Earlier this year the Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik told Invest India his detailed plans to make the state a premier investment hub. Edited excerpts.
1. More than 18 years of stable and transparent government - how far have you gone in making Odisha a preferred investment destination in India?
My government has been committedly working for the development of Odisha. Focussing on our mantra of 3Ts - Transparency, Technology and Teamwork, our reform efforts have been to support rapid, broad-based and inclusive economic growth, and industrial development is a key component of this growth. We aim to develop Odisha as a manufacturing hub of South Asia and are well-poised to realise this vision through two core initiatives - development of state-of-the-art infrastructure and making available industry-ready skilled workforce.
We have implemented several proactive policy-based measures and reforms towards creating an industry-led ecosystem of value addition, sustainable employment generation and revenue augmentation. Such initiatives have been able to provide a conducive ecosystem giving confidence to the investor community from across the globe and the state establishing itself the most preferred investment destination in India.
2. Odisha is ranked first in investment implementation rate and ranked among the top three investment destinations in India consistently. What are the key benefits that the state offers to attract investors in terms of infrastructure and facilitation support?
Over the last few years, Odisha has developed state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities in the form of industrial regions and clusters including national investment and manufacturing zone at Kalinganagar, petroleum, chemicals and petrochemicals investment region at Paradip, seafood park at Deras, aluminum park at Angul, electronics manufacturing cluster at Bhubaneswar, apparel park at Ramdaspur amongst others to provide competitive manufacturing locations for the investor community. These infrastructure facilities have generated significant investor interest, and this combined with competitive cost of doing business, makes Odisha a preferred choice of investment for the businesses.
The state has introduced a first-of-its-kind and innovative single window system, ‘GO SWIFT’ - Government of Odisha Single Window Investor Facilitation and Tracking portal, to facilitate paperless, time-bound and transparent approvals and clearances across the investment life-cycle of industrial projects. The emphasis of the state government is on swift grounding and commissioning of industrial projects. These initiatives make Odisha the No.1 state in the country in terms of investment implementation rate.
3. What is your vision for industrial development in Odisha? How is Odisha utilising its strategic location towards realising this vision?
The state has a blueprint for industrial development in the form of ‘Odisha Industrial Development Plan: Vision 2025’. This plan envisions INR 2.5 lakh crore of new investments in six identified focus sectors creating three million job opportunities in the Odisha by 2025. Our focus sectors include ancillary and downstream industries in the metal sector; chemicals, plastics and petrochemicals, electronics manufacturing, food processing; textiles and apparel, and tourism. Our emphasis is on infrastructure-led development of these sectors backed by a conducive policy ecosystem.
Odisha’s strategic location along the east coast provides easy access to high-growth markets in eastern India, ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and the East Asia region. Our strategy is to support port-led industrial development, providing one of the most competitive logistics environments. Paradip port has emerged as the second-largest port in India. Deep-water operational ports at Dharma and Gopalpur and the upcoming port at Subarnarekha will further spur industrial development in the region.
4. Odisha is gifted with a highly skilled labour force. What role is the government playing in providing employment opportunities and further training for them?
Odisha, historically acknowledged for its exquisite art and artists, is now contributing to the growth of the nation through its skilled workforce, who are trained in various fields and trades and have been excelling in various industries, in Odisha and beyond. Today, Odisha ITIs (industrial training institutes) are transforming technical education in India. We have been the No. 1 state two years in a row for DDU-GKY (Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana) implementation. At the India Skills 2018, Odisha ranked second among all states in the country. Focusing on the development of human capital, my government constituted a dedicated Odisha Skill Development Authority and launched the ‘Skilled in Odisha’ program which is emerging as a global brand. This unique program is ensuring that industry-ready manpower is available to support industrial growth.
We have formalised an understanding with ITEES, Singapore to cooperate in the establishment and operation of a unique ‘World Skill Centre’ in Bhubaneswar. The centre will be a next-generation skilling institute imparting advanced skills through experiential and industry-oriented courses. 1.5 lakh youth will be trained in this World Skill Centre in the next four years.
5. What role do you envision that MSMEs and startups will play in the development of the state? How is your government supporting such industries in Odisha?
With the setting up of new mega projects in the state, the demand for a wide range of goods and services has increased, generating significant opportunities for small and medium industries in the state. We have put in place a focused policy for the development of MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sector in the state. Balanced growth of large MSMEs will not only facilitate sustainable industrial ecosystem but also create higher employment leading to higher overall economic growth in the society.
Odisha is also emerging as the new, modern hub for startups. We have established a supportive regulatory framework and a robust governance structure to enable the growth of a startup ecosystem in the state. Our ‘Mission – 1000 Startups’, is aimed at facilitating creative and innovative enterprises that will lead the growth across various sectors in the new economy.
6. What according to you best signifies the relationship between Odisha government and Invest India?
The government of Odisha, through IPICOL (Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha), and the Invest India team has been working closely on facilitating FDI (foreign direct investment) into Odisha. We appreciate the support and contribution of Invest India and look forward to further strengthening this partnership in the future, towards Odisha’s development into the manufacturing hub of the region.
(As published in the Invest India Magazine.)