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Yogi’s 360-degree leadership lays groundwork for Uttar Pradesh’s renaissance

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Statistics show that the state under the double- engine leadership of the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is experiencing the rumblings of an economic renaissance

By Prakash Singh

Once known as an icon of the so-called BIMARU (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh) states, UP is showing all signs of waking up, in tune with its proud civilizational past.

Statistics show that the state under the double- engine leadership of the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is experiencing the rumblings of an economic renaissance.

Partly this has to do with the Chief Minister’s single-minded focus on economic growth—a herculean task as prior to his arrival, a culture of corruption, disillusionment, bureaucratic lethargy and an attitude negating the spirit of  public service had set inside the state. 

But within a short span starting from 2017, the state’s GDP shot up to Rs. 22 lakh crores in 2020-2021-- double that of what it was four years ago. A dynamic UP accounted for 8.7 per cent of the country’s GDP, second only to Maharashtra.

The secret to UP’s turnaround was the dynamism of the state’s  Medium and Small Enterprises (MSME). Nearly 70 lakh MSMEs have benefitted from massive bank loans worth Rs. 2.4 lakh crore.

The state’s MSME department has emerged as a growth engine of the state’s economy and has provided bank  loans worth Rs. 70 lakh crores. In 2020-21 alone, 34,80,596 MSME units have been dispensed loans worth Rs 63,038 crore, while Rs 16,002 crore have been provided to 1,25,408 new MSME units between April 1 and November 10 this year.  At the grassroots level, the results have been astounding as the Yogi administration’s massive initiative in the MSME sector has yielded a jaw-dropping 2 crore jobs. The latest data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) reveals that the unemployment in the state stands at 4.3% , which is much better in comparison  with Delhi (11%), Kerala (5.4%) and Maharashtra (4.3%).

But the economic surge in UP would not have happened without the presence of a safe environment, and out- of -the- box planning  to enable a new ecosystem of economy to emerge. For starters, the Yogi government had to crackdown heavily against crime so that rule of law could prevail in the state.

This was swiftly achieved. As a result, the  state could attract domestic and foreign capital on an impressive scale.  The state organised a first of its kind ‘Global Investors Summit’ in 2018 where MoUs worth Rs 4.68 lakh crore were signed. Of these 371 proposals worth close to Rs 3 lakh crore are already functional.

Despite the raging Covid-19 pandemic,  the government managed to attract more than 96 investment intents, including pledges from companies from around 10 countries such as Japan, US, UK, Canada, Germany, South Korea and Singapore. The  promise of a capital investment worth Rs. 66,000  crores flashed suddenly on the radar. Industry leaders like Microsoft, Samsung,  Reliance, Adani Enterprises, Hiranandani group are already making significant investments in the state.

For the Yogi government, it was important that the surge in investments was not confined to a few attractive locations. Following a model of equitable development, the government encouraged industry not to remain confined to big cities such as Noida, Lucknow, but to reach out to less fancy locations including Etah, Amroha and Mirzapur among others. 

Infrastructure development has been the state’s top priority. Uttar Pradesh is among those states where several important projects of the Government of India are under implementation to ensure uninterrupted connectivity. The GatiShakti National Master Plan worth 5 lakh crores will provide a strong impetus for the economy.

Financial prudence has greased UP’s renaissance. Uttar Pradesh’s 2021 budget was one of the most comprehensive economic packages seen in the history of the state, walking the fine line between responding to the crisis and keeping up economic momentum, while setting down the conditions for recovery and rebuilding.

In tune with  tangible progress and improvement in living standards, Yogi Adityanath’s approval ratings have soared. This is well timed as the clock is ticking towards the 2022 elections, and the chief minister’s report card will count more than ever. 

Despite some shortcomings, there is no denying that Yogi has effectively executed an incredibly complicated job of governing a state with a 24 crore population, all of which have different requirements and demands. There are just so many variables included a historical baggage that can come in the way of achieving big goals. But a pathbreaking beginning has been made, whose goal is to reach out to the poorest of the poor, the last link in the human development chain.

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(The writer is a former Director General of UP. The views expressed are personal and exclusive to India Narrative)