Odisha has climbed 40 per cent points in business compliance. Increasing investment in diversified sectors, diverting more cargo from road to rail and waterways are on the cards.
Q What are the major logistics challenges raised by the industry?
Major logistic challenges are primarily for the movement of bulk cargo which is largely by road. The government is planning to shift road cargo to rail and inland waterways. The National Inland Waterways No 5 is going to connect coal fields to the ports at Dhamra and Paradip. There have been allegations that freight rates for moving bulk cargo by road are being cartelized. We have formed a rail company – Mahanadi Coal Railway Ltd for faster evacuation of coal. The state government has been very proactive in using state resources to develop rail network. For a long time major rail networks that Odisha had was Kolkata-Mumbai and Kolkata-Chennai railway lines. The state is intending to improve rail network in the hinterland for freight movement. Once the new eastern economic corridor comes up, it will make cargo movement easier.
Q Which are the major industries that the state government is focusing on for investment?
The state government looks to increase the base of industrial growth in the region. Primarily industrial growth in the state in the last many decades has been around metal and mineral-based industries, but now the state government wants to increase investment in other sectors as well. For which a 10-year plan, named as Vision-2025 was started in the year 2016. The focus is to identify new sectors where investment and industrial growth can be encouraged. As a result, around six sectors such as Ancillary and Downstream Industries in Metal Sector; Chemicals, Plastics and Petrochemicals; Electronics Manufacturing; Food Processing including Sea Food; and Textiles and Apparel, among others have been identified for investment promotion. Just before the Make In Odisha investors’ summit the state cabinet passed about nine sector specific policies to facilitate investment. The state also extends various incentives and other eco-system at par with other states. Moreover, the extension of Easter Economic Corridor upto Kolkata will include Odisha, and the government aims to leverage from this. The spine of the corridor is national highways from Kolkata to Chennai and state is in the process of identifying 6 manufacturing and economic nodes where manufacturing infrastructure will take place.
Q How would you rate business facilitation and approvals in Odisha as compared to other states? Odisha is stressing on ease of doing business. The state has climbed 40 per cent points in business compliance, 52 per cent in the year 2015 to 92 per cent in 2016. We are leveraging from technology, so that there is no physical touch point between the investor and government, or rather to reduce to the minimum extent. We have a land bank of 100,000 acres mapped on a GIS platform. The entire inspection system is being monitored through online portal. For example, inspectors of various departments visit respective industries on a pre-determined date, and the inspection reports are uploaded onto a Web portal within 48hrs. After allotment of land, if an investor wants any change, it could be done online. Similarly, around 14 government services have been shifted to online platform. The focus is to leverage on technology to bring down project approval time. For example, any green category industry which fall under non-polluting category can be sanctioned at my level, and later it may go to Chief Secretary or Chief Minister for ratification if the project involves high investment. Projects falling under non-green category go to Chief Secretary where it takes maximum 30 days for clearance, though the state govt is trying to cut down the time in this category as well.