NEW YORK: Projecting Maharashtra as the land of "immense opportunity", Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has made a strong pitch for investments in the state, assuring American investors of a business-friendly environment and "red carpet" instead of "red tape".
Fadnavis, currently on a visit to the US, invited American investments in the infrastructure, agro-processing and manufacturing sectors of his state.
He met investors, political leaders and community organisations here, inviting investments and expertise across sectors in his state.
"Now is the right time to invest in Maharashtra. It is a land of immense opportunity. I assure you that once you decide to come...we will do everything for you. Our government has decided no more red tape but red carpet," for investors and the business community, he told investors and business executives at a meeting organised by business advocacy group US-India Business Council yesterday.
He assured investors of guiding, facilitating and partnering with them as they seek to set up businesses in Maharashtra, which he said boasts of quality manpower and best institutions.
The Chief Minister said his government has taken various steps over the past few months to ensure ease of doing business in the state, including reducing the number of permissions required to set up industries.
"We are trying to bring all permissions on a single IT platform" and many permissions will be put on an automated route, he said, adding that the government is also trying to make the business environment hassle-free.
Emphasising the investment opportunities available in Maharashtra, Fadnavis said the government wants the state to be viewed as a top destination for both domestic as well as international investments.
He highlighted the "huge investment opportunities" in the manufacturing, urban development, infrastructure and agro-processing sectors and stressed on the state's plan to develop smart cities near Mumbai.
Fadnavis said his government is laying emphasis on urbanisation, which for many years had been looked upon as a "curse" in India and Maharashtra.
"Urbanisation is not just a challenge but an opportunity," he said.
"Aggressive" investment has been envisaged in the state's sectors like ports, airports, rail and road network, electricity, he said.
The state is looking for joint ventures in critical projects such as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial corridor, smart cities and the government is committed to providing a boost to both 'Make in India' and 'Make in Maharashtra' campaigns, he added.
Fadnavis said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has realised the potential of states and made it clear that India lives in states.
"If at all India has to grow, business has to grow in India and if at all business with India has to grow, we have to work with the states," he said referring to Modi's emphasis on development of the states.
"That has prompted all the states to enter into an era of competitive federalism where each one of us is not just trying to showcase our abilities but we are also trying to move towards better regimes," Fadnavis said.
Pointing out that Maharashtra is a power surplus state, he said the government has cut down the timing within which the power is supplied and in a landmark decision, reduced the power tariff for industries by Rs 1.38 with the aim to bring it down further.
"This reduction is power tariff is not coming from subsidies but through improving our efficiencies," he said.
Fadnavis noted that through measures like plugging leakages and rationalising coal supplies, the state government has saved about Rs 8,000 crores in three of its power utilities enabling it to bring down tariffs.
Among the priorities of the state is integrating the value chain with farmers. Currently 500,000 farmers are included in the value supply chain and the state aims to take it to 2.5 million farmers by next year so that the "entire eco-system of farm to folk can be created," he said.
Later in the evening, a grand community reception was also organised for Fadnavis by the Friends of Maharashtra, a not-for-profit group of Individuals and partner associations working towards strengthening ties and promoting cooperation between the US and India.
The focus of his visit is being pegged as "Mumbai meets Manhattan".
Fadnavis, during his eight-day US trip, is expected to visit Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Earlier this year in February, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had visited the US and had invited industries and entrepreneurs to "Make in Madhya Pradesh", drawing upon the 'Make in India' campaign.
He had also launched a global initiative in the city aimed at inviting ideas and expertise from the Indian diaspora in growing the state's various sectors.