Odisha’s efforts to draw investors in droves have taken off with a bang. ‘Come, Join the Juggernaut’ has resonated with the investor community ever since Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik proclaimed it at an investors’ roadshow in Chennai last month.
“Experience the countless opportunities my State has to offer and I also assure you unmatched facilitation support from my government.” This was Patnaik’s message to investors.
The promotional activity was staged in concert with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci). Patnaik literally rolled out the red carpet for investors, urging them to loosen their wallet strings on Odisha which offers boundless potential.
One man who is assiduously doing his homework to sell the state to investors is Sanjeev Chopra, principal secretary (industries). Ever since he took on the mantle of industries secretary, Chopra has opted for a total overhaul in the way an investor perceives the department. It is on the strength of his pioneering initiatives and colossal outreach efforts that Odisha has today got its coveted standing in national and international investment stage.
Blessed with nature’s bounties in minerals and water and ample land coupled with cheap electricity and labour, Odisha for decades has been the investor’s El Dorado. But the state’s grip on investors started loosening when auctions of mineral resources supplanted the traditional practice of discretionary allotments. This killed the state government’s discretion to woo investors through promise of a mineral block. Then, Chopra who was fresh from a central deputation to the state realised how Odisha could be on the losing side of remedial steps are not taken. Investors would not be rallying around the state and knocking its doors as the promise of raw material allotments had evaporated. Sensing this, Chopra embarked upon a flurry of policy initiatives and outreach blitz to turn things around.
Under Chopra’s leadership, Odisha has launched the first of its single window portal- GO SWIFT that tracks the entire cycle of an investment- from conception to implementation. Chopra feels the portal is a one-stop solution for all investor woes. The other strength identified is Odisha’s pool of technically skilled manpower- 178,404 graduating every year from 956 training institutions with the state home to institutes of global renown. Odisha’s overarching focus is also on value addition- Chopra targets more than 50 per cent value addition to the primary metal produced in the state by 2030. After Chopra took over, roadshows- both domestic and overseas are organised in regular succession to sensitise the investors.
The efforts paid off when the state attracted Rs 2.03 lakh crore of fresh investment intents at the inaugural edition of ‘Make in Odisha’ in December 2016. The stakes are high for the second edition scheduled from November 11-15 this year. Expectations are running high too after the power packed ‘Juggernaut Campaign’.