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‘Fractured polity holding up reform’

The CM was all for incentives to attract investment,but said these should be provided in a transparent manner.

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | Mumbai | Published: September 8, 2012 2:17:51 am

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 tarriff 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 Maharshtra a profit-oriented location,he said. The CM 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 CM 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 can’t 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 of the state.

He drew attention to the problem of informal housing in Mumbai with half the city’s 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,” he said.

About the Jaitapur nuclear project,the CM said his government had done all that was needed and the issue was now between the Centre,power producing companies,atomic energy establishment and French company Areva.

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