Haryana: Haryana is desperate to get foreign investments to accelerate the pace of development. The state government is leaving nothing unturned to attract foreign investments from any quarters of the world. Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda during his 10-year long tenure did his best to ensure that the state gets adequate investments. He went to several countries including Japan and Israel in search of investments and inking other collaborations. His ministerial colleague too went to foreign countries. It is not known how much investments were actually fructified thanks to these ‘foreign junkets’ of the previous government.
It, however, remains the fact that existing players in Haryana keep pumping in lot of money to upgrade or expand their existing facilities. Investment in capacity building is not a bad investment. Any investment which creates infrastructure assets should be welcomed. Hooda’s regime had suffered a massive setback when Maruti Suzuki decided to have their biggest manufacturing plant in Gujarat. It was seen as a jolt to Hooda’s investment- friendly regime, a charge which then chief minister never accepted, while some of Congressmen rightly said that Maruti Suzuki was free to set up its unit anywhere in the country.
Needless to say that Maruti Suzuki, despite all odds arising out of repeated strikes and quota violence in the state, has never refrained from upgrading their existing facilities in Haryana, the largest employer in the state as well. Unfortunately, the previous regime totally ignored the domestic investors while looking for foreign investors. It is a myth that only foreign investments can catapult the state’s industrial growth. In many countries across the world including Japan, South Korea and even China, several companies have first established their superiority in their own lands with the help of indigenously developed technologies and generated resources and later on spread their business tentacles everywhere including US and UK.
It is said that several German firms have been able to build their market empire across various countries only after emerging as credible players in their own country. This is not happening in Haryana. Local entrepreneurs bemoan that they do not get adequate support from the government, while their bankers claim that their money is not returned by the borrowers timely. Many banks also crip over the fact that a large number of them are wilful defaulters. It is a piquant situation where the borrowers do not feel like returning the lenders’ money, but are seen rubbing shoulders with the powers-that-be. Many of them even are made a part of the government’s delegations which visit foreign countries at the cost of tax-payers’ money. In order to achieve sustainable development, the domestic players must be increased.
Small investments hold key to the growth of manufacturing sector, which has a huge potential in Haryana. When the new government came to power in the state under the leadership of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, one hoped that things would change rapidly and radically. Though not practically possible since in a democratic set-up the government works within a system influenced by beaurocrats, Khattar is trying his level best to bring in investments. He and his colleagues have been to various countries in search of foreign investments, which have not yet materialised.
It will, in fact, take some more time when investments start flowing in. MoUs are just the first step towards the greater end. It remains to be seen how many foreign players go for major investment in the state which leads to assets creation. Routine investment in existing units is something else, but creating altogether a new infrastructure by investing millions of rupees is altogether a different proposition. The government must keep pursuing investment related MoUs signed in the recent past, but must not forget the importance of domestic investors.
The state’s public undertakings are in a bad shape not because of funds crunch but for want of professional efficiency. If you cannot put your own house in order, the outsiders will never take your even well-meaning words seriously. If someone says that Haryana is an efficiently governed state, he needs to give examples to substantiate such claims. The government can impress others not only by making meaningful promises but only by setting examples how effectively the state-owned entities are performing in the state. Charity begins at home!
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