After remaining in news for all the wrong reasons during the middle of last month, Haryana was out to woo investors in the begining of this month. The simmering Jat resentment which exploded into frenzied rage in the state and claimed 30 lives was largely pushed behind with the holding of ‘Happening Haryana Global Investor Summit 2016’ by Manohar Lal Khattar Government on March 7 and 8. The recent havoc however, did make repeated appearance as a warning signal through the event.
The ‘Happening Haryana’ summit aimed at establishing Haryana as a premier Investment destination and providing a platform for new ideas and innovations for future investment opportunities was largely successful in its objectives. Apart from two high-profile ministers from the Centre, it was attended by many prominent businessmen across various verticals.
The state also claimed to have received investment commitments of Rs.3 lakh crore on the first day itself against the goal of Rs.1 lakh crore set at the conception stage of the summit. Opening the summit in Gurgaon, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sent a stern message to states to pursue reforms by saying they should either “reform or perish” as investors do not like an environment of policy paralysis or uncertainty. “Those who don’t reform, those states are going to be at a disadvantageous position and those who are in a position to offer a more favourable business and political environment to the investors, certainly those states are going to benefit. Reform or perish couldn’t be more true than it is today,” he said.
Jaitley said, “The investors are not philanthropists, they are business people and for every dollar or rupee of investment that they make, they will weigh each possibility, they will take each factor into consideration”. Referring to the recent agitation by Jats, he said, “dark clouds are over” and the state of Haryana should consider more investments for more townships, more highways and more educational institutions.
Highlighting the importance of investment as the starting point of economic activity, which thereby leads to creation of jobs, Jaitley said investments will suffer if decision making is slow.
Predictability of policy, the overall attitude of Government, ethics and integrity have to be high on the agenda of state governments, otherwise the investments will suffer, Jaitley said. Emphasising on competitive federalism, Jaitley said the states need to compete with each other to attract investment in addition to practicing “cooperative federalism”.
Referring to the Jat agitation demanding reservation, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah N aidu said,” The recent unfortunate events should not be repeated… There is nothing wrong in making demands but proper democratic procedure must be followed.” Naidu also said that the request by the Haryana Chief Minister to make Gurgaon a Smart City is under consideration.
In his address, Chief Minister Khattar said when the summit was conceived five months ago, it was designed as the first event towards realising the goal of achieving an investment of Rs.1 lakh crore or $ 16 billion. ‘But now, I am told by our Chief Secretary that the commitments so far had already exceeded this target by 200 per cent,” he said.
“This reflects a resounding endorsement of the policy commitments and an appreciation of the steps taken by my government to implement these,’ he added.
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