By Vishnu Bisram and Pawan Upadhyay
in Lucknow, India
The Minister responsible for the Affairs of People of Indian Origin or NRI from the state of Uttar Pradesh, Shrimati Swati Singh gave a very warm welcome to attendees of UP origin and others attending the 3rd annual NRI Summit held on Thursday Feb 22.
This summit was an effort by the state to engage the UP diaspora (those who trace their roots to the state) and global investors. Most of the Indo-Caribbean diaspora traces their roots to UP.
The NRI Minister, Swati-ji, showered praises on the diaspora for retaining their cultural links to and interest in the state. She stated that the government is seeking to enhance social, cultural ties and business with the UP diaspora as well as promoting UP as a new and emerging place for doing business to promote development.
Swati-ji told the august gathering of thousands of delegates that she was honored as the NRI Minister of UP “to welcome all to the NRI Session of 3rdUttar Pradesh Pravasi Diwas. I convey my warm greetings to the distinguished dignitaries present off the stage and special greetings to my brothers and sisters from abroad with whom we share a special bonding and relationship of blood and common origin”.
The Minister paid tribute to the central government for its work engaging the diaspora and for the economic progress India has been making. She said that India is witnessing high economic growth thanks to the “ great leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji”. She mentioned that the “IMF has projected that India will grow at 7.4 per cent in 2018 as against China’s 6.8 per cent, making it the fastest growing country among emerging economies. We are very proud of this transformation that India is witnessing under the guidance and vision of our great Prime Minister Modi ji”.
As in the national economy, the NRI Minister stated that “a similar transformation is being witnessed in the State of Uttar Pradesh under the vision and leadership of the dynamic Chief Minister, Shri Yogi Adityanath. He is a man with a mission and his government has the ability to catapult Uttar Pradesh into an industrial powerhouse in the next few years”.
Shrimati Swati Singh said “Our state celebrate this event with our NRI brothers and sisters. We welcome them to experience the new Uttar Pradesh that is in the making, and we solicit their active participation and support in making Uttar Pradesh an Uttam Pradesh”.
Swati-ji said the nation “takes pride in the fact that India has one of the largest Diasporas in the world estimated at over 30 million scattered across the globe”. She describes the diaspora as “India’s greatest wealth and asset abroad and that it includes Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs). This community of Indian people live outside their country of origin, but they maintain active and emotional connections with India”. She praises them for contributions to “the growth and development of India and their respective states of origin”.
Swaiti Singh said she is extremely pleased to see that the Ministry of External Affairs under the leadership of Smt. Sushma Swaraj ji and Gen. V.K. Singh ji “is working towards bridging the gap between our Indian Diaspora Community and their country of origin through various schemes and policies aimed at Pravasis based abroad”. She notes that India benefits enormously from the diaspora. For example, one of the important contributions by the Indian diaspora community to their motherland is the financial contribution through remittances.
Swati-ji appealed to the UP diaspora to play an important role in the socio-economic development of UP through “Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and transnational entrepreneurship, including support to young and budding entrepreneurs, start-ups, mentorships to the innovators and small businesses in UP”. She claimed that prior to the change in government in April 2017, UP was not conducive to doing business. But all of that has changed now. She told the august gathering that the Government of UP has established an enabling environment in the state to encourage domestic and foreign investors to set up their footprints across the state. She pointed out some advantages of doing business in UP under the present government including: access to 200 million plus residents (16.5% of India’s population) and to the national capital region on the west; strategic access to market & resource depth of eastern India; major national & international airports connecting the rest of India, Middle East & South East Asian countries; multi-modal logistic hubs, industrial parks etc.; abundant land parcels at competitive price; 24×7 reliable electricity to industries and provision for open access; skilled Manpower and higher professional educational institutions; simplified procedures and speedy time bound approvals; good governance and stable government policies.
The NRI Minister reiterated that the state has unveiled an array of business friendly industrial policies to attract investments across various sectors and put the state on fast track to growth and development for industrial development. She said some of the areas that have great opportunities include aviation, food processing, IT, manufacturing, and solar power generation. Among other areas are: healthcare, biotechnology, education, tourism, film making, art and culture, etc. She said to speed up investment, the state has established a single window mechanism for investment and business promotion — this is done to showcase Uttar Pradesh to the world.
The Minister showered praises on the organizers of the conference and thanked the NRI community for coming. She said that “a forum like this will encourage interchange of expertise and technology solutions between the Diaspora community and government. I am sure that this summit will generate meaningful discussions and pave way for innovative thinking and policy inputs to make Uttar Pradesh an Uttam Pradesh”.
The two-day ‘Investors Summit’ led to 1049 MoUs worth Rs 4.28 lakh crore rupees. The investors have shown maximum interest in development of infrastructure in UP”. It was noted that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath would personally monitor implementation of MoUs to prevent bureaucratic logjam.