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Patnaik launches 'Make in Odisha', government looks to draw up investment 

The Economic Times , Nov 11, 2018

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday evening launched his government’s biennial investment conclave, ‘Make in Odisha’, with an invitation to investors to be a part of the state’s "transformation".

Attending the five-day event are some of the country’s biggest industry leaders, including Reliance IndustriesNSE 0.28 % chairman Mukesh Ambani, Aditya Birla Group’s Kumar Mangalam Birla and Tata Son’s N Chandrasekaran. In the run-up to this year’s edition, roadshows were held in Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Japan and China, and the chief minister himself travelled to Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. ‘Make in Odisha’ (MiO) is a big deal for Patnaik, whose mineral-rich state is still to erase the perception that doing business there comes with serious challenges.

However, against failed POSCO or ArcelorMittal projects are huge investments from Tata Steel and Hindalco that the state can boast of. Inaugurating an expo that showcases "success stories" and the state's potential, Patnaik on Sunday said: “Who thought that Odisha will top the Smart City challenge in the country? Who thought Odisha will set global standards in disaster management? Who thought Odisha will play a major role in our country’s food security and who thought Odisha will be noticed for lifting the maximum number of people above poverty?”

The conclave received a thumbs-up from Vedanta Resources Chairman Anil Agarwal on the eve of the event. “Very happy that the Odisha government is encouraging investment climate and improving ease of doing business, industries will not only create employment but also strengthen the economy of the state…,” tweeted Agarwal. Vedanta will be announcing an expansion of its Odisha refinery capacity, from 1 million tonnes to six million tonnes annually. A high-level committee of the state had recently cleared the proposal.

Odisha's abundant mineral resources — coal and iron ore — a long coastline and water will draw investments in the downstream sectors, the government hopes. Continuing with its efforts to diversify, it has added this year aerospace and defence to its focus areas with a new policy announced last week. The first to invest in an aerospace and defence park in the state will be offered a subsidy of up to 50% on the cost of land, building, plant and machinery among other perks. Patnaik recently asked Tata Advanced Systems to set up a defence manufacturing cluster at Naraj, on land that had been given to Tata Power for a project it no longer intended pursuing.

The state’s principal secretary for industries, Sanjeev Chopra, told ET that the investment implementation rate in Odisha had improved dramatically. “The average time taken for approval of projects in the state has been reduced to 20 days,” he claimed. Responding to criticism that the state has been falling in the 'Ease of Doing Business' rankings, he said: “In the Business Reforms Action Plan 2017 rankings, the highest score is 98.42% and we have achieved 92.09%. So, within a short band of just six percentage points, a total of 14 states have been clubbed.”

In the run up to next year’s polls, Patnaik's mega show has been criticised by the state’s opposition BJP as "a piece of propaganda”.

 

 

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