Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel invited an auditorium of Indian Americans to consider investing in his state Feb. 12 evening at the India Community Center here.
At the event, organized by The Indus Entrepreneurs-Silicon Valley chapter, Baghel, speaking in Hindi, said Chhattisgarh is rife with opportunities for foreign direct investment in almost every sector. The chief minister and a delegation from the state were on a 10-day visit to the U.S.
Comparing Chhattisgarh to other Indian states, Baghel noted that there was ample land, electricity, educational facilities and manpower throughout the state. “This makes Chhattisgarh the ideal location” for new business development, he said, noting that the automobile industry, along with real estate and gems and jewelry, have seen phenomenal jumps in investment and output.
“I assure you that all those who want to work in the state will be given an enabling environment,” said Baghel, a Congress Party leader who took over the post of chief minister in 2018.
A slide presentation delivered before the CM’s speech noted that Chhattisgarh forms the backbone of India’s mining industry, and boasts a gross state domestic product of $3.64 trillion. The state, formed just two decades ago, ranks at 6 on the Reserve Bank of India’s Ease of Doing Business rankings by state.
Chhattisgarh has been declared the “best fiscally managed state” by the RBI, and has a literacy rate of 71 percent.
However, the state has consistently battled with Naxalites, Maoists who have fought to restore land rights in areas where the government has allegedly illegally seized huge swaths of land for mining and industry. In an ongoing development, several Maoists are choosing to surrender their arms to the government, and — with economic support from the state — re-entering societal life post-insurgency.
In his speech, Baghel focused extensively on access to health care, especially for those residing in remote areas of the state. He noted that everyone with a ration card is eligible for state-delivered health care.
The chief minister also focused on the explosive growth of tourism in the state. Thirty flights per day, including international connections, fly out of the main airport in Raipur.
Gaurav Dwivedi, principal secretary to Chief Minister Baghel, also spoke at the ICC event, characterizing Chhattisgarh as a state with a “pro-active government and a world-class infrastructure.”
The mineral rich state is the power hub of India, he said, noting that Chhattisgarh generates six times more power than it needs, on a daily basis, and sells its excess supply to other states.
More than 80 percent of its population has mobile connectivity, despite living in heavily-forested areas. Dwivedi said by 2021, every village in the state will have mobile access.