Chhattisgarh seeks investments from Australia

CM of resource-rich Indian state Dr Raman Singh leads delegation

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It may be one of India’s youngest states, having only been established in 2000, but Chhattisgarh, by all accounts, is punching above its weight. The widespread poverty notwithstanding, it boasts of a net state domestic product of 8.2% as compared to 7.1% nationwide. With double digit GDP growth, Chhattisgarh’s strengths lie in its agriculture and industrial production sectors.

Chhattisgarh.IndianLink
Photo by: Vani Kandula

Raipur, its capital, is considered to be one of the fastest developing cities in India and it is expected to be further boosted in the next 8-10 years as the Government focusses on making this their showcase city to attract future investments.

To woo Australian investment in the state, a high-level delegation from Chhattisgarh, led by its Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh, made a 10-day official visit down under.

Accompanied by high-ranking officials from Chhattisgarh, Dr Singh visited Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney and met with senior corporate leaders, government officials and business leaders from the Indian and Australian communities.

Chhattisgarh.IndianLink
Photo by: Vani Kandula

In a lunch-time presentation to over 150 guests at the Shangri La hotel, Dr Singh expressed his desire that his state connect with Australia’s fastest growing state, NSW and bolster closer ties.

“NSW has to be congratulated for the leading role it plays in Australia’s economic growth,” Dr Singh said. Speaking in chaste Hindi but with translation headsets for the non-Hindi speakers present, Dr Singh reminded all of the wonderful opportunities available in India and the work done by PM Narendra Modi in starting initiatives such as Start-up India, Digital India, Make in India etc. “Both the demonetisation process and implementing the new goods and services tax system in India have ensured that systems have become simpler to do business in India, and Chhattisgarh has even gone a step further by ensuring greater transparency in its processes.”

This had been discussed earlier when Dr Kamal Preet Singh, Secretary from the Department of Commerce and Industry, had emphasised that all state mining licenses are now dealt with online, in a transparent manner. “For all our coal production and other similar sectors, we have end-to-end processing systems, so there is total accountability,” he said.

The state has risen to become one of the most preferred investment destinations in the country. The Reserve Bank of India recently declared it one of the best fiscally managed states: it ranks as 4th on the nation’s ease-of-doing-business index.

The Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Aman Kumar Singh, also emphasised in his address that infrastructure and institution building was high priority for the ministry of Dr Raman Singh, who had just marked his 5,000th day as chief minister.

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Earlier, local ministers Jonathan O’Dea, representing the Premier of NSW, and Barry O’Farrell, special NSW envoy to India, welcomed the delegation and spoke about the importance of state-to-state partnerships. With a slight hint of frustration in his voice, envoy Barry O’Farrell urged all that rather than just talk about the potential between NSW and India, the time now is to grab the opportunities which exist.

CHHATTISGARH FACTFILE

  • Capital Raipur
  • Geographical area 137,898 sq km
  • State languages Chhattisgarhi, Hindi and English
  • Literacy rate 70.3 per cent
  • Key industries Mining, iron and steel, tin, cement, power, IT and ITeS and biotechnology
  • Population 25.5 million
  • Major cities Raipur, Bhilai, Bilaspur, Raigarh
  • Economy and GSDP US $45 billion
  • Tourism hotspots Gol Gumbaz, Chitrakot waterfalls

(IBEF and other sources)