“What has really changed about Nagpur? It had MORE tigers than now 50 years ago; denser forests, it was even then at the heart of the country and had the zero milestone. It had coal, power plants based on it came up many years ago – so what is new? Devendra Fadnavis, a ‘Nagpuri’ as Chief Minister is what is new. ” When Mr. Krishna Kumar Taori, Group Managing Director of Hasan Juma Backer, whose company’s very modern township near MIHAN is almost near completion, said this he was echoing the words and sentiments of all Nagpuris, Indian as well as expats, who had gathered in Nagpur for the first Global Nagpur Summit of 2014. Today, for the second day’s deliberations many members of CII Maharashtra were present too. The CII team was headed by Mr. Sanjay Kirloskar who had won over everyone by declaring that he was born in Nagpur so technically is a ‘Nagpuri’ too!
The out pouring of respect and affection for the young CM was palpable when he joined the gathering at the Chitnavis Centre in the post lunch session. Originally, he had been scheduled to inaugurate the morning’s session but he had to be in Jharkhand for the new BJP Chief Minister’s swearing but rushed back to be able to make it for the Global Nagpur conclave, a subject very close to his heart.
“What is the biggest incentive (for industries) to come to Vidarbha?” Asked Devendra. Then he answered his own question ” Because the CM is from here”.
In his brief talk, he deliberated at length about why Maharasthra had lost its allure as a desirable destination for the country and the world. He said among 189 countries that were surveyed by some American Banks for ease of doing business India came in at a shocking 180. Right at the bottom. “This is very shameful for us, specially when we learnt that the only Indian city they were surveying was Mumbai. So the conditions in Mumbai were determining the status of the whole country.”
The reason Mumbai had started lagging in getting industries was total governance deficit, said Fadnavis. Rules had become so cumbersome and overwhelming that new entrepreneurs had to get 76 permissions and wait for two years to be able to start their industries. “How can any business house sustain for so long?” Asked Fadnavis. As soon as he became the CM, he called a meeting of the concerned bureaucrats and told them strictly that they had to reduce the red tape within 15 days or he would do it. He was happy to declare that the number of permissions had now come down to 35, but he they still needed to be reduced further.
He also informed the gathering that for many of the clearances he has made a new rule – if the applicant does not hear back from the Government agency concerned in three days, the clearance will be deemed to have been granted.
Another big concession was that if an existing industry wanted to expand and land was available near the MIDC area, they would not have to wait for the status of the land to change before acquiring it. He also said that industries as a rule would be permitted to increase their FSI without having to get prior permission.
One very positive announcement made by the CM was that he had already made good on his promise of rationalizing power tarrifs for the MIHAN SEZ. When power was available so much cheaper in M.P. and Chattisgarh why would industries come to Nagpur? And why should Vidarbha pay the same tarrif as the rest of the state when power was being generated right here and there were no transmission losses? Taking these facts into consideration the ‘cross subsidy surcharge on open access’ would be removed and MSEDCL had been asked to work out a rational way of charging for power in MIHAN at least. Soon this concession would be extended to rest of Vidarbha too.
“MERC is already supplying power at Rs. 4.3 which is the cheapest in the state” said Fadnavis to applause from the audience.
With these and more such measures Nagpur and Vidarbha will surely live up to its new promise as the New Gateway to India. Memebers of CII and other dignitaries welcomed the new status of Nagpur though many of them were representing industries in Marathwada, Chakan and Mumbai.
– Sunita Mudaliar