Shimla: Treading cautiously on the politically sensitive issue about divesting loss making state public sector undertakings, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur evading a direct response said that divesting was a good suggestion which the government could consider in the future.
In the run up to the two day Global Investors Meet on 7/8 November being held at Dharamshala, the chief minister before the media claimed that against a target of attracting investments of Rs 85 Thousand crores, the state government year long efforts had yielded in getting Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) signed for Rs 83 Thousand crores.
“Please don’t mistake it for investments ready to be made, but these MoUs are about the interest that entrepreneurs have expressed in willing to invest in the state,” said Thakur. “What translates into actual investments remains to be seen,” he added.
The chief minister has spent a year travelling the country, holding roadshows in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and to the countries of Netherlands, Germany and United Arab Emirates (UAE) marketing Himachal Pradesh as an investment destination.
“UAE is partnering with us in hosting the Global Investor Meet,” said Thakur, “a large business delegation from UAE and Ambassadors for at least 16 countries would be participating in the meet.”
Led by central public sector undertakings, the largest investment interest shown is in the hydropower sector with MoU’s of Rs 28 Thousand crores signed, informed Thakur.
“Tourism has attracted the interest of the private sector with MoUs worth of Rs 15 Thousand crores being signed,” he said.
Other sectors in which investors have shown interest include horticulture, food processing, wellness, pharmaceuticals, education and industrials, he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi would inaugurate the investor meet and home minister Amit Shah would preside over the closing session on the following day. Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, railways and commerce minister Piyush Goel, minister of state for tourism minister Prahlad Patel and minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur would also participate in the meet said the chief minister.
The two day meet is to have 8 session, starting with Ease of Doing Business; Overseas Indians Session; Tourism Wellness and AYUSH; Partner Country Session scheduled for 7th afternoon, and Renewal Energy & Hydropower; Food Processing – Dairy Development – Manufacturing – MSME; Incentives and Policies for promoting investments in hill states; Information Technology, ITeS and Electronics to be held on 8th November.
The meet will also hold Business to Government (B2G) and Government to Government (G2G) session.
However in the bid to attract private investments to the hill state, the Himachal government has not revealed any plans of selling any of its loss making government companies/properties or of offering them to private entrepreneurs.
The issue had earlier raked up a political controversy when a government portal had presented some loss making hotel properties for disinvestment to the private sector at the investor meet.
Not only was the list of properties immediately withdrawn but the chief minister calmed an agitated opposition (Congress) in the Vidhan Sabha by saying that the property list with pricing had been uploaded by mistake onto the official portal. Since then the government has developed cold feet about disinvestment of loss making state PSU’s.