Investor summits have been held before in Uttar Pradesh with limited results, but the recent event (UP Investors Summit 2018) in the State helmed by the Yogi Adityanath Government has significance beyond the economic aspect. It sought to project a changing profile of the State — from being riddled with law and order issues to one where the rule of law prevails; from being stifled by corruption which had seeped into all levels of governance to one where transparency through the use of technology had begun to check graft; and from being driven by the culture of extortions by mafia-like outfits patronised by varied political elements to one that has begun to clamp down on such arm-twisting. These achievements were necessary to be showcased, as the Chief Minister did in the presence of the Prime Minister and a host of leading industrialists of the country. Investors don’t come to a State that cannot provide a level of security and certainty to their investments and personal safety too.
In the years of the Samajwadi Party rule when law and order collapsed, businesses refused to be drawn to the State despite the tall promises made by the Government there. If investors are showing signs of confidence now, it is because the Adityanath Government has demonstrated its resolve. But it must be said here that law and order is not limited to conflicts between gangs or between gangs and the police, or even on partisan issues that enrage a particular community or class. Communal strife too must be contained. The Kasganj violence is an example of that, though it is to the Government’s credit that it promptly and effectively handled it. The campaign against anti-social elements — a crackdown which had landed several hundreds of such known faces behind bars, and the spate of encounters — has been welcomed by the ordinary citizens and given a boost to investors. But the road to an even more improved and sustained law and order system is long, given that the State has suffered near total collapses of systems over the years.
As regards investments, this summit certainly has been a good one. Memorandums of understanding (MoUs) worth more than four lakh crore rupees were inked on the first day itself, with leading industrial houses pledging their bit to the State to be spread over the next few years. The real challenge, however, is to get these commitments converted on the ground. Investments must lead to industries and services coming up and jobs being created. The Chief Minister has done well to say that he would personally monitor implementation.