Mumbai: Making a strong pitch for according special status to Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday said the state cannot sustain its double-digit growth rate without private investments.
"Bihar`s growth is primarily driven by public investment, and till the time we don`t have private investment inflows, it will be difficult to sustain our growth rate after the next five years," Kumar told reporters after attending the second meeting of the Bihar Industrial Investment Advisory Council, comprising corporate chieftains here this afternoon.
Kumar said some private investments have definitely come in over the past few years, but those were mostly from local entrepreneurs and maintained the state needs large investments, which only big industrial houses can make.
The Chief Minister, who has been credited with pulling Bihar out of the economic mess, identified energy, health infrastructure, education, IT and food processing as the sectors where huge private investments can be made.
The state clipped at a full 14.5 per cent in FY13, making it one of the highest among the states.
The meeting was attended by Vedanta Group chairman Anil Agarwal, Deepak Parekh of HDFC, Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank, Shikha Sharma of Axis Bank, chief of the capital markets regulator SEBI UK Sinha, ITC`s YC Deveshwar and Star India`s Uday Shankar among others.
Kumar clarified that the meeting was not for attracting investments, but for discussing necessary changes in industrial policy which can help the state in the long term.
He cited the discussion around the power sector during the group`s last meeting in Patna in 2012 and the actions taken by his administration to improve the situation.
Reiterating his long-standing demand for a special status to Bihar due to its poor record in a litany of economic and human development indicators, Kumar said the industry captains also supported his demand at the meeting today.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Agarwal of Vedanta, who spent his early days in Bihar, echoed Kumar and said his group will increase investment in the state if the special status is granted.
Consultancy firm Boston Consultancy Group`s chairman for Asia Pacific Janmejaya Sinha said, "There definitely is a need" for granting a special status to Bihar and asked people to look at the issue as something which will help the country.
"There are four crore kids in Bihar, they are not Bihar`s kids, they are the kids of India. How their future shapes up will decide how the nation`s future moves. We should not think at the state level, but about the needs of India," he said.
Sinha said there has been tremendous developments in Bihar in the past few years, especially in the power and education sectors, and stressed the need to market these developments aggressively.
"There have been many good moves and actually what Bihar requires the most is right publicity and awareness. There are lots of hidden things, which need to be taken out," he said.
ICICI Bank`s Kochhar said her bank had increased the branch network in the state and felt the state held many positives.