh has demographic advantage, but it has lagged to leverage this strength, how are you altering this imbalance?
I will start with the initial perception of the state. When I joined as an officer, it was considered as a laggard state with a lot of potential, but that potential could not be harnessed to its best.
But thanks to the leadership of our Hon’ble Chief Minister who has given us mandate to leapfrog on the trajectory of the trillion dollar economy in which the core of it will be led by the industry sector.
Attracting investment has to be the backbone of this entire economic landscape. Our state government has given us clear directions to move from a regulatory environment to a facilitatory environment. In this broad landscape we are fast shifting from an agrarian, rural economy to an industrialised economy in which the per capita GDP will be significantly enhanced. All these measures are ensuring that the state of UP leverages its demographic advantage.
Which are the star attractions as far as the new infra projects in the state of UP are concerned?
UP is now the land of expressways, we have the largest number of expressways in the country. Around 40 percent of the total expressway capacity is now in UP. With the upcoming Ganga expressway, this capacity will further be augmented.
Being such a big state, and given the length of expressways, the second in terms of connectivity infrastructure is the number of airports. We have nine functional airports which is the largest in the country. To add to it, we have five international airports , three are already functional and two are coming up. We are also at the cusp of eastern and western dedicated freight corridors. So, road connectivity, rail connectivity, air connectivity, and to top it, the upcoming multi modal connectivity starting from Varanasi are some of the top projects that we have undertaken to put UP as the most developed destination for industries.
So UP, despite being landlocked, offers hyper connectivity and it is a testimony to the path that the government is taking.
Are there any particular sectors that you are focusing on while building UP’s big infra projects?
In terms of investment opportunities, since it is a largely rural and agrarian economy , we see big scope in agri business.
The government is also planning corridors of industries along these highways which will bring prosperity to the region and supplement the efforts of the local human resource which will be augmented from the state itself.
The big contribution from the state will also be towards the IT centres that are coming up. Noida has now become the country’s capital of data centres. When it comes to the number of electric vehicles in the country, UP happens to be the leader and we are attracting industries that will further enable and strengthen the EV ecosystem in the country.
While developing infra projects, the land acquisition process can make it or break it. How are you making this process more efficient?
To begin with, any industry needs land. It is one of the most important aspects of production. Our government and our Hon’ble Chief Minister’s vision, in line with Hon’ble PM’s vision, is to provide fundamental factors like land in a plug and play model to the budding investors.
For this we have partnered with landowners and farmers in this journey and engaged with them in a consultative manner to share the investments that are coming to us through their land in terms of providing them opportunities for employment and for development of their area. The entire ecosystem is designed in a way that we first have to reach an agreement and then start work.
You are also heading the ‘One District, One Product’ initiative in the state, how is it panning out?
It’s a unique and novel concept by the government of UP which was started in January 2018 and recognises the unique potential of all our 75 districts. In each district you will find something very innovative and every district has a story to tell. So, we are trying to recognise what our people already have and help them go from local to global, and that is the role we are playing under the “One District, One Product Initiative”.
How is the Ayodhya vision and the Ayodhya masterplan shaping up?
The objective of the government is to blend tradition with modernity. Ayodhya, as we know, is a revered place for all of us, and with the new Ram Temple coming up it will open up new opportunities to every sector be it hospitality, tourism, industry. In fact all the sectors are waiting for this development to occur.
From UPSIDC to UPSIDA, what has been the biggest change apart from the nomenclature?
UPSIDC’s journey began in 1961 and at a time of corporate run model of governance .
Now with the government’s push to synergise the roles, all of them have been merged into Industrial Development Authorities now, the silos have broken and the policy parameters are more homogenous.