WASHINGTON D.C. -- The roads in Madhya Pradesh (MP) are better than the United States, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Tuesday.
Addressing the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum meeting, Chouhan said, "When I got down at the Washington Airport and travelled on roads, I felt the roads in Madhya Pradesh are better than the United States."
"A few years back, MP was termed as a diseased state, but when I became the Chief Minister 12 years back then it was in my mind that without basic infrastructure no state can develop. Our first focus was on building the roads. Today, we have constructed around 1.75 lakh kilometre roads in the state and all the villages have been well-connected with roads," Chouhan said.
He said that India is on the cusp of great economic progress today under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Projects like Start up India, Digital India, Stand Up India, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna, Aam Aadmi Beema Yojna, Housing for All have been started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India's economic development rate is more than 7 %," the Chief Minister said.
Chouhan termed the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the biggest opportunity for investors.
"The GST has been launched in India for one nation-one tax-one market. This is the best opportunity for the investors as earlier they had to pay different taxes in different states," Chouhan said.
The GST, launched on July 1, is an indirect tax and is applicable throughout India. It replaced multiple cascading taxes levied by both - the central and state governments.
Chouhan also termed last year's demonetisation as the biggest step for the economy of the country.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took a very big decision of demonetisation. The black economy in India has been completely eradicated. Under the Digital India, people are getting all the facilities online through mobile even in the villages. India is marching ahead rapidly," he said.
On 8 November, 2016, Prime Minister Modi announced the demonetisation of all Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 banknotes. The government claimed that the action would curtail the shadow economy and crack down on the use of illicit and counterfeit cash to fund illegal activity and terrorism.
Talking about electricity production in Madhya Pradesh, Chauhan said, "When I became the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, we had only 2900 MW power. Today, the state has 20,000 MW power. We generated electricity from not only thermal, but also from water, wind, and solar resources."
He also told the gathering that Madhya Pradesh was constructing world's biggest 750 MW sola
r power plant in Rewa and "probably the consumers will get world's cheapest electricity at Rs. 2.93 per unit".
The Chief Minister also highlighted Madhya Pradesh's other achievements.
"When I became the Chief Minister, only 7.5 hectare land was irrigated, but now 40 lakh hectare land is irrigated. Madhya Pradesh's growth rate has been in double digits - around 12 per cent for the last eight years. The state's agriculture growth rate has been plus 20 per cent for the last five years," he said.
Talking about the river-linking project, Chouhan said it was the dream project of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to tackle with flood and drought.
"We have successfully implemented this project in Madhya Pradesh when we linked River Narmada with River Chipra. Now, we are linking River Narmada and with other rivers."
Chouhan also said that Madhya Pradesh's thrust is on the food processing sector.
"Madhya Pradesh is number one in India in agriculture, urban development. State's 22 cities found place in top 100 cities of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Mission," the Chief Minister said, adding, "we are also investing heavily in providing drinking water in 53000 villages of the state."
Chouhan is in the United States to attract investments for Madhya Pradesh.
On Thursday, Chouhan will be holding a series of meetings with Amazon representatives until lunch.
In the evening, he will be attending a 'Friends of MP' interactive session at the Indian Consulate in New York, followed by dinner.
On Friday, Chouhan will again be attending a series of one-to-one meetings, and will depart for Mumbai from the Newark Airport on Saturday.
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