Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

‘Brand UP’ future uncertain, firms await govt move

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow | Posted: July 3, 2014 2:55 am | Updated: July 23, 2014 2:36 pm

At a time when Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is all for promoting investment and his government even spending large sums of money on advertisement for the same, his own Infrastructure and Industrial Development Department seems to be in state of confusion over how to go about promoting the “Brand UP” slogan.

On the pattern of Gujarat, the state government had decided to take professional help to promote “Brand UP” in India and abroad. But if the past few months are any indicative of the government’s efforts, the slogan has failed to soar even in UP with the tender to select the three support agencies — event management agency; design and creative agency; and media and public relation agency — still not over and dates getting postponed several times. These agencies are supposed to prepare the Invest UP web-site plan and manage events, banners, hoardings, publicity material, plan domestic/international road-shows, and investors meets for the government.

The government was also slated to begin its schedule of visits and road shows in foreign countries by the end of July but even the planning, sources inform, has not started yet.

Senior IAS officer Sanjiv Saran, principal secretary in the IIDD, is on a month-long leave, which he took soon after the investors’ meet in Delhi on June 12, leaving Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan in charge of the many responsibilities of the department besides his own.
Government sources say it would take around nine months to prepare for the Global Investors Summit that the UP government plans to conduct in Agra in February 2015, supposed to be the concluding event in the entire series of road shows and meets.

It needs mentioning that the government had first floated the tenders on February 28 this year to select agencies for its Long Term Investment Promotion Programme.

Initially, the tender was supposed to be finalised by April but the process could not move forward due to the Lok Sabha elections. A revised tender was floated on May 19 with the last date for submission kept as June 16. While the technical tender was supposed to be opened on the same date, the financial bid was scheduled to be opened on June 30.

In a fresh notice, the government informed the bidders that the technical bids would now open on July 11 while citing “some unavoidable circumstances”. There still, however, is no word on when the financial bid would open.

Sources say that about 13 companies had shown interest with Washington-based public relation firm APCO worldwide, which played a significant role in promoting Narendra Modi’s investment and development showcase “Vibrant Gujarat” internationally, being one of them. Other companies included New York-based JWT worldwide, advertising agencies like FCB Ulka, etc. All the companies, however, are waiting for the state government to take its next step forward.

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