In run-up to Lok Sabha poll, investment of ₹50,530 cr. at business meet gives Nitish shot in the arm

Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) worth ₹50,530 crore were inked with 300 firms for investments in Bihar during the two-day global investors’ summit, which concluded in Patna on Thursday.

The MoUs were inked at Gyan Bhavan in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who released the Bihar Logistics Policy 2023 aimed at providing world-class infrastructure facilities for industrial and social growth. Mr. Kumar met representatives from 16 countries and assured them that the government will extend all facilities and assistance, and thanked them for visiting the State.

Mr. Kumar also inaugurated the Coffee Table Book of the Industry Department and honoured the investors by draping them with shawls and presenting them with mementos.

Major companies that inked pacts included Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (₹7,386.15 crore), Patel Agri Industries Private Limited (₹5,230 crore), Holtech International Inc. (₹2,200 crore), Indo European Heart Hospitals and Research Institute Private Limited (₹2,000 crore).

The Adani Group said it would make an additional investment of ₹8,700 crore in sectors such as cement manufacturing, logistics and agro-industry.

This was the first time the Bihar Business Connect, showcasing the State as a key business destination, was organised at such a large scale. In the past, investors approached the State indirectly through the Asian Development Research Institute, an autonomous body that helps the State government in collecting financial data. Last year, a business meet held at the Secretariat did not attract many investors.

The proposed investments at the summit come as a shot in the arm for the Chief Minister, who has been facing criticism from the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over lack of development in the State. With the Centre not giving attention to the State’s demand for funds worth ₹2.5 lakh crore to execute welfare schemes over the next five years, Mr. Kumar can take credit for bringing huge investment proposals to the State in the run-up to next year’s Lok Sabha election.

BJP State chief Samrat Choudhary, however, accused the government of double standards as Mr. Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav criticise the Adani Group on the one hand and accept investments from it on the other.

‘Three key needs’

Addressing the concluding session of the summit, Industries Minister Sameer Kumar Mahaseth said the State needs three things for faster development. “Rain in Nepal causes much destruction in Bihar. If an agreement on water management with Nepal is reached, the State can be saved from floods. If Bihar gets special category status, its industrial development will accelerate. Lastly, if it is included in the Special Economic Zone, its economic development will increase,” he said.

The Minister said the State has 3,000 acres for industry and it is trying to create a land bank of another 3,000 acres to ensure that there is no shortage of land for investors.

Sandeep Poundrik, Additional Chief Secretary of the Industries Department, said setting up industries in the State is easy due to the presence of a ready market, raw materials, infrastructure, workforce and government support. The government also gives attractive subsidies and incentives through its various industrial policies, he said. “We hope that this summit will be organised in 2024 as well. We will welcome all of you again along with new investors,” Mr. Poundrik said.

Pranav Adani, director, Adani Enterprises, said the group has already invested ₹850 crore in the State and plans to increase this to over ₹8,000 crore, generating jobs for 10,000 people. “The group is also starting a cement industry in Bihar,” Mr. Adani said.

He said when Mr. Kumar was the Union Railway Minister, he had introduced the online ticket booking portal in 2003. “Today, it is the busiest rail ticket booking system in the world. Nitishji is working with the vision of taking Bihar forward, The Adani Group supports this vision of Bihar,” Mr. Adani said.

Kamal Oswal, chairman-cum-managing director of Nahar Group of Industries, said his group is building a logistic park in Bihar at a cost of ₹300 crore. Mahesh Kumar, CEO, Tiger Analytics, said the IT sector in Bihar will now witness change. Rajesh Agrawal, CEO, Micromax Biofuels, and Dilip Kumar, founder of Patel Agri Industries, also spoke on the occasion.

Hasmukh Ranjan, Chief Information Officer of Advance Micro Devices, gave detailed information regarding the investments being made by their respective companies in Bihar. He praised the work being done by the Chief Minister. Mr. Ranjan discussed the development work being done in other sectors such as education, women empowerment, social reform, law and order, infrastructure and agriculture sector and said there has been a lot of change in Bihar and there is a favourable environment for investment.

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