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Patna: Vice President of India M Hamid Ansari on FRiday said the existence of rule of law is an essential pre-requisite for creating an environment that supports economic growth and draws foreign investments. He was addressing an event here to mark the 90th anniversary of the Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind, CM Nitish Kumar, Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, President of Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries O P Shah and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
The Vice President said that Bihar has to create an environment where more businesses see the state as a gateway to consumers in the eastern part of the country and as a place where cost of setting up a plant will be competitive with an abundant supply of workers. He said that he was confident that the government, with its impressive mandate and focus on inclusive development, is devoting its policies and energies to attain these objectives.
The Vice President said that business is conducted best under conditions of peace, stability and good governance and the existence of standardized and harmonized commercial laws provides certainty and predictability for international business. Countries desiring to have a share of international business must be prepared to adopt conventions and model laws that the major trading nations have already implemented as part of their law, he added.
Vice President Ansari said that the most direct and visible link between international legal obligations, the rule of law and investor confidence is demonstrated by the emergence and rapid proliferation of the modern Bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreements (BIPAs). He said that the Government of India have, so far, signed BIPAs with 83 countries of which 72 have already come into force. Our experience has been that BIPA encourage foreign investors to invest in a state and thereby contributing towards overall developments and advancements of the economy, he added.
The last decade has seen remarkable growth in Bihar. The 10th Bihar Economic Survey Report- 2015-16, which was tabled before the Bihar Legislature in February this year by Bihar government, stated that the state economy has grown annually at 10.5% during the period 2005-06 to 2014-15, highest among all major Indian states. Some sectors, such as manufacturing, construction and insurance and banking grew at over 15%. The per capita income in Bihar has also increased from Rs 7,914 to Rs 15,640 during the same period, the vice-president said. The contribution of the state to Indian economy has also increased from 2.6 to 3.3%.
Impressive as these gains are, these have to seen in the context of the small economic base to begin with. States like Haryana and Goa have outperformed Bihar. Bihar still has one of the lowest per capita income levels in the country and lags behind Madhya Pradesh by 10 years and India by 15 years, he said. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) data show that state’s economy was the 14th largest in the country in 2014-15, having moved up one spot from the 15th position it occupied in 2004-05, Ansari said. But the state needs to expand economic growth and maintain its rapid tempo for at least two decades if it aspires to join the league of developed states. Ansari left for Delhi on Friday.