By Dr. Rahees Singh
Apart from being the heartland of the country, Uttar Pradesh has been endowed with ample natural and human resources. The first urban revolution of history (in common practice it is called the second urban revolution while the Indus civilization is the first but the Indus civilization is a proto-historic civilization) took place on this earth in the Ganges plains. It is here that the cultivation of paddy (Koldihwa, Prayag) started for the first time (in the Neolithic period itself).
Most of the first six historical cities were established on the soil of this region. On this land of the great incarnations of God, Lord Krishna’s Mathura became the main centre of trade from Uttarapath as well as a great centre of Indian art. Similarly, Kashi, the city of Baba Vishwanath, Ayodhya, the city of Lord Shri Ram, Shravasti of Buddha, etc., along with some other cities were not only great centres of religion and spirituality but also became major centres of contemporary economic and international trade.
Along with human capital, spirituality, crafts, agriculture, and trade were the four pillars on which the economy of Uttar Pradesh competed with the world and made its people happy. But in the last seven decades since independence, due to slavery Uttar Pradesh could never again return to its original glory and remained deprived of prosperity and happiness.
Not only was this, in the last few decades Uttar Pradesh counted as a BIMARU state. It was necessary to change this perception of the state because with this image neither the credibility of the state would have increased, neither the Ease of Doing Business Index would have come up nor the capital inflow would have increased. Changing the perception was a very difficult task but in the last four and a half years, the Bharatiya Janata Party government under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath has succeeded in changing it. Today, Uttar Pradesh is an emerging economic hub and the best destination for business and investment.
After the formation of the government in March 2017, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath decided to replicate the policies of Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’ mantra in the state. Work culture was changed with the system becoming more transparent, accountable, and time-bound result-based. It is because of the visionary leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that Uttar Pradesh has moved up from 14th place to second place in the Ease of Doing Business rankings in the country and has achieved the status of becoming the second-ranked economy in terms of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and is moving rapidly towards Ease of Living by taking the welfare schemes of the government to the last person standing. The special thing is that in the vision with which Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took forward the economy of the state, equal importance was given to the forward and backward linkages of the economy. This feature was essential for inclusive, sustainable, and rapid economic growth, especially in terms of ease of living.
The foundation for a revolutionary and progressive change in the state’s economy was laid on February 2018 when ‘Global Investors’ Summit’ was organized and Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) worth Rs 4.68 lakh crore were signed. While addressing this summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that earlier there was an atmosphere of fear and insecurity in which when it becomes difficult to lead a normal human life, then how could he think for the industries. A harsh truth because the anomalies arising out of the inefficiency and misgovernance of the previous governments have not only deprived the state of a conducive business environment but also did not allow it to become a competitive, fast and inclusive economy. Perhaps in view of this, the Prime Minister had said at that time that Uttar Pradesh has values, but now in the changed times, there is a greater need for value addition. Chief Minister Yogi has not only added value addition with potential, policy, planning, performance and perfection but has also added some new dimensions to values and deeds.
In 2018, the Yogi-led government started the program ‘One District, One Product’ with the objective of enriching the rural economy and increasing the ‘Per Capita Rural Domestic Produce’ and facilitating it to ensure the access of local products to national and international markets. Due to this, on the one hand, the MSME industry of the state became active and on the other hand the dependence of rural life on the agricultural economy was reduced. This created a situation of agricultural surplus. Together these two worked to increase the per capita rural income. Socio-economic justice was ensured by increasing per capita rural income. These developments combined helped in making Uttar Pradesh’s economic growth rate fast, inclusive and sustainable.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set a target of $5 trillion economy for the country as well as $1 trillion economy for Uttar Pradesh. Importantly, most of the political and classical economists believe that the road to becoming a 5 trillion economy (2024-25) passes through Uttar Pradesh. This is because Uttar Pradesh boasts of extensive human capital, connectivity, huge investment potential, and rich natural resources. Along with this, under the leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, interlinking of expertise efficiency is being done, development of expertise market is being done and successful efforts are being made to brand the products so that they can compete with global products.
For the past several decades, tourism in Uttar Pradesh had fallen proportionately far behind. Due to the commitment and strategy of the Yogi Government the way Kumbh gained global brand recognition and more than 250 million people connected with it, sets a wonderful example of the government’s legacy. One has to be aware of the fact that Uttar Pradesh is a rich and immense potential state from the point of view of the cultural or spiritual economy. The earlier governments either did not have the vision to pursue it or they deliberately ignored it. But today culture and economy are emerging as complementary to each other which will give impetus to the tourism economy. Tourism is considered as a multiplier of economic growth and with this vision, Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura, Vrindavan, Vindhyachal, Chitrakoot etc. will become great centres of religion and spirituality in the coming times as well as prosperous centres of cultural and tourism economy.
It is the result of the changing business environment in Uttar Pradesh that the state has now become a preferred destination for investors. The proof of this is that even during the coronavirus pandemic around five dozen national and international companies showed interest in UP and invested extensively. These include Von Wellix, Mac Software, Ecgrate Inc., Edison Motors, Yazaki, and some domestic companies such as Hiranandani Group, Britannia, Dixon Technologies, to name a few. Road and rail systems are the lifelines for the economy and the overall infrastructure is like the arteries of the body. Without them the economy cannot pick up pace. The network of expressways that is developing in the state will play a decisive role in the coming days and rail and airways will act as value addition to it.
Overall, the model of economy developed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh does not only include the mantra of inclusive, rapid, sustainable, and welfare development along with Antyodaya but also is the key to becoming ‘self-reliant’.
(Dr. Rahees Singh is an expert of economic and external affairs. He also serves as a media advisor to CM Yogi Adityanath. Views are personal and do not necessarily reflect that of Financial Express Online.)