Dynamics - December 2012
The challenges of India's richest state
The Chief Minister of the Indian state of Maharashtra, Shri Prithviraj Chavan, talks about his plans for delivering sustainable development.
“We are an attractive investment destination — but we are determined to make it even more attractive.” - Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister, Maharashtra
The richest state in the Indian union is also the second largest by both population and cities. According to Chavan, this is a key economic strength. “We have a large market and a large number of highly trained young people,” he says.
The key focus areas include:
- Agriculture: “We are attacking the problem of ‘rain-fail agriculture’,” says Chavan. The focus is on making the largely agricultural state drought-proof by using modern irrigation technologies, precision agriculture and marketing linkages.
- Industrialization: “We have launched an industrial policy that emphasizes large projects, which has proved very successful,” says Chavan. Over the last seven years, the state attracted large multinational corporations, particularly from the automobile and IT sectors.
- Housing: The state’s capital, Mumbai, faces the problem of slums, in which almost 50% of the city’s population lives. To convert these into public housing and free up land for commercial development is difficult. The minister is now focusing on building large townships in and around Mumbai to lessen the population pressures on the city.
- Transport: “We plan to build an orbital road around the city, and are already building an underground metro system and a monorail system.”
Chavan is optimistic about his state’s future. “Maharashtra still attracts by far the most foreign direct investment, with 37% of all Indian investment coming into our state. We are an attractive investment destination — but we are determined to make it even more attractive.”