UP minister US bound to woo investors

Lucknow, Apr 29 (PTI) To showcase Uttar Pradesh as an ideal investment destination, a senior minister today embarked on a week-long visit to the US to rope in certain reputed companies like Lockhead Martin, Boeing and Amazon for setting up their units in the state.

Buoyed by the keen interest evinced by over two dozen US firms to invest in the state during his interaction here last October, cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh will meet top business magnates during his five-day visit which will take him to San Francisco, Washington DC and New York.

“Back to back meetings have been firmed up with top officials of global companies, US government officials and the diaspora,” Singh told PTI.

“My tour will start with a visit to Medtronic – one of the largest health companies in the world. The company has evinced keen interest in establishing cath labs in every district hospital of the state,” he said.

Meetings will also be held with officials of ride-hailer UBER, which is so far serving commuters only in Lucknow and want to expand to tier-2 cities in the state, he said.

He said that officials of Mastercard and Visa, who want to expand their footprint in UP, are likely to meet him.

Apart from this, Adobe and CISCO, have plans for setting up manufacturing units in the state, Singh said.

“My San Francisco visit will be related mostly to health and information technology,” he said.

Singh, who is also UP government’s official spokesperson, said that on May 1 he will visit Stanford University and deliver a lecture on the vast potential of Uttar Pradesh in several fields.

Referring to his scheduled meeting with Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, Singh said that Boeing wants to bring fighter aircraft to India.

The UP cabinet minister is also likely to attend a meeting of the UP diaspora in New York on May 5 before wrapping up his tour.

“We also want to explore the possibility of setting up a financial hub/centre in the state, which will deal in banking and stock exchange activities,” he said.

Singh informed that he will get the honour of ringing the bell at New York Stock Exchange. Ringing of the opening bell has become a ceremonious event where dignitaries visiting the stock markets or companies that are trading for the first day are given the honour of ringing the bell.

Asked to comment on similar activities carried out by the previous SP government, Singh said, “The difference is that the BJP is a brand in itself and stands for governance and transparency. The law and order situation has improved in UP, and there is no corruption. The US investments in UP are being monitored by the PMO.”

The state is now known for fast-decision taking and for ease of doing business, he asserted.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too will visit the US in future, he said.

A number of meetings with officials of different companies will take place in Washington DC at the office of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).

A 50-member delegation, representing 26 major US firms, had a detailed interaction with Singh here in October to explore investment opportunities in UP.

“We are ready give them a red carpet welcome in the true spirit of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (guest is God),” he said, without going into how much investment he expected or the job opportunities likely to be created.

BJP’s ‘Sankalp Patra’ had pledged to create massive job opportunities for youth in the state by promoting investments, he said, adding that it was a step in that direction.

Seeking to showcase the state as an attractive destination for investment, Singh had told the delegation members that Yogi Adityanath government’s narrative is different from the previous governments.

With the tagline “US in UP” on the lines of ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, the state government had invited US firms to invest in the state and was now following up the move.

The delegation, headed by Boeing, had visited the state under the aegis of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), which is committed to create the most powerful strategic partnership between the US and India and promote bilateral trade.

Singh said that taking a cue from ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, the idea of ‘US in UP’ has been mooted to display the state’s “tremendous investment potential” in chemicals, petrochemicals, cement, gems, pharmaceuticals, textiles and engineering sectors.

He said the foundation for the high-profile tour was laid when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the US last June and invited CEOs of top US companies to invest in India, saying GST was a game changer that made the country a business-friendly destination.

Officials from the US Embassy and US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) were part of the delegation that visited the state last year.

They included representatives from Facebook, Adobe, Coca Cola, Mastercard, Mosanto, Uber, Honeywell, P&G, Oracle and GE Health, besides Pratt & Whitney, Merck, Medtronic, Azure Power and Cargill.

Uttar Pradesh has recently come up with an Industrial Investment and Employment Promotion Policy to create a framework to stabilise and make existing industries more competitive and to attract and realise new international and national investments in the industrial sector, Singh added.

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