Cheap labour, rich resources together with infra push by government makes region ideal replacement for China
The Uttar Pradesh government is planning to project Poorvanchal region as an investment destination to foreign companies which are planning to shift their base from China to other destinations in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted the global supply chain, said Navneet Sehgal, Additional Chief Secretary, MSME and Export Promotion.
“Agriculturally rich, the Poorvanchal region is known for its cheap labour. If we now concentrate on the skill development of this labour force then instead of choosing Vietnam and Thailand, the foreign companies will choose Poorvanchal as their destination for investment,” said Sehgal while addressing the national webinar cum seminar on ‘Sustainable Development of Poorvanchal’ as the lead speaker at Lok Bhawan here on Friday.
The webinar was attended by academicians, bureaucrats, political leaders and technocrats.
“The region is rich in resources such as land and water and now we need to focus on further tapping its traditional art and craft which has been practiced here since generations,” said Sehgal while stressing that the region has the potential to become an economic hotspot of not only Uttar Pradesh but the entire country.
Highlighting the rich history of the region, ACS MSME and Export Promotion said that Poorvanchal was very prosperous and besides agriculture, the cottage industries thrived here on the local art and craft. “The British too had set their foot here on account of its prosperity. But gradually we lost our way and now the perception about the region is that it is not developed and most of the people migrate from here in search of greener pastures. The reason is we did not adopt the latest technologies in upgrading our products. We did not consider the development of cottage and small-scale industries as the harbinger of growth,” he said.
Further highlighting the factors essential for the growth of the region, ACS MSME said that the government is focussing on a few components for development. “Government is determined to bring about drastic improvement in infrastructure. Next comes connectivity and the Poorvanchal expressway and the airports coming up in Kushinagar and Kashi are an example of this. Further, there is much focus on the One District One Product Programme (ODOP) that aims at reviving the traditional art and craft of the region,” he said.
Emphasising over the significance of cluster development, he said the MSMEs also need to be developed, and the best model is cluster development. “It provides both jobs and skills and volumes for manufacturing and market for the product. If we connect the artisans in these clusters with technology, finance and market then nothing could stop this region from progressing. The large scale and sustainable development is possible only through the promotion of local art and craft and dovetailing it with the latest technologies,” he said.
Emphasising over the achievements of the government, he said that the government is setting up seven Common Facility Centres in Poorvanchal and now we have touched the mark of 38% in export in the last three years because of product improvement.
“The overall model for sustainable development of Poorvanchal depends on development of local art and craft, skill training, infrastructure development and putting our ODOP programme on fast track,” he said.
ACS MSME also focussed on quality improvement of the products. “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had launched the ODOP programme with sole aim to identify, promote and tap the potential of the traditional products. The government is building CFCs to improve products and provide necessary technological support to the artisans. It will give push to ‘local to global’. We are making the district action plan for each ODOP product that provide details about the product weakness, and improvement needed besides any financial support. Through the district export plan, we identify the products that could be exported. In order to give an opportunity to small businessmen and shopkeepers to sell their product online, we have tied-up with big portals such as Flipkart, Amazon, e-bay. ODOP has launched its own e-market place too,” he said.
He further informed that in order to increase the production and maintaining the quality of Kala Namak rice in Siddhartnagar, the government has entered into an agreement with the International Rice Institute for opening its centre in Siddharthnagar for handholding the farmers.
“It has to be remembered that for sustainable development, we have to tap our own resources as dependency on foreign company is not good. My suggestion is to go for value addition in local art, craft and crop and figure out ways to market it. We must also focus on supporting the livelihood-based industry here,” he said.