The timing of the recently concluded Third Groundbreaking Ceremony in Lucknow is of particular significance. The Narendra Modi government completed eight successful years in office days before him. It was a period of epochal change where India became the fastest growing economy in the world. This is a testament to the growth and development we have witnessed under the leadership of Prime Minister (PM) Modi.
I was in Davos a few weeks ago, and it was encouraging to see how India was dominating not only the conversation, but also the investment narrative. India today stands out as an investment destination in the world. Dynamism in policy-making, transparency in administration, stability in governance and a relentless focus on reforms have been hallmarks of the Modi government. The world today recognizes India’s prowess. Prime Minister Modi has championed the art of balancing cooperative federalism and competitive federalism. The ladder of this vertex is another marker of the same.
In the 1950s, when India was in the early stages of development, Hindalco, the Aditya Birla Group’s flagship metals company, took root in Renukoot, which was then a remote corner of Uttar Pradesh (UP) . Since then, the Renukoot factory has expanded more than 20 times. Hindalco has grown into one of the largest aluminum companies in the world, and the group has expanded into many other businesses globally, in India and UP.
At UP, our presence extends to various sectors such as cement, chemicals and financial services. Over the years, the group has invested approximately ₹40,000 crore in the state and provides direct or indirect employment to 35,000 people. We believe in holistic development and growth as we seek to enrich lives. Our community initiatives span more than 450 villages and significantly touch the lives of more than one million people each year. Our corporate social responsibility projects focus on health, education, sustainable livelihoods, girls and infrastructure. We manage 11 schools in UP which provide quality education to 10,000 students. Through our connection to the government’s ongoing Nai Pahal Project, we have helped transform 180 public schools in eight districts across the state.
We are very invested in the growth of the state and it is encouraging to see the state evolving rapidly under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Over the past few years, UP has become one of the most sought after destinations for investors in India. Development has clearly found a new impetus thanks to the twin-engine government. There are three distinct signs of the huge transformation that is underway in UP.
First, the significant progress in ease of doing business, where UP has risen from 14th to second place over the past five years. The Nivesh Mitra portal has also facilitated investment in the state. The second is the vote of confidence from foreign investors. The state has received foreign direct investment of over $880 million since October 2019, despite the pandemic. This was more than had been received over the past two decades.
The third is the scale and speed with which the state modernizes its infrastructure. In recent years, the state has embarked on mammoth infrastructure projects such as the Purvanchal highway, regional rapid transit, and new airports.
All these initiatives, for me, demonstrate the intention to transform at breakneck speed. There is a burning desire that is palpably felt in the way UP is progressing under the leadership of CM Adityanath and the guidance of PM Modi.
As an early investor in the state industrialization process, we are very excited about this transformation. UP is no longer a state that is content to be a laggard follower in the economic course of the country. Rather, it is a key leader in India’s evolution into a $5 trillion economy. When it comes to making it easier to do business or building new era infrastructure, UP sets an example for other states to follow. Ultimately, the ease of doing business is an experience. And our experience with the UP administration has been truly wonderful.
Kumar Mangalam Birla is the Chairman of Aditya Birla Group
Opinions expressed are personal