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Prasadi Lal Meena

Minister of Industries

Government of Rajasthan

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BUSINESS INVESTMENT Rajasthan, the most preferred investment destination with a conducive ecosystem

Feb 25, 2021

…mentions Prasadi Lal Meena, Minister of Industries, Government of Rajasthan, in his interview with Anvita Pillai. He details on Rajasthan’s plan to attract more investment, while also addressing environmental concerns and its plan-of-action to make the state pharma-production conducive, the labour reforms and more. Excerpts...

Various foreign companies are now looking at India as an attractive location to set up their manufacturing base. How are you planning on making Rajasthan a lucrative option to attract manufacturing industries? What sort of subsidies and packages are you planning to offer these companies?

Over the last few years, the Rajasthan government has adopted several new policies to facilitate new investments and strengthen the industrial infrastructure. The Rajasthan Industrial Development Policy 2019, Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme 2019, Rajasthan MSME (Facilitation of Establishment and Operation) Act 2019, all have numerous provisions for industries, from best incentives across the country to smooth commencement of operations. Recently, Rajasthan CM, Ashok Gehlot, launched a ‘One Stop Shop’ facility that brings together 14 significant departments under one roof to ensure smooth clearances of investment proposals. A Board of Investment has been constituted under the CM’s chairmanship to decide on special packages for major investment proposals. The state government has also introduced sector-specific policies, like the new solar energy policy, hybrid & renewable energy policy, agriculture & tourism policy to harness renewable energy potential and ensure quality power supply.

The Industry Department is also proactively pursuing investors looking to establish/expand their base. Even during the lockdown, officials were actively in touch with the investors’ fraternity and investment consultants from several countries. Video conferences were held with representatives of investor bodies from various states.

While Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have established a thriving pharma sector, Rajasthan does not have a vibrant industry. What are your plans to promote the pharma industry in Rajasthan? When will you be coming out with your pharma policy?

The new industrial policy identifies ‘pharmaceuticals and medical devices’ as a thrust sector. This calls for extending preference and price advantage to local manufacturers in procurement by the state. The government has planned to develop a specialised pharmaceutical & medical device park to attract the market giants. It is also working to strengthen the sectoral infrastructure, such as testing laboratories, warehouses and temperature-controlled facilities to store medical products. Rajasthan, as well-known, has additional advantages to attract investments. It has a robust medical set-up and attracts medical tourists from its neighbouring states. The state also has a quality academic system, which ensures the availability of qualified workforce. Rajasthan has a vast network of state highways and also has direct rail, road & air connectivity with other parts of country.

Recently, RPMA urged for an attractive pharmaceutical policy, especially to aid the pharma sector to spur bulk drug production. What are the government’s plans on this?

The Rajasthan Industrial Development Policy will be establishing a pharmaceutical and medical device development cell. The pharma-related clearances have also been associated with ‘One Stop Shop’ for faster approvals. Also, to further promote the pharma sector, the RIPS 2019 proposes fiscal assistance for manufacturers of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and medical devices.

Rajasthan has started tapping its wind energy potential, and it has now begun expanding its solar energy parks. How do you plan on making renewable energy a viable proposition for producers? Also, are there any plans to get domestic manufacturing of solar cells and panels in the state now that the central government has imposed a higher duty on imports?

To facilitate the renewable energy sector, we have introduced the Rajasthan Solar Energy Policy, 2019 and the Wind and Hybrid Energy Policy, 2019. The CM has a vision to promote Rajasthan as a hub of renewable energy, providing affordable & quality power without contributing to pollution. The policy has attracted many major investments, and the state is advancing towards establishing ‘Ultra Solar Power Parks’.

The government is also keen to develop the ancillary industries, and discussions are being held with investors regarding local development of various components. It is also exploring possibilities to promote local manufacturing of solar cells and panels.

Environmental factors have become an essential parameter in today’s manufacturing. What changes in the law can manufacturing companies/associations expect with regards to the pollution standards?

Environmental conservation is certainly not an obstruction to industrialisation; it is rather essential for sustainable development. Rajasthan will assist industries to become more environmentally friendly. For this purpose, the new industrial policy supports green building and eco-friendly industries; incentives and necessary regulatory support are being offered for reuse & recycling of industrial waste. The government is also working to explore new methodologies.

The industries department is working with stakeholders from industrial areas to form Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to encourage waste management & recycling. The state government is also working to ensure that the deserving applications for environmental applications are disposed off in due time, thus avoiding unnecessary delay and hardships for investors.

The new labour norms indicate that states can ease hiring and firing policy. A few of your adjoining states have done so, will you be following suit? If not, don’t you think you will lose out?

Rajasthan is among the leading states in ease of doing business; it has been ahead in reforms and facilitating trade & industry. This, along with skilled manpower, affordable land, infrastructure and effective governance, makes the state a preferred investment destination.

The industrial policy takes care of overall industrial development and encourages industries to partner in skill development. The state has also developed a centralised repository of human resources under the banner of ‘Rajkaushal’. Soon, it will be valuable for planning skill upgradation programmes and will develop an ecosystem conducive to both the investors and labour force.

How are you planning on promoting the R&D capabilities & technological advancements for manufacturing in the state? How do you envision the industrial infrastructure in the state of Rajasthan by 2025?

The Rajasthan Industrial Policy 2019 established a vision for ‘Industry 4.0’, which will extend incentives to the industries for the acquisition of technology, skill development and R&D. Centres will be developed for R&D by bringing together industry and academia. Special fiscal and infrastructure support to units using automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies have been envisioned. Support shall also be provided to state incubators for upgrading facilities with new-age technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT), FinTech, clean energy, climate engineering, clean transportation, etc. Further, the policy envisages educational institutes to promote entrepreneurship by providing access to labs and state of the art machinery.

The CM has laid a vision to make Rajasthan the most preferred investment destination with a conducive ecosystem for an inclusive, balanced and sustainable industrial development. Thus, the industrial infrastructure development goals are not limited to trade freight corridors, grid-based gas supplies but also to develop social infrastructure, such as hospitals, colleges and childcare facilities to those employed in these industries.

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  • Parsadi Lal Meena is an Indian politician and currently serving as the Cabinet Minister of Industry Development and State Enterprises. He is also member of the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan. Prior to this, he served as the Minister of Cooperative and Food Supply for two terms (1998–2003 and 2008–2013) and currently represents Lalsot (Assembly constituency) as a member of the Indian National Congress.

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