The Chhattisgarh government recently celebrated the State Foundation Day, the Rajyotsav, and used the occasion to unveil the state’s industrial policy for 2019-24. Presided over by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, the celebration was attended by other dignitaries including Home Minister Tamradhwaj Sahu, Health Minister T.S. Singhdeo, Agriculture Minister Mohammad Akbar, School Education Minister Dr Premsai Singh, Women and Child Development Minister Anila Bhendiya, Higher Education Minister Umesh Patel, PHE Minister Guru Rudra Kumar, Revenue Minister Jaising Agrawal, Industry Minister Kawasi Lakhma, Urban Administration Minister Dr Shivkumar Daharia, MLA Mohan Markam, many MLAs, RS Member Chhaya Verma and Mayor Pramod Dubey, among others. Baghel took time out to speak to BW Businessworld’s Ruhail Amin about the state’s rapid economic growth and how it is poised to become the next engine of economic development in the country.
What were the main highlights of the 20th Foundation Day of Chhattisgarh?
As you know, the Rajyotsav marks the 20th Foundation Day of Chhattisgarh. It celebrates the state government’s policy which has created an enthusiastic business environment in the state.
The state government’s goal is to benefit the economically marginalised sections, farmers, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backward classes, basically it wants all-inclusive development. Its aim is also to provide employment to everyone. These were among the key highlights of this event.
What would you call the key achievements of your government in the last one year?
Our state presents a unique business story. Despite the current economic slowdown across the country, experts are discussing how Chhattisgarh is untouched by the nationwide recession.
Chhattisgarh’s economic model is being discussed across the country. This is the result of the state government’s policies and participation by the people of Chhattisgarh. The state government’s decision to procure paddy at Rs 2,500 per quintal and waive off loans has attracted 1.5 lakh farmers who had left agriculture. From automobile to textile to the bullion market, each sector has been performing well.
What does the new policy envision for tackling issues like job creation and tribal welfare?
The number of educated unemployed has reduced in the state, land registry revenue has increased 1.5 times, the new industrial policy year will result in an inflow of maximum investment in backward sectors, setting up industries at block-level; priority to agriculture and forest products processing industries, technical and pollution-free industry have been given preference in the policy.
The service sector has also been included in this policy. The state government’s goal is to develop Chhattisgarh as a hub for all sectors. It has taken the pledge to conserve chaar chinhaari -- narva, gar, ghurua, badi. Cow dung diyas of Van Charauda have gained popularity in many parts of the country. We have not only built cowsheds in villages but are also developing it as economic and cultural activity centres of rural Chhattisgarh. Celebration of traditional festivals of Chhattisgarh has created an environment of zeal and fervour in the state and is boosting tourism in the state.
What has the state government done in the last one year to improve the security situation?
The overall security situation in the Naxalite-hit areas has improved significantly. We have rolled out special reach-out programmes to mainstream the disgruntled lot. There have been no major security concerns and we are hopeful of putting a lasting solution in place.
Tell us about some of your flagship schemes and what has been the impact on the ground so far?
The state government has launched a number of schemes to solve the problems of the people. Chief Mukhyamantri Suposhan Abhiyan has been launched to eradicate malnutrition. Universal PDS, Haat-Bazaar Clinic Scheme, Urban Slum Health Scheme, and Chief Minister Ward Office Scheme have been launched. Forty thousand houses have been built in 11 months under the Mor Zameen Mor Makaan Scheme. Efforts are being made to benefit-eligible beneficiaries under DMF.
Moreover, it is important to remember that Chhattisgarh’s history is not of just 19 years. When it was a part of Madhya Pradesh, at that time also the people of Chhattisgarh envisioned the formation of the state. Our elders Dr Khubchand Baghel, Pt Sundarlal Sharma, Thakur Pyarelal Singh struggled to create public awareness and our mission is to carry forward that vision.