Competition should be about facilities, not concessions to investors: Maha CM

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Mumbai, Feb 20 (PTI) There should be healthy competition between states in offering facilities and not in concessions in land or electricity rates to attract investment, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Saturday.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of the governing council of Niti Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he also flagged climate change's impact on the farm sector and called for changes in the Centre's crop insurance scheme.

'Some states offer concessions regarding electricty rates or land prices (to investors). Bargaining takes place...There should certainly be competition but it should not be economic, in terms of concessions. There should be healthy competition in offering administrative efficiency and facilities,' he said.

The Union government should frame certain criteria about investment and consideration should be given not only to the amount of money that is going to be invested but also to how much employment it would generate, Thakckeray said.

'We need to say `Jai Kamgar' (victory to workers) apart from Jai Jawan and Jai Kisan. Industrial development should be counted in terms of employment it generates and not just the amount invested,' he said.

'Our competition should be with other countries and not amongst ourselves,' Thackeray added.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Maharashtra signed MoUs for investment worth Rs 1 lakh crore in the last one year, the chief minister said.

Highlighting the impact of climate change on agriculture, he said farmers bear its maximum brunt.

The Centre should seriously look into the issue of meagre compensation given to farmers by insurance companies, and the damage caused by unseasonal rains should also qualify for compensation, Thackeray said.

He called for changes in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, saying the insurance firms are making huge profits but the farmers are not getting much relief. Excess profits of insurance companies should go back to the government, he said.

'Rules about profit and loss of insurance firms should be revisited,' Thackeray added.

Some parts of Maharashtra experienced hailstorms and unseasonal rains recently which damaged standing crops, he pointed out.

The Centre should formulate a policy for agriculture which should factor in climate change, Thackeray said.

The chief minister also sought the Centre's assistance for developing ports in Konkan and encouraging fisheries while asserting that he was against development at the cost of environment.

His government learnt a positive lesson from the coronavirus pandemic which was to ensure that Internet reaches every nook and corner of the state, Thackeray said.

Though the Centre has undertaken BharatNet initiative to spread connectivity, Internet has not yet reached over 2,500 villages in remote areas of Maharashtra, and this should be looked into, he said. PTI MR ARU KRK KRK