The centre is doing "too little, too late", says Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on the measures announced by Narendra Modi government to tackle the economic slowdown in India. Stating that the major cause of slowdown is the "fear of the unknown", Nath wanted the Central government to instill hope and confidence about the future in the minds of consumers and investors.
"When banking system is under collapse, investment sentiment is at the lowest, youth unemployment is at its highest, is reducing tax the answer," he stated.
Delivering the key address at the Business Leaders of Madhya Pradesh (BLMP) award ceremony organised by Business Today magazine in Bhopal on October 16, Nath said that there is no sign of slowdown in his state as his government has managed to address the problem by putting money into the hands of rural farmers through farm loan waivers and initiating a series of confidence building measures to boost consumer expenditure and improve investment climate. "In MP, our car sales and two-wheeler sales have not gone down because people of the state see a future. There is no fear of the unknown," he said.
Nath said that his government has written off the agricultural loans of up to Rs 2 lakh of 21 lakh farmers in the first phase. "We have written off the loans of people who have not been defaulters also as by putting money into the rural economy, we are generating purchasing power", he explained.
He criticised the central government for indulging in diversionary tactics like revoking the special rights enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution without addressing the economic problem. "You cannot (play the) Pakistan (card) and Article 370 and leave everything else to fend for itself. India has the largest aspirational society of the planet."
The chief minister underscored the reform measures undertaken by his government in the last 10 months and hinted at major industry- and investment-friendly announcements that are on the anvil at the forthcoming Magnificent Madhya Pradesh industry summit planned by the state government at Indore during the week.
Later during the evening, the chief minister gave away Business Leaders of Madhya Pradesh awards to the best performing companies that are registered in the state. The awards winners, across categories were Grasim Industries, Prataap Snacks, Vectus Industries, Kriti Nutrients, Infobeans Technologies, Agarwal Coal Corporation, Dilip Buildcon and public sector firm NHDC.
The awards, the first in the Business Today's Business Leaders of State (BLOS) series, also saw three power-packed panel discussions on industrial clusters, food processing industries and manufacturing in Madhya Pradesh.
Setting the tone for the discussions, S R Mohanty, chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh in his opening address listed out the achievements and plans of Kamal Nath government to spur investments and generate employment in the state. Mohanty said the government just announced real estate policy has brought down the list of clearances that is need for a
project from 27 to just 5.
Hinting at the industrial policy that will be unveiled at the upcoming Indore summit, Mohanty said the policy will just be the beginning of the government's reforms measures as it is calibrating the incentives offered to specific industries to the potential jobs those investments will create. "The global skill park coming up in MP is going to be the state of the art skill park and second only to the one in Singapore", he said.
P C Sharma, cabinet minister, law and legal affairs department, Government of MP; Rajesh Rajora, principal secretary; and Himanshu Rai, Director, IIM Indore were among the speakers. The panelists also included leading industrialists, sector experts and consultants from globally reputed firms.
Raj Chengappa, Editorial Director, Publishing, India Today Group, welcomed the chief guest. Rajeev Dubey, Editor, Business Today, welcomed the gathering and explained the selection criteria.