Mumbai: Emphasising Maharashtra's potential to grow faster, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the Devendra Fadnavis government should accord top priority to economic development of the state.
It is the economic development which has to be at the forefront of government agenda as far as Maharashtra is concerned," Jaitley said while addressing the 'Mumbai Next' summit here through a video link from the capital.
Complimenting Fadnavis, he said the Chief Minister has been working for the same with a "single-minded pursuit." In an apparent dig at Fadnavis' predecessor Prithviraj Chavan (CM of the previous Congress-NCP government), who was hailed for his clean image, Jaitley said being honest should not hamper decision-making process.
"You cannot say that I'm honest and therefore I don't take any decisions. I think it is a combination of decisiveness along with probity which will pull the state to much greater heights," the Finance Minister said.
In Fadnavis, Maharashtra has a leader who practices highest standards of honesty and is yet decisive, he said. On Maharashtra's potential, Jaitley specifically pointed to the over 750-km coastline, saying development of ports can accelerate growth in the state.
The minor ports, developed by private parties in other parts of the country, have grown "bigger and faster" than the
state-run major ports, some of which have become "obsolete," he pointed out.
Apart from benefiting from the industrial corridors, Jaitley also suggested having industrial activity along the existing highways on a narrow strip, which will ensure that development percolates to the adjoining villages.
Tourism also promises a good opportunity, he said, adding that destinations beyond Mumbai need to be developed for the same. Earlier, he said the financial capital is the "engine driver of nation's growth" and also welcomed the initiative taken by the state government to focus on the city.
"I'm delighted that Mumbai and Maharashtra have joined this renewed race for inviting investments," he said, adding that this follows similar moves initiated by West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
"He who reforms has the ability to attract more investments, that will take the state forward," said Jaitley, adding that we have entered an era of "competitive federalism."
The Minister also said that betterment of people living below poverty line, infrastructure, education, hygiene and healthcare are the challenges before the country.