States must compete with each other to attract investments: Arun Jaitley

NEW DELHI(PTI): Asking states to ‘reform or perish’, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said states must compete with each another to attract investments.

“Those who don’t reform, the people in those states are going to be at a disadvantageous position and those who are in a position to offer a more favourable economic, business and political environment to investors, certainly those are states that are going to win. Reform or Perish couldn’t be truer than it is today,” he said while inaugurating the two-day Happening Haryana Global Investor Summit.

Investors are not philanthropists, they are business people, he said, adding, “if there is an environment of paralysis in a given state, policies are not reforming, the investor doesn’t feel enthused enough to invest there.” He also said that states are increasingly becoming competitive with regard to attracting investments.
“I slightly deviated from the conventional phrase that was used about India being a country with co-operative federalism. And I had in the first few months itself started saying that in addition we are also a competitive federalism,” Jaitley said.

“The future lies there, because it’s not merely the Centre-state relation, but states competing against each other in order to attract investments,” he said.
The Finance Minister, who has announced a host of steps to boost manufacturing and real estate sectors, said if there is an environment of paralysis in any state and policies are not reforming, then investors will not invest there.
Haryana has a more composite economy with a very large agricultural base, he said, adding the state has transformed itself into a manufacturing state over the last 30-40 years.
“One of the greatest things to happen was to get the auto hub on the outskirts of New Delhi. Haryana is also growing into an important service sector economy,” he said.
Jaitley said the whole corridor on the outskirts of New Delhi abutting these thirteen districts are all important networks and has helped create jobs and improved education facilities, healthcare system.
Underlining the need for improving the transport infrastructure, Jaitley said, he himself has reached late by 20 minutes at the event due to heavy traffic on the National Highway.
“If we don’t immediately do something to address (infrastructure bottleneck), it would take three hours as compared to a one-and-a-half hour now to reach Dharuhera in a few years from now. Therefore, connecting New Delhi with this part of the state is critical,” he said.
“I think it is high time that a second and third route of commuting between New Delhi and this part is immediately thought of and put into operation…we have to think of fresh communication channel on the road,” he said.
On the Jat reservation stir which led to losses to the tune of thousands of crore in Haryana, Jaitley said, “dark clouds are over” and the state has a huge sense of resilience.
“We should be able to make the best of the situation, notwithstanding some transient crisis because of issues in the state which come up. I think the state has a huge sense of resilience by which it is able to overcome these crises, as it has when they took place a few weeks ago,” he added.