Public Welfare The Priority
Rajasthan, the largest Indian state with a diversified economy, has always been committed towards collaborative development. As the state gears to host Invest Rajasthan Summit in its capital Jaipur, the government manifests its commitment to building enduring partnerships with private enterprises for the development of the state and prosperity of its people. With the objective to make this active outreach programme for investors a success, it is inviting the global business community of Rajasthan to experience and benefit from the bouquet of exciting opportunities that Rajasthan has to offer. With attractive investment proposals and incentives, the government aims to take them to fruition and build a promising future for all.
MARWAR conducts an exclusive interaction with Shri Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister, Rajasthan, on his vision and overall development of the state.
EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW:
What are your key focus areas for the development of Rajasthan?
What are your key focus areas for the development of Rajasthan?
Public welfare is the top priority of the government of Rajasthan. It has always taken significant initiatives for the welfare of farmers, transgender community, women and children, the SC/ST/ OBC communities (scheduled caste/scheduled tribe/other backward class), persons with disabilities and other vulnerable communities. The upliftment of farmers has been our top priority. In a first, we presented an exclusive Agriculture Budget this year. Rajasthan government has waived farm loans of approximately R15,000 crore and given an additional subsidy of R1,000 on the electricity bills of every farmer, which has led to zero bills for almost three lakh farmers.
Health and social security have always been our focus areas. We have implemented a universal health scheme where treatment and medicines are being given free of cost to all. We have given 1.29 lakh government jobs, employment to one lakh people is in process and another one lakh will be given by March 2023 and labour rules are being formed for contractual workers. We are also giving pensions to one crore people.
We never let anyone be deprived of treatment during Covid and also do not let anyone sleep hungry. The Rajasthan government gave financial assistance of R5,500 each to 33 lakh families during the Covid pandemic. We provided dry rations and meals for R8 through Indira Rasoi. We also started 1,644 Mahatma Gandhi English Medium Schools to provide quality education in English medium to the students of the state. There are plans to set up a total of 2,000 Mahatma Gandhi English Medium Schools in the rural areas of the state. The enrolment of students in the government schools of the state has crossed 98.5 lakh. Government medical colleges are being opened in 30 districts and proposal for 3 more districts is in the pipeline; 123 new colleges have been opened, of which 32 are women’s colleges. Rajasthan is no longer a state known only for droughts. Be it health, pandemic management, or improving education standards, we could achieve it all due to good governance.
What are the major milestones achieved by your government in the last four years?
I let my work speak for itself. Looking at the data, Rajasthan ranks first in NITI Aayog’s Progress on Sustainable Development Goals 2022 report for achieving the highest percentage of households having health insurance with 87.8 per cent of households, increasing from a mere 18.7 per cent in 2015-16. This is clearly an outcome of our flagship programme Mukhyamantri Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojana (Chief Minister Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme).
Education is another area. Under the Ministry of Education, the Department of School Education and Literacy released the Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D) for 2018-19 and 2019-20. Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Jaipur districts of Rajasthan have come out with flying colours in the latest district-wise ranking of school education released by the Central Government. Rajasthan has emerged as one of the top performers.
What potential does the state of Rajasthan hold in terms of being an excellent destination for investments?
The state of Rajasthan is blessed with abundant resources in terms of minerals, land, energy and skilled manpower which are backed by several geographical advantages, superior industrial infrastructure and effective governance. This makes it an ideal destination for investors from diverse business segments. Rajasthan has also introduced the ‘One Stop Shop’ concept to provide various approvals and clearances under one roof. We have taken a major step in the direction of simplification and facilitation wherein 14 departments have been brought under one roof and clear timelines have been laid down for various approvals and clearances required by new and existing industries.
What measures are being taken by your government for making the business environment conducive to investors?
The Rajasthan Industrial Development Policy 2019 and RIPS (Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme) 2019 have given a major fillip to the incoming investments while sector-specific policies have also been brought in for individual sectors which are of importance to the state. Policies such as Rajasthan Agro-Processing, Agri-Business and Agri-Export Promotion Policy 2019, Rajasthan Solar Energy Policy 2019, Rajasthan Wind and Hybrid Energy Policy 2019 and Rajasthan Tourism Policy 2020 have been introduced to create conducive business environment for companies to invest and thrive in the state.
GoR has introduced various policies to create a conducive business environment for companies
The Rajasthan government is organising the Invest Rajasthan Summit on October 7-8 in Jaipur. It will host approximately 3,000 delegates from various sectors to have deliberations during conclaves, sessions on start-ups, agri and agri-processing, future-ready sectors, tourism, and MSMEs. The proposals have arrived across sectors following the advantages of land, resources, infrastructure and state government policies. Rajasthan now aims to turn the proposals into reality, to uphold the mega investment summit motto of ‘Committed and Delivered’. The Summit will commemorate the fructification of investment proposals received in Rajasthan of which 39 per cent have either been implemented or are in the advanced stages of setting up their ventures in the state. We are aiming to push this figure further and have most of the MoUs/LoIs on ground before the Summit.
A separate interaction with Non-Resident Rajasthanis (NRRs) is also planned during the Invest Rajasthan Summit. What is the objective of organising the NRR Conclave?
The Government of Rajasthan is a pioneer in recognising the importance of its diaspora. We organised the International Rajasthani Conclave in the year 2000, after which the Government of India also started organising the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on same lines. Recognising the need for sustainable and meaningful connection with the NRRs, the government had set up a dedicated organisation namely ‘Rajasthan Foundation’ (RF) in March 2001, which works towards the strengthening of relationships with NRRs in India as well as abroad. The connection with our Pravasis is not just about investment but also maintaining the emotional connect as it is important for preserving our culture, heritage and language for future generations, as I have often mentioned. At the NRR Conclave, we wish to revisit our bonds with our Rajasthani diaspora.
How do you see Rajasthani diaspora contributing towards development of Rajasthan?
Rajasthanis migrated from Rajasthan centuries back. They were immensely successful, and through their great effort and sacrifices, they became the titans of Indian industry. Persons like GD Birla and Jamnalal Bajaj were a part of the Independence movement and after Independence; they contributed to India becoming an economically self-reliant nation. Today, our diaspora is settled all over the world, and we are proud of their achievements in every field.
CM addressing the crowd at Invest Rajasthan Summit
You can take a Rajasthani out of Rajasthan but can never take Rajasthan out of a Rajasthani. Pravasi Rajasthanis have been great philanthropists and continue to build hospitals, colleges, temples, dharamshalas, etc. in their hometowns. Rajasthan has also gained from the industrial enterprise of Rajasthanis. We are leaders in cement, due to the might of Rajasthani families. We wish to sustain a meaningful engagement of our diaspora with their homeland.
You also framed a separate NRR Policy. How important is this piece of legislation and what does it entail?
Yes, we are soon going to launch a Non Resident Policy for Pravasi Rajasthanis. The essence of the policy is to harness the potential of the Rajasthani emigrants and descendants who can relate to us and have a genuineinterest in our state. All these years outside the state, they have gathered knowledge, built up expertise and networks. Therefore, we need to have a policy put in place that can make the most of their potential. We also wish to ensure their well-being and welfare, through various schemes and programmes of the policy.
What is your message to the Rajasthani diaspora?
We want to enhance our diaspora-homeland relationship and build capacity for both parties. We are putting institutional mechanisms in place to enable the coordination of the different needs of the diaspora. In the next ten years, we hope to further deepen the relationship of a journey that started in the year 2000.