Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why ‘Happening Haryana 2016’ Will Still Succeed

With only two days to go before the commencement of this Global Investors Meet, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Industries Minister Captain Abhimanyu are cautiously optimistic of the outcome of ‘Happening Haryana 2016’ based on not only the feedback obtained from their international and national roadshows, but on the recent steps Haryana Government has undertaken to assure investors in the wake of the recent reservation quota riots.

Post the devastating riots and in the run-up to the investors’ summit, Manohar Lal Khattar has doubled his efforts to see to it that Haryana’s first ever investor summit doesn’t end up unsuccessful.

Despite the state already having an industry-friendly ‘Enterprises Policy 2015’, crafted just last year, the CM and Industries Minister Captain Abhimanyu have announced the launch of ‘Enterprises Policy 2016’, which is designed to take ease-of-doing-business in the state to new levels.

The draft of this document has already been uploaded in the industries department website for all stakeholders to see and provide their suggestions to better fine-tune the final document. The comments should come in by March 11, so that soon after the conclusion of ‘Happening Haryana 2016’, the state will have a very pragmatic enterprises policy that includes investor inputs.

Haryana has also recently launched an online Grievance Redressal System for Industries. Under this, a three-tier system at the district, state, and apex Levels has been formed.

The industrial units can register and submit their grievances on the portal which will be resolved at the district level by a body led by deputy commissioner in a speedy manner, and, if required, at the state level by a committee headed by Principal Secretary, Industries.

A significant vote-of-confidence on Haryana has come from the side of Japan, which conveyed to the Chief Minister that Japan’s offer to be a partner country for ‘Happening Haryana 2016’ still holds, despite the week-long riots in the state.

This was followed up by the confirmation by another 11 countries that they would participate as partner countries despite the recent unfortunate happenings in connection with reservation quota demands.

These nations are UK, Spain, Poland, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Czech, Malawi, Mauritius, Peru, and Tunisia.

The summit will also see over 800 entrepreneurs from India and other countries participating, apart from representatives of 140 foreign companies.

Several Ambassadors and High Commissioners of different countries are also participating in the event.

According to Captain Abhimanyu, despite the challenging situation prevailing, Haryana is sure to attract enough high-profile investments as per the original objectives set.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is backing the summit with full support as investment is the prime requirement for creating hundreds of thousands of better paying jobs in a state, where access to government jobs is dwindling for many, due to high competition and a high level of reservations.

Haryana is also basing its confidence on its track-record so far in attracting industries from the world over. While this may be the first time the Northern state of India is conducting such a summit, it has been a leader in attracting both domestic and foreign industries in various sectors.

Nobody has serious doubt about Haryana’s industrial credentials. The state has the second-highest per capita income in the country, and is also a leader when it comes to per capita investment receipt.

How can it be otherwise, with Haryana surrounding the national capital, New Delhi, on three sides, and with three-fourths of this state’s area coming under Delhi-NCR, arguably one of the world’s largest urban agglomerations.

Yet, the wealthy nature of Haryana is more equitable across urban and rural populations, as the state is also home to the largest pool of rural crorepatis.

With the state’s credentials being such, it is so easy to rest on its laurels. But Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has a larger ambition, where he sees Haryana rightly claiming its deserving position as a leader in next generation of global investments and development.

His vision is equally shared by Abhimanyu Singh Sindhu, better known as Captain Abhimanyu, the state’s Cabinet Minister for Industries & Commerce.

While CM Khattar handles the maximum portfolios in the state cabinet, Captain Abhimanyu follows closely with independent charge of 13 crucial Departments.

The duo dreams together and travels together like they did in Japan and China for attracting investors, and has together come up with the vision for ‘Happening Haryana 2016,’ a Global Investors Meet, scheduled for March 2016.

The step couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, as Haryana can no longer afford to take investment competition from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra, Tamilnadu, and Karnataka in a casual way.

Narendra Modi and Manohar Lal Khattar have some things in common. While Modi has become the nation’s Prime Minister for the first time, Khattar has become Haryana’s Chief Minister for the first time. As one time RSS Pracharaks, both are also unmarried, capable of devoting themselves fully to the national cause and BJP’s objectives.

But Manohar Lal Khattar has an additional responsibility. This is not only his first stint as CM, but this is the first time BJP has come to power in Haryana, which means that Khattar has much to prove with regard to BJP’s promises for the state too.

This added responsibility is no mean task either, especially when it comes to industrialization, as the state has fared pretty good in this regard under previous governments led by both Congress and Lok Dal, dating back to the days of Bansi Lal who is regarded as the architect of modern Haryana.

BJP had come to power in Haryana more due to the alleged corruptions of the previous regimes, rather than the previous governments’ failure in industrializing the state.

Over the past few decades, Haryana has become home to large domestic companies as well as MNCs like Maruti Suzuki, Escorts, Hero, Alcatel, Sony, Whirlpool, Bharti, JCB, Yamaha, ABB, Goodyear, Knorr, IOC, NTPC, National Fertilizers, Asian Paints, Suzuki Motorcycle, Nippon Carbide, Lotte, Tata Tea, Amul Dairy, IBM, Aon Hewitt, Dell, Convergys, United Healthcare, DLF, Unitech, NIIT, and lots more. Haryana is also a national leader when it comes to hosting Japanese companies.

That is why CM Khattar and Industries Minister Captain Abhimanyu are really thinking big of driving Haryana into a much higher orbit, so that the past developments in the state are no comparison to what will happen in the future.

An example for this vision is Haryana’s recent success in attracting a major Chinese investment of $10 billion or nearly Rs. 70,000 crore. The MoU regarding this with Chinese realty major Wanda Group was signed during CM’s recent China visit.

