They came, they saw, they promised to invest. Most of all, they spoke eloquently on why Uttar Pradesh was a state where India Inc needed to be invested in.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries set the ball rolling at the UP Investors Summit 2018 in Lucknow by promising to pump in Rs 10,000 crore into the state through Jio over the next three years.

He said it was his duty to invest in the state as India could not rise to its full potential without the rise of 22 crore people of Uttar Pradesh.

UP's development revolution

“When UP starts running, no power on earth can stop our country from becoming a global economic power,” he said in his crisp opening speech where he talked of how Jio’s digital revolution could help in UP’s development revolution. 

He promised to make 2 crore Jio smartphones available to the youth of Uttar Pradesh. They could buy the phone with a deposit of just Rs 1,500 that would be returned after three years. “It’s virtually free,” he said.

Adani to invest Rs 35K cr

Not to be outdone, although less eloquent, Gautam Adani, founder Adani Group, promised to invest Rs 35,000 crore in UP. This he said would be spread across warehousing, logistics, solar energy projects, road and metro rail, and a multi disciplinary university. He said he wanted to locate this institute within a known campus.

In all, the industrialists who spoke at the event committed over Rs 1 lakh crore of investments to the state. There were also many who had reportedly signed MoUs backstage.

Aditya Birla group to invest Rs 25K cr

Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, said his group would invest Rs 25,000 crore over the next five years.

He said that the group was already one of the largest investors in UP having put in Rs 24,000 crore in the state, primarily through Ultratech, Hindalco and Idea Cellular and had 15 plants running in the state.

“UP will continue to remain our group’s highest investment destination,” he declared, pointing out that his group already offers direct employment to 40,000 people and indirectly to over a lakh.

The Rs 25,000 crore additional investment will go into finance, cement, and chemicals, he said, while mentioning the CSR work in 400 villages they do and promising to increase it.

Anand Mahindra's emotive speech

It was Anand Mahindra, however, who stole the hearts of the audience with his emotive speech.  He talked about his Allahabad-born mother who studied in Lucknow and was a history teacher at a renowned college in the state capital.

He said he grew up listening to stories of her Uttar Pradesh days and felt that he was like a traveller who had returned home after roaming many lands.

He also pointed out that UP’s size made it a country in itself and it should not market itself as a state and should take inspiration from California, whose GDP is larger than many countries.

He said at a time when the Central Government was encouraging competitiveness between states, UP should compete against other countries and not domestic states. “Your size alone gives an extraordinary advantage as companies can reach economies of scale by just being in one state,” he said.

Electric vehicle plant

Mahindra said he would be willing to set up an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Uttar Pradesh. In more concrete terms, he said Club Mahindra would be executing an MoU with the UP Government to create a Rs 200-crore resort in Varanasi.

He also talked about his investments in an emergency response system – which he passionately described as being close to his heart as it could save lives . He ended up by saying he brought the most precious resource of all – his mother’s blessings.

TCS to remain in Lucknow

Nothing significant was announced by the Tata group – though Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekharan put to rest speculations about TCS quitting Lucknow assuring that the software company would remain in the state capital.

The one central message that shone through as speakers ranging from CII president Shobhana Kamineni, FICCI President Rashesh Shah spoke was that the industry could not ignore the most populous state in the country. The challenge was to convert the populous state into a prosperous state.

1,045 MoUs signed

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath promised to do away with red tape and speed up clearances. He pointed out that UP had already moved up in the Ease of Doing Business rankings. He said even before the meet began, 1,045 MoUs had been signed.

Even as a lot of cynical comments were being passed in the audience on how many of these MoUs would translate into business, Prime Minister Modi urged CM Adityanath to personally monitor each one and make sure they became a reality.