Uttar Pradesh’s bandwagon of ministers has been travelling across the length and breadth of the country since early January 2023, looking to meet and greet investors as they build up to the Uttar Pradesh Global Investors Summit (UPGIS) 2023. With an aim to attract investments amounting to Rs 17 lakh crore for the February event, the delegation was led by CM Yogi Adityanath when the roadshow began from Mumbai and subsequently visited cities including Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
The UP troupe has already managed to attract commitments worth over Rs 7 lakh crore from investors abroad and it rolled into Bengaluru to meet investors on 23 January.
During the Bengaluru leg of the roadshow, BW Businessworld’s Rohit Chintapali got in touch with Yogendra Upadhyaya, UP Cabinet Minister (Higher Education, Science & Technology, and Electronics & Information Technology). In a brief conversation, the Minister spoke about interest observed by the UP government amongst investors for the UPGIS 2023, his experience in Bengaluru and the eagerly awaited Lok Sabha elections. Read on for excerpts from the interview.
Why did it take so long for UP to conduct an event like Uttar Pradesh Global Investors Summit (UPGIS) 2023?
Initially, our CM Yogi-ji invested time in creating an environment of safety and security in the state, which was important. Prior to our government, the political strata in UP promoted corruption and criminal activities. We wanted to shed that image or no one would have invested in the state. Now, investors come to us out of ambition and self-interest.
How has been your roadshow experience across seven cities, especially, in Bengaluru?
Our experience has been fantastic. We also had the chance to see good interest come in from countries abroad. I had the opportunity to see the enthusiasm even in Paris and Netherlands. People welcomed us and exclaimed: “Oh, you’re from Modi’s country!”. We signed MoUs worth Rs 25,000 crore there. Similarly in Bengaluru, we have signed more than Rs 25,000 crore worth of MoUs from investors. More interest is being shown from Bengaluru and surrounding areas. Our team will stay back to evaluate these.
You are in the IT capital of the country. Do you see UP becoming an IT hub in the near future?
Big possibilities await UP in Noida and NCR region. We want to make UP an IT hub. We have introduced a new IT scheme which has empowered many investors to put in their money in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) that is located around Agra. The government is providing extra incentives and privileges to attract more investors to UP.
Any big development in UP’s IT domain recently?
Recently, Hiranandani group’s wholly-owned subsidiary Yotta Infrastructure unveiled North India’s first hyperscale data centre at its Greater Noida Data Center Park. The company has also signed MoUs worth almost Rs 40,000 crore to invest in UP.
Who was your biggest investor in the Bengaluru leg of the UPGIS 2023?
We were divided in two groups. In our group, one investor made a proposal to invest Rs 1,000 crore on the basis of wanting 500-acre land. They wanted the land in two parts: 100-acre and 400-acre. We discussed on this. While we did find 100-acre of land to be under our vision, we will have to think about the remaining 400-acre. If this goes through, they would be the biggest investors from our group of Bengaluru roadshow.
Can UPGIS 2023 achieve the revised target of CM Yogi to bring in investments worth Rs 17 lakh crore?
Definitely. In fact, we will go beyond the set target under the leadership of CM Yogiji.
What are the focus areas? What kind of investments is UP looking for?
We are open to investments from all industries, including IT and education. Let me talk about education sector. Within 5 months, we have had 7 investors whom we have given approvals to for establishing universities. Similarly, there will be degree colleges too. Some want to encourage sports and they too are opening colleges. In healthcare, many investors are on the lookout to establish super-specialty hospitals in UP.
Not very long ago, Uttar Pradesh would often be in headlines for the wrong reasons. Has UP become a friendlier state? What have you been hearing from the investors throughout the roadshow for UPGIS 2023?
Let me give you an example. Few months back in Agra, gold- and silver-product manufacturers from all over the country were in UP for a meet. In jest, I asked one of the businessmen: “Is this the UP where women wear fake gold chains in the fear of getting robbed?” He said, “That UP was different, this is Yogi’s UP.” That’s the kind of change which has come about in the state. All over India, this is the perception of UP now.
Are the criminals scared of the Yogi-government?
There should always be a fear amongst criminals. Otherwise, they would feel free to commit crimes. State governments prior to Yogi-sarkar was fraternising with the criminal world. But now, we have a zero-tolerance policy from criminals.
What are your predictions for the Lok Sabha elections in 2024?
There is no one opposing us. It’s a one-sided contest. No one could beat Modiji in the past elections. BJP will win 80 out of 80 seats in UP.