Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Expectations from Global Bihar Meet

The first ever Global Bihar Meet organized by Bihar times & Institute for Human development, New Delhi in association with govt of Bihar on Jan 19 ,2007 –Jan 21,2007 at SK memorial Hall is at door. The preparation for making it successful remembrance meet is on full swing. Bihar Govt ,particularly Hon’ble DY CM of Bihar, Sri Sushil Kumar Modi with its counterpart Hon’ble CM ,Sri Nitish Kumar jee are involved themselves in inviting top brasses of India & abroad including President of India , PM of Mauritius,Sri Naveen Gopal , RBI governer etc , many new names are being included into it.
It looks Patna is going to be most happening destination for some days where NRIs, NRBs, Industrialists, academicians, scientists & social workers from different countries and states of India are visiting to show their presence for the noble cause into this summit and give blessings to new Bihar for their healthy & prosperous future .
As the reports last came in, altogether 70-80 NRIs of different countries & over 150 NRBs of different states of India including CEOs/CTOs of big companies are expected to participate.

This is the first time that people of Bihar from different country will be sitting together and will be discussing on development perspectives of the state, giving their proposal to invest into state, giving their ideas to develop Bihar and more than this all will interact each other for the noble cause which may develop fertile ground for the big investment in the state.

President A P J Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the Global Bihar Meet in Patna on January 19 and the Prime Minister of Mauritius Navin Gopal will also grace the occasion. “Former RBI Governor and Chairman of PM’s Economic Advisory Council, C Rangarajan has given his consent to give the valedictory address on January 21,
The other technical sessions will be attended by representatives from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNICEF and Bihar Industries Association.

Though many big shots are participating in this global meet, the question arises
Should we expect large investment from this global meet?
Are NRIs /Industrialists of Bihar confident & secured to invest in the state?
Will they invest on the basis of son of the soil?
These are the big question in the minds of every one, all fear about repetition of past unfruitful NRIs meet in 1990’s.
Let us come and discuss on these aspects which is directly or indirectly related to the development of the state.
Why Investors may think about Bihar?

To be very frank, businessmen are the only businessman who doesn’t work on sentiments. They usually don’t think about the investment where conditions and situation are not favorable even if they are the son of the soil.
They establish their industries which happen to be most suitable for them. This is the main reason why many states of India progressed very well by making their destination favorable to Businessman. In India , except some states like Maharashta, Gujarat, Punjab, UP, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka etc ,other states were not successful in luring large nos of investors in their states because of worse Law & order and Infrastructure , internal terrorism etc which always hinders business man from opening their business and R&D houses.

Bihar which is supposed to be most backward state in India has been devoid of willful politicians and policy makers. The selfish, non co-operation & non –coordination attitude of not only Local politicians and the govt but also erudite who have not been contributed for the development of the state. This resulted anarchy after independence particularly in 15 yrs misrule of the past RJD govt. The state was known to be hub of knowledge, sheet of learning, enlightening whole world through scientific, cultural and ethical values has become sorry state of India. We have not seen any investment by major players of India in Bihar because of the bad environment for the investment in state even though many major players started their business from united Bihar like TATA, MAHINDRA etc

The new NDA govt in Bihar which has just come into power, a year ago have initiated development process. They have very tough task for ameliorating & changing rotten systems, mending Law & order situation, paying attention into infrastructure development (Road, electricity, Transportation) & developing education system which are the key factor for the development of the state.
Following are the efforts made by govt in around one year

1. Law & order situation improved: the first & foremost condition of NRIs and industrialists for Non –committal to investment in the state is worst law & order situation. They don’t want to invest because local goondas, hooligans demand “firouti” from the businessman. The most vital part was, they all were running their business under local politicians. This govt have taken strict action on these activities and the situation is improved, crime rate has decreased, and people in Patna started moving on the roads in the late nights with their family & friends. In other parts of Bihar also, Law and order has gradually improved. This is also to be noted that miscreants and goondas are now smashed in the public. This is also one major change which has been witnessed in this new regime.

2. Infrastructure development: the state govt has given much attention on improving road condition and electricity. If you visit Bihar, everywhere construction works has started. The connection links between Patna and North Bihar through Muzaffarpur & Hajipur has been given more attention. The govt has decided to start work on four lane road between Patna and Muzaffarpur which is the National Highway. The construction works has been started on the flood affected areas between Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur by constructing long bridges and good roads. This is to be noted that Muzaffarpur, Hajipur can be best destination for investment in tourism, education and Sugar and also IT because of the good connectivity with the state capital. Sitamarhi, the boarder dist of Nepal can be best destination for tourist for Hindu goddess “Sita”. Darbhanga, Motihari, Bhojpur, sonepur May also become favorable destination for investors in the field of Food processing unit, fruit exports and also the pharmaceutical industry because of its connectivity by good roads and distance from state capital .
All Buddhist circuit places have been already connected by good
Roads where Japan. China & Singapore etc countries are investing on the
improving road condition and other infrastructure development. And many
more Buddhist countries are interested for infrastructure development of
this part of Bihar particularly in Hotel industry, roads and power etc.
It seems, within 2-3 yrs, all parts of Bihar will connected by good roads.

3. Educational development: This govt has vision for improving education system of Bihar right from Primary education to higher level education. Recently implementation of common school system (first time in India), appointment of 50,000 teachers in govt primary schools , establishment of extension center of BIT Mesra at Patna ,establishment of National Law school (in the name of Chanakya) at patna, new strict order for professors in colleges for improving standards of education are some of the major steps taken by govt. The establishment of New IIT and re-opening of
Nalanda University is also one of the major decisions taken by govt in Bihar. Many countries such as Japan, Singapore, Indonesia & china are ready to play major role in reviving this ancient sheet of learning at Nalanda. Many engineering colleges, Medical colleges and Management colleges are going to be opened in which private sector is playing major role. There is huge demand for the investment in Bihar in opening engg & medical colleges, Management and Hotel management colleges. R&D institutes, IT Design and training centers in Bihar.

