CM Kamal Nath projects MP as an investment destination

Reliance industries chairman Mukesh Ambani (left) with Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath.

The first investor summit under the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh is slated to be held at Indore, between October 19 and October 20. Since the economy is witnessing a clear slowdown, Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath is aware of the challenges that lie ahead in getting business groups to invest in new businesses in the state. So, this isn’t the best time to hold an investor summit that will be closely scrutinised by the Opposition.

Initially, CM Kamal Nath had said he doesn’t believe in holding investment summits, and in the pomp and pageantry that surrounds them. Previous investor summits did not give the state much, except photo-ops between captains of industry and the then CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

At the Global Investor Summit 2016, Chouhan had claimed investments worth `5.62 lakh crore had been received from 2,630 entities. Three years later, majority of them have not fructified. Between 2007 and 2014, four investor summits were held in which 2,357 MoUs were signed.

Out of these 1,728 were implemented while 537 were cancelled. Kamal Nath is treating the subject slightly differently. He has always maintained that investment is an article of faith.

In other words, no one would invest money in a state where returns are not guaranteed. The investor looks for certain assurances that will hedge the hard-earned money being pumped in.

On August 7, Nath held the first of his meetings with industry captains in Mumbai. He met Mukesh Ambani, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Harsh Goenka, Yashwant Holkar, Harsh Patel, Praveer Sinha, Pawan Kumar Goenka and N Chandrasekaran.

On August 8, Nath held a roundtable with CEOs of numerous companies. His brief was simple – that MP is now industry-friendly and that he has put systems in place to ensure that permissions and processes are cleared in time. He stressed on investment in new sectors like AI, besides logistics, where he feels MP may have an advantage.

Kamal Nath will need all his experience as Union commerce minister and as MP that he put to use to get manufacturing and commerce to Chhindwara over the years. He was able to get investment and create jobs in Chhindwara.

In that sense, while the situation is challenging, MP probably has the best man in the driver’s seat. The stakes are high as failure to deliver on the investment front will dent his image as a pro-business leader.