Making a strong case for Maharashtra as an investment destination,Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Friday his government was working on a single-window clearance mechanism that will cut red tape. He also indicated a policy shift from industrial parks to industrial townships and from special economic zones (SEZs) to domestic tariff industrial townships.
It is an attractive destination and we are determined to make it more attractive, he told Shekhar Gupta,Editor-in-Chief,The Indian Express,at Strategic Growth Forum 2012,a three-day meet hosted by Ernst & Young.
With the existing infrastructure comprising international airports and ports and planned initiatives such as a dedicated freight corridor,investors would find Maharashtra a profit-oriented location,he said.
The Chief Minister was all for incentives to attract investment,but said these should be provided in a transparent manner.
Problem happens when there is pick and choose and large benefits are given to certain favoured people. That is where the heartburn comes in and that is where policies are questioned, said Chavan.
I think the line between a free market economy,public-private partnership and crony capitalism is very thin and that is where as a newly liberalised economy,we need to set up a regulator.
The Chief Minister blamed fractured polity for the lag in reforms and said creating consensus in a coalition was a difficulty.
It [reforms is a multi-level process and if you cant get an agreement in a coalition,it does not happen, he said.
Chavan said he was trying to reduce dependence on agriculture by planned and uniform industrialisation. He said he was trying to develop backward regions which were not as industrialised as other parts of the state.
One focussed effort is to make the state drought-proof by using modern irrigation techniques,precision agriculture and using market linkages so that price fluctuation doesnt affect farmers. That will generate purchasing power uniformly throughout the state and will attract industry.
The policy to convert SEZs to domestic tariff industrial townships will make 27,000 hectares available for new industrial proposals.
Chavan drew attention to the problem of informal housing in Mumbai with half the citys population residing in slums.
The biggest challenge is to convert them [slums to public housing and get the rest of the land freed up for commercial development. We have some innovative policies to build large townships in and around Mumbai to reduce the population pressure, he said.
About the ambitious 22-km Trans Harbour link that will connect the hinterland with the island city,Chavan said,We are at a stage where five international consortiums [one Indian partner and one international have bid for the project and the contract will be awarded this year itself. He said this would open up huge land area to the island city. On infrastructure projects in Mumbai,Chavan said the state was expecting a green signal from the environment ministry soon to the ambitious combination of coastal road,sea link and tunnel.
He did not commit on the second phase of the sea link,but said,The master plan is a combination of sea link and coastal roads. The sea link takes time and is expensive but there are environmental issues with coastal road and the ministry of environment has to permit that.
About the Jaitapur nuclear project,the Chief Minister said his government had done all that was needed and the issue was now between the central government,power producing companies,atomic energy establishment and French company Areva.