Under this MoU, Wanda will develop a new industrial township spanning 2200 acres, that will be designed to attract various manufacturing and service companies from China and other countries.

Coming up at Kharkoda in Sonipat, the investment for the new city is a major win for Haryana as the state has won this investment from Wanda which also considered other regions like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Delhi, for building this new industrial city.

According to CM Khattar himself, this massive investment didn’t happen easily and followed detailed discussions spanning several months. There were several contentious issues like how to get around Haryana’s Land Ceiling Act, and how to earmark the 3000 acres the Chinese realty major was asking for.

Finally on Chief Minister’s initiative in China, Wanda agreed to settle for 2200 acres to start with.

Whereas Happening Haryana 2016’s original target was Rs. 1 lakh crore, this MoU for the new city has ensured that the state will easily overshoot its target during the event in March, or even before it.

Chief Minister’s Japan visit was also very successful with Suzuki promising a major investment, and more than that, with Suzuki’s CEO Osamu Suzuki being in all praise for Khattar’s communication skills, especially the way in which the CM conversed in Japanese language.

Japan is already a large investor in Haryana, with the state hosting the largest contingent of Japanese industries including heavyweights like Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha etc.

CM Khattar and Minister Captain Abhimanyu have also moved boldly to address some of Haryana’s most vexing challenges with regard to attracting more big-ticket investments. Prime among these challenges has been the state’s troubled labour relations during the past few years.

Under Captain Abhimanyu, the Department of Labour & Employment, has worked hard to come up with a comprehensive set of Labour Reforms that is set for passage by the State Assembly soon, followed by President’s assent.

Minister Abhimanyu has promised that the new set of reforms is even more progressive than of neighbor and another BJP-ruled state Rajasthan which took national limelight not too long back for investor-friendly labour policies.

Haryana has also moved decisively to address land availability issues. As a state having Land Ceiling Act in force, the state has been struggling to find expansive lands for large manufacturing industries. But it has recently succeeded in earmarking 10,000 acres for industries to invest in.

The vast difference between land prices in prime locations and rural pockets has also been difficult to bridge. For example, while land prices in Gurgaon is over Rs. 10 crore per acre in some regions of that district, Haryana has many backward areas in its rural landscape where an acre comes for less than Rs. 25 lakhs, but which no investor is eager to take up.

Now, to bridge this gap, Haryana is offering good incentives for investors to set shop in all its districts so that industry is equitably dispersed throughout, thereby bringing development everywhere.

The idea is to attract massive investments beyond its happening districts like Gurgaon, Faridabad, Rohtak, Bahadurgarh, Karnal, Panipat, & Hissar, to its relatively non-industrialized districts like Ambala, Bhiwani, Fatehabad, Jhajjar, Jind, Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Mahendragarh, Mewat, Palwal, Panchkula, Rewari, Sirsa, Sonipat, and Yamuna Nagar.

Another major initiative by which Haryana is planning to bring massive development is full cooperation with one of the most ambitious Central Government programs, the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), a $100 billion project, launched in 2007 by the then UPA Government at the Centre.

The mammoth project’s first phase is under active development these days using an Indo-Japanese joint fund of $10 billion, and Haryana Government under CM Khattar is doing everything possible to ensure that the state gets maximum benefit from DMIC and its backbone, the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC).

Haryana has much to gain from this national project as, among the six states that DMIC and WDFC traverses, Haryana leads in the percentage of area under DMIC influence zone, which stands at 66%. The state will also get 2 Investment Regions and 2 Industrial Areas for development along the 130 km of DMIC/WDFC that passes through the state.

Haryana is also bullish on Centre’s Smart Cities project, and has bagged Smart City aid for Faridabad and Karnal. However, not content with that achievement, CM Khattar has been demanding Smart City status for Gurgaon too.

The exact plan is to transform 1000 acres of Gurgaon into a ‘Smartest City’, for which the state is willing to spend Rs. 500 crore, even if Centre is unable to include it in the program.

With such initiatives and momentum in place, the whole government machinery in Haryana has been working tirelessly to ensure that Happening Haryana 2016 is a major success. The state has recently implemented several reforms to improve ease-of-doing-business, of which one is groundbreaking in that any indefinite delay in approvals due to unsubstantiated reasons would attract automatic approvals after 100 days!

The northern state has a spanking new Enterprises Promotion Policy 2015 which it promulgated last year, which has been noted for its contemporariness and comprehensive nature. A single window clearance system too has been implemented.

The state has also become the first in the country to implement trade of transferable development rights for land, which the industry especially the construction and real estate industries have been asking for.

Taking investor assistance to a new degree, Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) has recently appointed its nine top officers to act as relationship managers in 20 different sectors so as to facilitate those investors who are keen to set up businesses in the State.

The two day Happening Haryana 2016 event scheduled for March 7th and 8th at Gurgaon’s Hotel Leela Ambience is partnered by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and KPMG.

Haryana has identified 10 focus areas for attracting investments through Happening Haryana 2016. They are Agro-Based, Food Processing & Allied Industry; Auto, Auto Components & General Engineering; Defence & Aerospace Manufacturing; Electronics & IT/ITES; Footwear & Accessories; Pharmaceutical & Chemical Industries; Renewable Energy & Solar Parks; Research & Development; Textiles, Apparel & Handlooms; and Transportation/Logistics Hub/Inland Port/Container Depot.

The event is organized by Haryana Industries Department and supported by HSIIDC and Haryana Investment Promotion Centre.

The roadshows for the event have been successful, with the Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, & Chennai meets coming off very well. This is apart from CM Khattar’s and Captain Abhimanyu’s high-profile visits to USA, Canada, Japan, & China to attract investments.

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