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Gujarat: one step ahead

It is an encouraging sign that the Maharashtra government has realised that the state lags behind others when it comes to the rate of industrial growth. Just that it may have come a bit too late, and industries minister Narayan Rane's fervent appeal to top industrialists such as Ratan Tata, the Ambani brothers, the Mahindras, et al, may have sounded sincere if only his department had bothered to update the much-delayed Industrial, Investment and Infrastructure Policy (IIIP). 

The IIIP lapsed on June 30 this year, after serving its full four year term. But given the rapid pace at which Gujarat is developing, investors are fleeing Maharashtra and wooing its Chief Minister Narendra Modi, despite the communal taint on him following the horrific riots in 2002.

Not that Maharashtra is a laggard in industrial development. It has consistently been the most developed state for the last four to five decades, and has retained its No 1 position when it comes to both foreign and domestic investments.

Yet, the signs are for all to see -- Gujarat's industrial growth rate is far higher than Maharashtra, and unless those sitting at Mantralaya in Mumbai implement a brand new policy that includes moves like a single window clearance, upgrading infrastructure in various parts of the state, especially in Mumbai and Pune, etc, Maharashtra's growth will continue to remain stagnant.

This could be done easily if the chief minister, bound as he is by the constraints of coalition politics, pushes his council of ministers to make this possible. The IIIP is only one part of the story; what the state really needs is an overhaul in infrastructure building combined with a grand vision to provide that path.

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