Government takes steps to ensure investments flow in post COVID-19

After the recent flip flops over allowing Chinese investments in the state, the Maharashtra Cabinet, on Thursday, cleared a slew of measures to attract more investments post the COVID-19 pandemic, especially from China, the US, the UK, South Korea, Taiwan and Germany. These proposals were to match other competing states as well as countries, like Vietnam and Philippines, in attracting investments and, thereby, maintain Maharashtra’s preeminent position. The government has appointed senior IAS officer Bhushan Gagrani to coordinate with investors, consultants, trade bodies, consulates and high commissions to attract domestic and foreign direct investments in the state.

The government will put in place automatic and accelerated permission mechanisms to make the process hassle free and without procedural delays. Master Licenses (Maha Parvana) will be issued through a single window system in 48 hours for those who have an investment intention of Rs 50 crore and above. The proposed investments, however, will have to be in the green and saffron category identified by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.

Industry Minister Subhash Desai told the Free Press Journal, “All investments will be routed through a green channel so that Maharashtra continues to be the favoured destination globally.”

Further, the government has proposed a plug and play infrastructure policy so that investors, who are struggling to cope up with the COVID-19 crisis, can pursue investment with minimum capital and risk. The state-run Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, which has already earmarked 40,000 acres of land, will make available plots on lease or rent with all the amenities, including a shed where the investor can install the machinery and start production in the shortest possible time. Another proposal in the pipeline includes the authority allocating space in buildings on a long term rental basis. It will make available plots for the construction of hostels for a company employing 1,000 plus workers.

IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ashish Vaid said that Maharashtra should lead the way in opening up to welcome foreign manufacturers as well as for local entrepreneurs to set up industries and make it easy and seamless. “Maharashtra can, at least, add another $500 billion so that it can be a $1 trillion economy,’’ he noted.

In order to address the availability of workers, especially in the wake of migration of large numbers of workers to their home states during the COVID-19 crisis, MIDC will set up an Industrial Work Force Facilitation Portal. Furthermore, it will create a special portal for unified search to seek key information from the investors and also provide all the policies to go to the investors. A relationship manager will be appointed for every investor, who will address investors’ grievances and help them commission projects in a time-bound manner.

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