Uttar Pradesh (Northern Provinces), aka UP, is a northern Indian state created in 1937 as the United Provinces, and later renamed as Uttar Pradesh in 1950. Lucknow is the capital city, while cities like Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Allahabad, Moradabad, Bareilly, Aligarh, Sonbhadra and Varanasi are known for their industrial importance. On 9 November 2000, a new state, Uttarakhand, was carved out from the Himalayan hill region of Uttar Pradesh. The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the west, Haryana and Delhi to the northwest, Uttarakhand and the country of Nepal to the north, Bihar to the east and Madhya Pradesh to the south. UP also abuts some small tracts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh states to the south eastern corner. It covers 294,411 square kilometres, and is the fourth largest Indian state by area – covering 9.0 percent of the country’s geographical landmass. With more than 200 million inhabitants in 2011, it is India’s most populous state – accounting for 16.4 percent of the country’s population, as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. Hindi and Urdu are the official and most widely spoken languages in the state. UP state has 83 districts, 901 development blocks and 112,804 inhabited villages.
In its hoary past, the region has been home to powerful empires of ancient and medieval India. The two major rivers of the state, the Ganga and the Yamuna, join at Allahabad and then flow as the Ganges further east. The state has several historical, natural, and religious tourist destinations, such as the Agra, Varanasi, Piprahwa, Kaushambi, Kanpur, Ballia, Shravasti, Kushinagar, Lucknow, Jhansi, Allahabad, Budaun, Meerut, Mathura and Jaunpur.
Uttar Pradesh is the third largest Indian state by economy after Maharashtra and Tamilnadu, with a GDP of ₹ 9,763 billion (US$ 150 billion). Agriculture and service industries are the largest sectors of the state’s economy. Services include travel and tourism, hotels and hospitality, real estate, insurance and financial consultancies. Uttar Pradesh apropos has always been at the forefront of industrial development. During the 5th, 6th and 7th 5-Year Plans, industrial growth averaged 9.4, 11.8 & 10.9% respectively, while in the post liberalization period, growth somewhat dropped. However, the state has since been able to make up a bit, with Industrial growth during the 10th 5-Year Plan reviving to touch 6.6%. It is significant to note that during that period, the world at large was hit by a recession. The Public-Private-Partnership model has also been adopted by the State in various sectors like Roads, Power, Urban Rejuvenation, etc. Uttar Pradesh proposes to bring investment through PPP mode worth ₹ 2,64,204 crores in the 12th 5-Year Plan. As per a FICCI report on the status of PPP projects in the country, Uttar Pradesh is amongst the top five States of the country in the implementation of PPP Projects.
Further, in order to promote investments and to boost industrialization in the State, Uttar Pradesh has developed many SEZs, Industrial Clusters, Information technology Parks, Agro Parks etc. The State Government has taken some good initiatives with new policies on industrial & infrastructure development, Information Technology, Food Processing et al. In fact, the New Infrastructure & Industrial Investment Policy of Uttar Pradesh sets an ambitious target of 11.2% industrial growth per annum during the 12th 5-Year Plan. The State is also poised to take advantages of the Eastern and Western Freight Corridors Projects for rapid industrialization. Similarly there are plans to connect all district headquarters by 4 lane roads. Implementation, however, remains a key challenge.
Considered the heartland of northern India, Uttar Pradesh state offers loads of investment opportunities to prospective entrepreneurs from across the globe. While that be so, it is indeed worthwhile to look at what is available on the ground to facilitate business-friendliness, and what infrastructure exists, and what is in deficit. To start with, let us look at how the state is endowed with, in this context.
So why select UP for your investments ?
The state has the longest network of rivers and canals – 31,200 km, fostering the agricultural sector. Mineral resources in the state are mainly limestone, dolomite, glass-sand, marble, bauxite, non-plastic fireclay and uranium. Key industries include Cement, Vegetable oils, Textiles, Cotton yarn, Sugar, Jute, Carpet, Brassware, Glassware & Bangles, and Leather goods.
Endowed with fertile land, salubrious-climate and a perennial river system. UP is the leading agricultural state in the country and is poised to emerge as a most sought after destination for the food processing industry.
With large spans of agrarian fertile plains, a vast network of rivers and brimming with natural resources, UP is economically one of the more active states in India today. Its characteristics like well-developed agro-based commerce, being a frontline producer of sugar and the advent of food processing industry have unmasked enormous potential. World-famous traditional industries such as handicrafts, carpet manufacturing, metal artefacts, scents and leather goods from UP make up a reasonably large chunk of overall handicraft exports out of India – all this point to rising prestige for the state as an emerging economic power within the Union.