4. Investment Initiatives: Bihar govt has approved investment proposals of around Rs. 25000 crore in last one year. Around Rs 4,600 crore has been invested for opening new sugar factories and the revival of the closed ones. This is the major Breakthrough in the industry of Bihar. All the closed Nine sugar factories has been re opened and many private companies has come forward for establishing sugar industries in Bihar. The Bihar Foundation has been established by the govt under DY CM of Bihar. This is an agency to be put in place by the government soon, will coordinate efforts to bring in investments from outside the state and link them to local enterprises. The Deputy Chief Minister, who visited Britain, Italy and Canada to market Bihar as a favorable investment destination, has proposed to set up an NRI cell in the State Government to facilitate investments.

Investment Possibilities & Ground Realities:
in the 1990’s , then chief Minister Lalu Prasad visited to England, United States, Singapore, among others, ostensibly to invite investment in the state. NRI meet also was organized by the state govt. All attempts were unfruitful because of the basic thing as mentioned above which govt had never paid attention to improve in the state.
The present govt also felt the same thing and started working on creating work environment in the state. As initiatives Hon’ble DyCM of Bihar visited many countries to give impression that they are committed to the development of the Bihar and more than this, he popularized that Bihar is now means Business. This was good sign for investors. Sri NK Singh became the brand ambassador of Bihar in US /UK & other European countries to convince investors that Bihar govt is now seriously thinking to invite investors in the state by doing some work, providing basic infrastructure, law & order etc. Bihar Govt with its ambassadors have tried to convey their message that the state Govt is Very keen on the investment in fields of tourism, sugar Industries, other agro based industries, education, IT and health. These are the areas where Bihar has enough potential. As a result some companies including Tata, Mahindra has already showed their interest and decided to invest in the state.
Organizing global Bihar meet is the one of the major decisions taken by state govt which is unique in its significance. Bihar Govt in association with Bihar Times and Institute of Human Development, New Delhi and also in active coordination with overseas coordinator, are trying to prepare ground for NRIs/NRBs and Industrialist where they can altogether discuss on the issue of development of the state.
Though organizers and coordinators do feel that nos of participation in this first global meet are not so satisfactory in terms of no of industrialists & CEOs from abroad because many of them are employee of different companies, many of them have not planned for the investment in Bihar, many of them are going with their futuristic approach and they will decide after seeing the changes made by Bihar govt in view of investment in the state.
At one glance, if they get satisfied, they will be thinking later to invest in Bihar.
Many NRIs is of the views that Bihar has to improve a lot but certainly this meet will help investors to think about possible investment in the state.
In the global meet, the govt is expecting investment particularly from health, IT & Tourism section

Organizers, govt and overseas coordinators have already decided to popularize and convey message to all that” it is not an investment conference”. The missions of the conf are to

(1) Improve Bihar Image
(2) Communicate Opportunities in Bihar
(3) Convince participants to take the roll of Ambassador of Bihar

All the three factors are very important for Bihar. Bihar has got very bad name in spite of the fact that state has immense opportunities place/sectors to sell its brand.

The Bihar govt has to work hard & show that they really want to improve things which are very much needed for the investment in the state. Mean to say that govt has to work more in the direction of creating work environment in the state, luring business man, easing their rules for investment, improving law & order, improving Roads & electricity condition of the state on which they already started work.
Convincing on this mission of the conference, Sri Ajay Kumar, CEO, Bihar Times, along with the Institute of Human Development, Delhi, agrees that this conference will facilitate to bring prospective investors across the world and the Bihar Government on a common platform in connection with the conclave.
As far as investment in the state through this meet is concerned, we can not deny some investment by IT companies, Educational trusts and societies, investors in Tourism and hotel Industries along with agro based industries in Bihar.
Many organizations including BiharBrains (www.biharbrains), bajana (www.bajana.org), IABJ, Dubai will ready to present model to Bihar in the field of education.
As the reports available, NRIs from UK will be interested in investing Health sector whereas many NRIs from US and other European countries will be interested in investing IT & Tourism sector particularly in hotel industry in the Buddhist circuit of Bihar.
Global meet do expect more participation from CEOs of India based companies who are also vital part of this meet. Locally, many companies including TATA, Mahindra, Ranbaxy and other IT players are sending their representatives to give their signals for the investment in the areas of pharmaceuticals, IT, Power and hotel industries .

Many govt officials will be sitting in the conference hall for any kind of help to the investors & they may approve instant projects in Bihar after discussion.

In this global meet, The Govt may decide to
1. Form special economic zone (SEZ) for Bihar.
2. Separate ministry for NRBs on the pattern of the Punjab, Gujarat, Goa and Kerala governments etc.
3. direct investment through Bihar Foundation trust(www.biharparishad.org ) established by Bihar govt which will be under DY CM of Bihar

These decisions will be helpful for the investors. NRIs now can directly take help from Bihar foundation trust for the investment in state.
As far as big investment in state through this global meet is concerned, that process has already started and will depend upon the commitment made by the govt in meet. In fact Govt has to sell itself in front of investors. Govt has to assure them for their full security and environment in the state.
Certainly this Global meet will be historic in view of uniting people from Industry of origin of Bihar to discuss on the development perspectives of the state and starting new ventor with major players and attendees of the global meet.
More than this they all will vow to work for building Bihar, a developed state in Indian union.

Bibhuti Bikramaditya,
Chairman BiharBrains(www.biharbrains.org
Overseas coordinator, Global Bihar Meet.
Daejeon, S korea

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