Kanpur, one of the largest cities in the country in terms of population, used to be the financial capital of Uttar Pradesh. Those educated in the state board of Uttar Pradesh might remember the question about which city is the financial capital of the state regularly being asked in exams. The columnist is unaware whether this question is still there in the syllabus but one can vouch for the fact that Noida, not Kanpur, is now the economic capital of the state.
One of the measures that can be deployed to assess the financial capital of any state is which city pays the highest income and corporate tax. Another measure could be per capita income of the cities. And, in both of these prominent measures, Noida ranks miles ahead of Kanpur. As per data from the Department of Economics and Statistics, UP, Gautam Buddha Nagar District, which comprises Noida and Greater Noida, has per capita income of a staggering 3,68,081 lakh rupees per annum in 2018. The district is followed by Meerut (88,273), Lucknow (71,846) Kasganj (71,294), Ghaziabad ( Rs 64,907), Kanpur Nagar (Rs 57,308), Aligarh ( Rs 47,849) and Agra ( Rs 68,795).
Kanpur, once the richest city of Uttar Pradesh with a flourishing leather and tobacco industry, is now not even in the top 5 districts of the state in terms of per capita income. This difference in per capita income is reflected in income tax payments of the city and the decline of the leather and tobacco industry made corporate tax collections also meagre.
With the decline in consumption of labour goods and tobacco products, the city is dying a slow death in the last two decades while at the same time, Noida rose exponentially riding on Information Technology and Information Technology enabled services.
As per Census 2011, the population of major UP’s cities, Agra, Meerut, Lucknow increased by 20 per cent- corresponding to state’s population growth- compared to 2001, while that of Kanpur Nagar declined by 9 per cent. At the same time, the population of Noida increased by 40 per cent.
Kanpur could not position itself in the economy of post-liberalization India and declined rapidly while Noida got everything right about the new economy. Today, almost all of UP’s financial plans pass through the city of Noida. The city is being promoted as an electronics manufacturing hub, textile hub, IT hub, data storage centre so on and so forth.
The Yogi Adityanath government is aggressively pitching Noida as the industrial and service sector hub of North India and a symbol of the New Indian economy. “The Uttar Pradesh government is planning to promote Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway as electronic manufacturing zone. Country-specific industrial parks will be set up, which will virtually act as a home away from home for the foreign companies,” additional chief secretary (IT and Electronics) Sanjiv Saran said two years ago in April 2018.
Since then, many other projects and facilities including airport, textile hub, tech hub, and Film city have been announced. “The proposed Jewar International Airport in Noida will be the biggest in North India. The Kushinagar airport is also coming up, which will cater to eastern UP. Besides, Noida will be developed as the biggest hub of Northern India,” said Yogi Adityanath a few weeks ago in ‘Invest UP’ meet.
“Out of the MoUs of Rs 4.28 lakh crore signed during the UP Investors’ Summit in 2018, MoUs worth Rs 2 lakh crore have already been rolled out,” said the CM.
“In addition to this, the UP government has received over 50 investment proposals worth over Rs 7,000 crore from investors of 10 countries, including Japan, United States, UK, Canada, Germany and South Korea. They want to shift their units from China to Uttar Pradesh,” he added.
The government has already earmarked 77 acres land for Noida textile hub and expects an investment of 900 crore rupees. Apart from textile, electronics manufacturing, film city and many other new sectors, even the existing IT companies are expanding their campuses in Noida and many International companies including Microsoft have announced campuses in the last few months. The city of Noida is now the financial capital of UP, not Kanpur, and it has the capacity to lead the state in a new service-based economy.