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How to go global

The Global Investors Summit (GIS) convened by the Haryana government brought forth some sane advice from industrialist Anand Mahindra. A stable law and order situation is a sine qua non for attracting investment. Haryana was hardly suitable to host the summit as it was troubled by the Jat agitation. Mahindra’s advice applies to the whole of India. The Haryana administration had evidently gone to sixes. The Police and civil administration proved ineffective as mobocracy prevailed. The Jats account for nearly 30% of the state’s population. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had earlier made some undesirable comments on the Muslim community and had taken an orthodox line on beef eating by Muslims. Bu he had taken little interest in toning up the administration. The authorities seemed unwilling to negotiate with the agitating Jats. All this has been confirmed by the state human rights commission chairperson, Justice Vijender Jain (Retired). The agitation harmed the Jats as well. Returns from land diminished and employment opportunities for them shrank. But violence cannot be the answer to social and economic disparity. Rural distress can be alleviated only by shifting surplus agricultural labour to industry. That means pumping of a considerable amount of investment.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated the obvious when he said that investment did not come to states disturbed by lawlessness. It had happened in the past in West Bengal, especially with Maoists on the rampage. Haryana has been thriving because it is close to Delhi and because Gurgaon is a showpiece with US money pouring in. But if a state wishes to go global, its infrastructure must be protected from social and political chaos.

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