Baba Ramdev has been invited as chief guest to the Madhya Pradesh government’s biennial global investors’ summit in Indore in October.
Ramdev, the yoga practitioner whose Patanjali group is planning to invest Rs 500 crore in a food processing unit in the state, will join a league of businessmen like Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, Cyrus Mistry and Anand Mahindra who have been guests of honour at previous summits.
Sources said Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has taken a personal initiative to invite Ramdev.
In a letter addressed to Ramdev, Chouhan has sought the Patanjali founder’s time so that the schedule can be worked out in accordance with the yoga exponent’s convenience.
State industry minister Rajendra Shukla, who met Ramdev’s aide Acharya Balkrishna recently, said: “Patanjali would soon set up a food processing unit in Madhya Pradesh. It would also help the local farmers by providing fair price for their produce.”
Balkrishna had visited Bhopal to scout for the site.
In 2014, the Madhya Pradesh summit drew 5,000 business delegates, 200 VIPs, including ambassadors and high commissioners from 28 countries and 300 participants from 10 countries.
This year, the summit will be held from October 21 to 23. The theme is “Make in Madhya Pradesh” with focus on agriculture business, food processing, textiles, handlooms, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, engineering, defence, renewable energy, IT and urban development.
According to the organisers, Japan, South Africa, the UAE and Singapore have given consent to participate in the summit as partner countries. Among the 3,000 participants, 500 will be from overseas, 1,500 from various states and 1,000 from Madhya Pradesh.
Madhya Pradesh had won the Krishi Karman Award from the President three times in the past five years for total foodgrain production.
But some industrialists have pointed out that in the past decade, when Chouhan hosted four investment summits, memoranda of understanding for investments of Rs 10,63,300 crore were signed but over half of them have not translated into projects.
According to Rajendra Kothari, who headed a chamber of commerce, the state needs over 400,000 hectares of land to attract investments but it has less than 26,000 hectares to offer.
The Opposition Congress has been demanding a “white paper” on the outcome of the previous summits.