UP is continuing with the process of improving the industrial infrastructure and has developed integrated industrial townships like in Noida and Greater Noida with state-of-the-art facilities. Noida special economic (export) zone enjoys a good inflow of investment from many domestic and international players like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Glaxo, Moser Baer and BPO centres etc., and manufacturing units of reputed brands in Electronics, Textiles, Engineering and Computer Software. Lucknow is growing to be another hub of IT, ITeS and BPO industry. Gorakhpur, Bhadohi, Satharia (Jaunpur) & Lucknow along with UP State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) are some of the other promising Industrial Development Authorities.
The Moradabad SEZ is a product-specific manufacturing zone for metal-ware and artefacts. Besides, there are four functional private SEZs, namely, Moser Baer India Ltd. (Non-conventional Energy), Wipro Technologies Ltd. (IT/ITeS) at Greater Noida along with HCL Technologies Ltd. (IT/ITeS) & Seaview Developers Ltd. (IT/ITeS) at Noida.
Of late, the state has taken a whole slew of measures in improving overall infrastructure & logistical facilities, so essential for driving industrial, economic and social growth. Mega road projects, like the 1047 Kms long, 8-lane Ganga Expressway along the course of the great river Ganga joining the far east with the national capital; the Yamuna Expressway providing fast access to the City of Taj Mahal & other major industrial cities like Ghaziabad, Meerut, Hathras and another whole network of expressways are in the offing. Modelled on Public Private Partnership, numerous developmental projects in power, metro-rails, transport, education, health and urban rejuvenation are at different stages of implementation and there are many more in the pipeline, reconfirming the State’s commitment to commercial opportunities for stability and growth.
A congenial industrial ambience, with a series of measures to improve the ease of ‘doing business,’ coupled with readily available labour assets and more importantly, a large pool of highly skilled human resource in diverse fields produced inside the State is unmatched elsewhere in India. The time lines for obtaining various approvals from different departments have already been defined, keeping in view the best business practice. The State is the proud home to many renowned national level research and training institutions, such as the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre Lucknow, the Central Drug Research Institute Lucknow, Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology Varanasi, the Northern India Textile Research Association centers in different cities, the National Botanical Research Institute Lucknow, as well as the Gautam Buddh Technical University (earlier known as UPTU) with various affiliated higher professional study colleges.
To encourage investors and to promote business opportunities, a robust investor and industry friendly policy framework with active involvement of industrial and business bodies and thoughtfully devised facilitation mechanisms are being spruced up. Procedures and processes are being simplified and rationalized further, so that, entrepreneurs are guaranteed the best services, support and facilities right from the inception to the implementation of their projects becoming functional. Notwithstanding economic recession, government support and incentives, self-resilient markets and ever increasing huge domestic demand continuously create ample space for hectic economic activity in all spheres opening avenues of immense opportunities for progress and growth. Uttar Pradesh offers enormous possibilities for enterprise and success – it is the biggest emerging market within India and the government is determined to continuously improve industry-conducive climate.
It is worthwhile recalling that the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, while speaking to the media in September 2015 during UP state’s first ever such event and maiden road show at Mumbai to attract FDI and diaspora investments to the state, had promised the best of facilities to Industry. That recent event saw India Inc. rising up to the occasion and committing to pour in some ₹ 33,000 crore into the most populous state. The CM had that time also appealed to investors not be misguided by pre-conceived notions and instead to look at the situation on the ground in his state. “I want to call you to invest in UP and I will give you all the facilities,” Yadav had told an audience comprising key decision makers from Indian mega-businesses like Reliance Industries, Aditya Birla Group, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, RP Goenka group, the Tatas and the Adani Group, among others. He had also shared that over 40 agreements had been signed as part of the summit, which entailed an investment of ₹ 33,000 crore and have the potential to create employment for at least 150,000 people in the state. Commitments apropos were led by Japanese electronics firm Toshiba Power which is building a 660-MW thermal plant at Harduaganj at an investment of ₹ 3,500 crore, while others who signed agreements included Korean electronics firm LG, Reliance Jio, Idea Cellular, Godrej Agrovet and ITC.
On a sectoral basis, the infrastructure sector led in the agreements signed with ₹ 13,405 crore, followed by Food and Agro processing at ₹ 6,630 crore and manufacturing at ₹ 6,150 crore. From the public sector, milk cooperative Amul had announced an investment of ₹ 600 crore. Telecom firm Idea Cellular was to invest ₹ 500 crore and power solutions provider Jackson Power another ₹ 500 crore.
With many questions being raised repeatedly over actual investments on the ground following such mega announcements at similar summits, Yadav said he was confident of money flowing in, as all the companies which had signed agreements already have a presence in the state in some form or the other. It is however necessary to note that a whole slew of Indian states have since last year started organising such mega events to attract investments, following the successes achieved by Gujarat over the past decade. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who while he was the state’s CM led the Gujarat model, has also been reinforcing the need for states to vie with each other for investments, all for the benefit of their people.
NRI Achievers Bureau