The USISPF had recently organised a summit in the state capital of Lucknow, with 26 American companies in attendance.
American firms are seeing a window of opportunity to invest in Uttar Pradesh, the head of a top US business advocacy group said today, underlining that a change in India’s most populous state would mean a change in the entire country. Mukesh Aghi, the president of the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), said he has taken several American delegations to UP in the last one year and held meetings with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who, he noted, is eager to embark on a massive developmental effort in the state. “A lot of American companies are showing interest in UP,” Aghi told PTI in an interview, adding, “If you change UP, you change India.” The USISPF is facilitating a leadership delegation from UP between April 30 and May 4.
The delegation will be led by the state’s Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh, who also heads a ‘US investment cell’ created to attract American investment. The cell has identified health, skill development, infrastructure as priority areas of investment, he said. Other members of the delegation include the Industries Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey and Special Advisor to the chief minister Amit Kumar Singh. He said the delegation would have intensive interaction with leaders of the Silicon Valley in San Francisco and is also scheduled to travel to Washington DC and New York City. The other areas of interest for the delegation are digital economy, tourism, food, agriculture and defence. “The whole objective is to understand, how do we sell UP as a state. I think, a lot of companies are interested in UP and these guys are focused on that,” Aghi said. Referring to a recent announcement for a defence corridor in UP by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said the delegation is also planning to visit a number of companies to explore what can be done in the state from the defence perspective.
“I feel that the attitude and support of the central government towards UP is promising and hopefully after this trip will bring Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also to the US,” he said. No date for Adityanath’s trip has been decided as yet. Noting that the biggest challenge that UP has is job creation, he added that law and order situations has improved dramatically. “What we are seeing is bureaucrats’ more interest in stepping up and supporting us from actually bringing companies in,” he said. “UP has challenges. I’m not saying it doesn’t. But anybody who comes in early, will get a bit of market share,” Aghi said, adding that the climate of investment in UP has changed. “Is it still there at world class level? I would say no. But where we were a year ago and where we are now, there is a dramatic shift,” he said. The USISPF had recently organised a summit in the state capital of Lucknow, with 26 American companies in attendance.
“He is quite supportive from that perspective. I think where we have to see a shift is more middle level bureaucracy. That culture shift has to take place otherwise all indication from the minister-level down to senior workers is very, very positive,” he said. Since its formation last year, the USISPF has been focusing majorly on state to state relationship. In recent months, it has hosted high-level delegations from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, among others. “We believe that we got to work at state level. States seems to have more power to take certain decisions. We can see more competition coming through. We are working with at least a dozen states quite aggressively,” Aghi said.