Ever since he took charge as Odisha’s industries secretary, Sanjeev Chopra’s prime focus has been on revving up the state’s investment and growth engine. Odisha has been historically known to be an investors’ paradise, especially its strength in drawing a flurry of investors in metals and mining space. The state had a natural advantage in possessing high grade iron ore and bauxite deposits, coal blocks and other minerals. This edge, however got diminished after some policy overhauls with the Government of India deciding to allocate minerals through a transparent system of auctions, stopping the practice of discretionary allotments.
The change in policy priorities tested Odisha’s dominance in investments. Gradually, the beeline of industrialists receded as the promise of raw material security evaporated. Chopra who studied the changing trends realised the state was losing out because of the lack of a calibrated outreach effort. Odisha always had the potential but its visibility as a favoured destination had to be stepped up. A systematic public relations apparatus was the remedy to sell the state. Then, began the roadshows in the country and overseas locations, showcasing Odisha’s strengths and a favourable ecosystem for investors.
Before launching Odisha into the centrestage of investors’ spectacle, Chopra opted for a revamp of its Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR). A recast IPR 2015 was unveiled with targeted sops and incentives, especially for drawing investments in emerging sectors- food processing, electronics & information technology, textiles, handloom & apparel, ancillary & downstream industries in metals et al. The intent was to attract Rs 2.5 lakh crore investments in these focus sectors by 2030. The redrawn priorities were a clear departure from Odisha’s avowed focus on the traditional metals, power and ports sectors.
Armed with a favourable policy framework, stable political leadership and conducive landscape, Odisha took the bold step of hosting roadshows in Mumbai and Bengaluru and topped it with its showpiece summit- ‘Make in Odisha’ in Bhubaneswar. The combined outcome of the three events translated into committed investments of the order of Rs 3.48 lakh crore. More than 52 per cent of the investment intents have gone into implementation, meaning the highest conversion rate of projects in the country.
Buoyed by the success, Chopra is now gearing up to host the second edition of the ‘Make in Odisha’ conclave from November 11-15 this year. The preparatory work and roadshows for the conclave has taken off.
Recently, a state delegation led by Chopra briefed officials of various trade consulates and embassies at a round table meeting in New Delhi and highlighted the investment opportunities in the vibrant business ecosystem.
“The state has set a target of attracting investments worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore in the focus areas that include ancillary and downstream in metal, chemicals, plastics and petrochemicals, electronics manufacturing and IT, agro and seafood processing, tourism, textiles and apparel sectors,” Chopra said.