New Jobs Key To Easing Caste Tensions: Maharashtra Cm Devendra Fadnavis India News

New jobs key to easing caste tensions: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra CM Fadnavis says attempts to vitiate the atmosphere by inciting caste clashes will fail as youth aspire to get jobs. Hours before leaving for the WEF in Davos on Saturday, he told ET why Maharashtra is the most sought-after investment destination.

What is your agenda for Davos?

Davos is mostly a networking forum and a place for b2b meetings. This time, my agenda will be to participate in other forums and invite different businesses to participate in the 'Magnetic Maharashtra Summit' that begins on February 18.

How is the state gearing up for the 'Magnetic Maharashtra Summit'?

During Make in India in Mumbai in 2015, we had signed a lot of MoUs, of which 51% came to fruition. When you look at the country's average, our figure is quite high as is the level of investments coming in. Maharashtra has a lot of promise because we have improved on all parameters in the past three years. All studies have shown that the ease of doing business has improved in our state tremendously.

What are the sectors in focus?

The primary focus is manufacturing and investment in infrastructure. There are roads, ports, bridges, airports, electricity. We have a 360 degree approach, as there are many sectors that people can invest in.

You signed MoUs worth Rs8 lakh crore during the Make In India event. What are the numbers you are looking at during Magnetic Maharashtra?

We have not set any targets, we have understood what type of MoUs fructify. The thrust would not be on the numbers...numbers can be a byproduct. The thrust would be on the convertibility of MoUs we sign. Our success rate in MoUs in the manufacturing sector is more than 70%, but for other sectors it takes a lot of time.Small medium enterprises claim to have suffered losses thanks to demonetisation and GST...

The basic issue is that of mentality. Those who have adapted to the new regime are doing well and have achieved growth. There was a section that thought paying taxes, duties and electricity bills are none of their business. They are realising that there's no escaping it, after demonetisation and GST. Ultimately, under GST, it is very difficult to do business without showing it on record. Jobs are important but you cannot have a totally non-compliant regime just to support informal jobs.

Maharashtra has seen caste-related violence recently and there is concern over how this will impact the state...

No businesses have expressed concern about it to me so far. The law and order situation in our state is very good. Agitations take place in every state, but don't affect businesses anywhere. In Maharashtra, our biggest goodwill ambassadors are the people who have set up businesses here. They keep talking at all forums about Maharashtra and how they are prospering in our state.

But we are seeing a lot of caste related tensions cropping up...Our opponents, as their track record proves, cannot compete with us on the issue of transparency or development. So, they will bring out non-issues. They want to vitiate the atmosphere on the basis of caste. I don't think they will succeed because the major aspiration for youth is the economy and jobs. While there is a little unrest on caste issues, it is also related to jobs. It is quite unfortunate that in the 21st century the principal opposition parties are only resorting to caste politics.You have said the Bhima Koregaon violence was a conspiracy...

What happened on that day (violence on January 1) was condemnable but after that a few parties have tried to exploit the situation which is worse.Is loan waiver a concern for the state's resources?

When you spend this much money on loan wavier, it does put a lot of stress on the state's economy. Our economy is in very sound condition. If you look at the parameters of our debt GDP ratio, revenue receipts and interest payment, all are under control. We have still kept a little fiscal space to borrow, over and above. Although there is stress financially, we have not exhausted the entire fiscal space. We are not in bad shape.

You have been investing a lot in jalayukt shivar (farm ponds) and now ghat sheti (group farming) to boost investment in the agricultural sector, but can it ensure there will be no more loan waivers?

I think this could be the last loan waiver if Maharashtra continues to invest the way it is currently doing. Change in the agricultural sector is an inter-generational change. If you keep investing at the same rate for the next 7-8 years what we have invested up till now, then the farmers and the agricultural sector will become self sustainable.

Is the agrarian crisis still a concern?

It will always be, until we reach sustainability. We can bring it down by infrastructure-led development, because when you develop infrastructure, it leads to shifting of a number of people dependent on agricultural jobs to infra and other sectors. The agricultural sector cannot absorb all of the work force. Infrastructure-led development leads to job creation. This is a time-tested model. This is why the amount of investments in infrastructure in our state is unprecedented in the past three years. It's not just the state; even the Centre is pumping in a lot of investment.

Has FM Jaitley's statement ruling out an IFC in Mumbai put a question mark on the fate of project?

There are two things. Firstly, after the finance minister's statement, I met him and he clarified that there was no bar in allowing BKC to be a Financial Services Centre. He has said that it could complement GIFT City in Gujarat, because what GIFT has, we don't have and what we have, GIFT City does not have. GIFT City has space that we don't have, but we have the advantage of already being a financial centre. So, I think there could be a complementary model being worked out.

Secondly, when we talk of a financial centre or a commodity exchange centre, it is all about distributed ledger. We are working on distributed ledger technologies, and once it is done we will see a lot of investment in the state. Financial services are not just banking. They are much more than that. Block chain, commodity exchange are all the same and require the same kind of investment and as Mumbai is a natural finance centre, I am confident it will develop as one.

You are one of the few BJP chief ministers who has not joined the ban-Padmaavat bandwagon...

It's an irrelevant question because the Supreme Court has already given its ruling. Having said that, we have maintained a position that whatever is permitted by the Censor board, it is the duty of the state to protect it.

 

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