At a power packed evening in Bhopal, on October 16, Business Today, India's largest circulated business magazine felicitated the Business Leaders of Madhya Pradesh. The eight winners - Grasim Industries, Prataap Snacks, Vectus Industries, Kriti Nutrients, Infobeans Technologies, Agarwal Coal Corporation, Dilip Buildcon and NHDC, represented the state's best manufacturing companies, best food processing and FMCG companies, best services firm, best PSU, best services exporter and an overall (best of best) winner. Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in his key note address before giving away the awards to the winners, listed out the reform measures his government has undertaken after taking charge 10 months ago to address and arrest slowdown in the economy. He also said the state had a logistical advantage. "We are in the GST regime and there is no state that is better located (than MP)," he said.
The awards function, 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, in his opening address, S.R. Mohanty, Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh, listed out the achievements and plans of the Kamal Nath government to spur investments and generate employment in the state. Mohanty said the government's just announced real estate policy has brought down the list of clearances needed for a project from 27 to just five. Hinting at the industrial policy that was unveiled at the Indore summit, Mohanty said the policy is just the beginning of the government's reform 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 a state-of-the-art skill park and second only to the one in Singapore," he said.
Addressing the first panel discussion on industrial clusters, Rajesh Rajora, Principal Secretary, Industries, MP, said the state was one of the first movers in the country in terms of industrial clusters. "The Pithampur automobile and pharmaceutical clusters are very successful. More than Rs 25,000 crore worth of pharmaceutical products, including high end products are manufactured from here," he said, adding that clusters should be close to raw material sources, and markets. "We have already established industrial water supply facilities to meet the requirement for the next 50 years. Connectivity from Indore and Bhopal are showing an upward swing," Rajora said.
R.S. Goswami, President, Federation of Madhya Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FMPCCI), said he wanted the government to move away from a licence renewal system for establishments and towards a licence retention system for ease of doing business. Avinash Sethi, Nasscom SME Council (MP Lead), and Co-Founder and CFO, InfoBeans Technologies, illustrated how MP government's IT park in Indore has helped develop a software services cluster in the state.
The second panel on 'making MP the heartland of food processing' saw industry veterans and experts deliberate on the need to build on the existing ecosystem for food processing. Amit Kumat, MD and CEO, Prataap Snacks, stressed the need for faster regulatory approvals and incentives to promote agri-practices. Nikhil Rathi, Regional Manager, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, Agri Business Division, ITC, highlighted the importance of end-to-end engagement of corporate players to make farmer engagements sustainable and successful.
S.S. Sundaram, representing EY, called for more investments in testing labs, farmer training, input quality, etc. He also wanted agriculture universities to play a bigger role. Rudra Pratap Singh Chauhan, Founder and MD, Fresh-O-Veg, said a portion of mandi cess should go towards the creation of Madhya Pradesh brands of agriculture produce.
P.C. Sharma, Cabinet Minister, Law and Legal Affairs Department, Government of MP, who addressed the 'Make in MP' session, highlighted the government's plans to create huge skill development centres to provide quality labour for the industry. He said the government will leverage the state's unique location advantage. Dilip Gaur, MD, Grasim Industries, said the state should utilise its inherent advantages to promote social forestry for renewable feedstock, and use its natural resources for developing green power and green alcohol. Himanshu Rai, Director, IIM Indore, stressed the need for processes and called for the development of a culture that focuses on industry-academia linkages. Rohan Suryavanshi, Head-Strategy and Planning, Dilip Buildcon, said absence of vendetta politics and stable policies can create an investor friendly image for the government.
Mohammad Athar, Partner- Economic Development and Infrastructure, PwC India, moderated the first and last sessions.
Raj Chengappa, Editorial Director, Publishing, Indian Today Group, welcomed the chief guest. Rajeev Dubey, Editor, Business Today, welcomed the gathering and explained the selection criteria for the awards.