I was in New Delhi yesterday to participate in an Investor's Conclave meeting organized by the Government of Uttar Pradesh in the presence of Shri Akhilesh Yadav, its dynamic Chief Minister. Even if the event had been planned before the arrival to power of Narendra Modi, an immense symbol for a drastic change towards the future, this Conclave was particularly well scheduled since we have the feeling that most of the 29 states of India are now racing to grab part of the expected investments to pour into the country to speed up its modernization.

Like it was repeated during the opening conference, Uttar Pradesh is aiming for a 10% growth in 2014 and, we have to admit, the state is well geared to achieve this ambitious plan. Situated in north-central India, Uttar Pradesh (UP), which literally means “Northern State”, is bordered by Nepal and eight Indian states. With a population of over 200 million people, UP is the most populated state of India and is known abroad for being the home of India’s biggest popular tourist attraction, the Taj Mahal, and of one of the world’s oldest cities, Varanasi, sacred place considered as a major pilgrimage site for Hindus.

But beyond tourism, agriculture, sugar refining, textile, handloom and handicrafts, UP wants to become the real industrial and IT hub of the North, capitalizing on several companies already located in the city Noida and, especially, on its participation to the vast project of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DMIC) and the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor designed to attract national and foreign investments into this vast and rich territory.

The presence of the Chief Minister of UP to an event is always well covered by the local media but yesterday was particularly well staged and I counted over 20 cameramen and more photographers struggling to immortalize the signing ceremony of over $US 7 billion of investments in the State, all the major corporations active in the region, from HP to Coca-Cola and Samsung, underlining their success stories in UP.

It is a fact that the needs are enormous in all sectors, from utilities to civil aviation and from education to health. For example, UP is the size of UK and when UK has 20 international airports, UP has only one but space for a least 5 more, just to cope with the growing touristic activity and the development of the industries.

In order to smoothen the process of setting-up businesses and fight the risk of corruption, the Chief Minister has launched a Web portal that centralizes the entire registration process. A great initiative that reduces the irritants when investing in India and paves the way for a successful operation in what UP calls “the Land of Unlimited Potential”.

Renato Cudicio | CEO - Arsha Consulting

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