There is tangible growth in India’s fourth largest state, Uttar Pradesh, once believed to be amongst the poorest states in the country. A well thought-out strategy by the Yadav scion, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav of creating a robust physical infrastructure in the state by investing in power, roads, transport and communication, seems to have worked well to kick start UP’s economy.
Infrastructure is the primary driver of growth, says Chief Minister UP, Akhilesh Yadav. No wonder then, Yadav put on the fast track all connectivity initiatives, then be it inter-state (Expressways) or intra-state (Metro). Clearly, one of his pet projects was the Lucknow Agra Expressway, perhaps the longest expressway ever built in the country, in record 22 months. Spanning 302 km, this access controlled expressway has six lanes, scalable to eight. Another expressway between Ballia and Lucknow is under construction while a third one between Kanpur and Lucknow is in the pipeline. To address the need for a better intra-city commute, Metro was planned in the capital city of Lucknow. While the trial runs for first phase of Lucknow metro are already being conducted, there is a plan to have Metro in cities of Varanasi, Agra, Meerut as well.
The other landmark infrastructure projects in the State include the Gomti riverfront, one of the largest eco-friendly river front development projects in the country where the land between the water way and the embankment has been developed for public use. A lake has been developed which would have a musical fountain, place for yoga, amphitheatre and stadium called Ghaus Mohammad stadium for playing football and cricket. A world-class museum recalling achievement of national icon and extolling patriotic values, the Jai Prakash Narayan International Centre in Lucknow has been built on 3000 sq m of land. Other significant developments are the Talganj beautification project Agra inner road project, Shilp gram (like Dilli haat), the Lion safari project in Etawah. To celebrate the cultural legacy, a much awaited Mughal museum in Agra is underway.
The ruling party with the cycle symbol has created a cycle highway, quite literally! Uttar Pradesh now has Asia’s first cycle highway between Etawah and Agra. Built by the UP Public works department, this 207 km long cycle highway is seven feet wide and runs parallel to the main highway. It starts from lion safari in Etawah and covers 92 villages ending at the eastern gate of Taj Mahal in Agra.
With good infrastructure network in place, the next issue was that of job creation. Yadav scion has been gradually steering the state away from a pure agrarian economy towards a more futristic industrial, manufacturing economy by aggressively pitching UP as a destination for private sector companies. Technology major, HCL is already developing an IT hub over 100 acres in Lucknow for Rs 1500 core . Amul Dairy plants have been set up of 5 lakh litre per day capacity in Lucknow and Kanpur. Investment deals have been inked with private sector players such as Samsung, Spice mobiles, Lava and they are setting up mobile manufacturing units. Tata Trusts have tied up with Uttar Pradesh government to leverage digital platforms to strengthen the public distribution system (PDS) in the state. As part of the initiative, Tata Trusts have installed electronic Point of Sale devices (ePOS) to ensure operation of an Aadhaar-enabled Public Distribution system.
Not forgetting agriculture which has been the mainstay, the government has set-up kisan bazaars on the lines of agri-mart to facilitate farmers to get all their farm products at cheaper rates, find easy market to sell their produce and determine value and fix price of their products together. The state government is developing these bazaars in six districts including Lucknow, Jhansi, Saifai, Mainpuri, Kannauj, Kasganj.
UP has also become an important state been on the film shooting map with its pro-active film policy. In a bid to showcase the cultural, mythological and historical heritage and traditions of Uttar Pradesh, both nationally and internationally, a “Film Development Fund” has been set up for financing films. The fund will be utilised for sanctioning subsidies to regional and Hindi films produced in the state, organising film festivals, offering financial assistance on film processing in the state itself and financing for film awards. A proposal has been mooted to develop Pachnada in Etawah, which means a confluence of five rivers, as a film shooting location.
Everyone has been tapped for investing in the state-from the NRIs to the entrepreneurs through Uttar Pradesh Niwasi divas program and Nivesh Mitra, a web-based business friendly online facility for entrepreneurs who wish to establish their enterprise in the state.
Water, power, communication – the state has abundant of it all such as there is 24-hour power supply in urban areas and 18-hour in rural areas. UP is pedaling towards prosperity and is well on its way towards further economic growth after the basics of infrastructure and job creation have been addressed.