“Investment is an article of faith.” – Highlights from the BloombergQuint MP Growth Forum

“Investment is an article of faith.” – Highlights from the BloombergQuint MP Growth Forum

· Modernization, productivity enchantment, and changing crop patterns are key to transforming agriculture in Madhya Pradesh, said Chief Minister Kamal Nath.

· Nath said the “pyjama-dhoti” farmer has to be made into a jeans and T-shirt farmer.

“Investment is an article of faith. You cannot demand investment; you have to attract it.” That was Kamal Nath, chief minister of Madhya Pradesh to Raghav Bahl, founder and editor-in-chief, Quintillion Media.

The conversation was part of the recently concluded BloombergQuint MP Growth Forum, in Bhopal.

Held at the palace hotel Noor-Us-Sabha, the event included several engaging discussions with key industry stakeholders on policy reforms, investment, and the future of industrial growth in the state.

A fireside chat between the chief minister and Bahl covered a wide range of topics, including new policy initiatives and other aspects of the Congress government’s performance since coming to power in the state.

After taking the chief minister’s oath in Dec. 2018, Nath said his approach would be unorthodox and unconventional when it came to attracting and supporting investment in the state.

A new approach towards reforms often finds its first hurdle in the traditional mechanisms of bureaucracy. The chief minister, when asked if this was so in his case, stressed upon the importance of accountability.

It's not just financial accountability, Nath said adding, one has to change the attitude and that is the most important thing.

Madhya Pradesh is predominantly an agrarian state. Nath believed the thing that can revolutionise and change Indian agriculture at the policy level is if the "pajama and dhoti farmer" is made into "jeans and T-shirt farmer". He said this will happen through modern agriculture, which is by better productivity, and by changing cropping patterns.

Besides, the chief minister said the state's location gives it a massive advantage. He said the locational advantage enables agricultural produce to be easily sent across to the northern and southern parts of India.

During the candid interview, Nath also touched upon the contradictory reports on employment in the state. The chief minister said many young people are looking for employment and many more are coming to the employment market. “[The question is…can we keep pace?”

The Bloomberg|Quint MP Growth Forum event saw several engaging conversations with industry leaders and experts. In one such discussion on investment scenario, Senior Minister PC Sharma illustrated how in as little as one year, the state government has done tremendous work on multiple fronts, especially in enhancing connectivity within the country and internationally.

He gave an example of Indore now being directly connected with Dubai.

India is a young country, but Madhya Pradesh is a step ahead, with an even younger average population. With a large workforce entering the job market every year, job creation must be paced up.

Panelist Siddharth Chaturvedi, Director, AISECT, added that the situation in MP is more challenging: “A report from the Asian Development Bank said that by 2024, 5.6 million youth are going to join the workforce in Madhya Pradesh alone.”

In another session, Manu Shrivastava, principal secretary, new and renewable energy department, said MP is an energy-surplus state and that it is providing solar power to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) at cheaper rates than the earlier coal-based power plants. He said that this was being done without subsidy, thanks to better management practices.

Bloomberg Quint’s MP Growth Forum event was attended by several prominent citizens and policymakers along with leading figures from business and industry in the state.

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