The Invest Karnataka 2016 got off to a flying start on Wednesday (February 3) in Bengaluru. The mega exercise of the Karnataka Government to woo investors from across the globe, saw warm response with the first thumbs up coming from the Centre as Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley flew from Delhi to open the event.
The glitzy inaugural session saw the who’s who of the Indian Industry rubbing shoulders with the State Government officials, showing willingness to respond to the investment call. The Karnataka Government which is hoping to shore up investment of over Rs 5 lakh crores over the next five years saw several investment proposals coming its way
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who inaugurated the session set the ball rolling by extending a helping hand. “I have seen several investment summits by various states, but in case of Karnataka which is bestowed with a great talent bank of knowledge I think it is much better placed. Karnataka is capable of growing at over 10-12 percent a year” said Arun Jaitley
The investors community and the corporate bigwigs like Azim Premji , Gautam Adani , Anil Ambani N R Narayanamurthy and others present in the inaugural session were enthused by the bonhomie visible between the Centre and State unlike the kind of politicking that was seen in investors meet in Kolkata. The Offer of Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers from the dias to set up a urea plant along the Dabhol – Bidadi gas pipeline in the State got an immediate response from the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who gave a green signal to allot 500 acres of land to set up a fertilizer plant in North Karnataka.
The industry which has favoured Karnataka as a destination was also open to several proposals which were put in place by the Government. Sunil Kanodia, president Assocham, while striking a cautionary note hoped that the Karnataka Government will address the infrastructure issues in the state. Speaking to Policy Pulse he said, “infrastructure especially in Bengaluru is a cause for worry, but the fact is that these issues can be addressed by the Government by giving a thrust. We hope the Karnataka Government will take the feedback from the industry and invest in Karnataka’s infrastructure needs.” The State Infrastructure Minister Roshan Baig responding to the concerns told Policy Pulse , “We have received several proposals for the infrastructure segment. The Sate itself is very keen to join hands. Our plan to develop the aerospace park in Bengaluru’s outskirts and also dedicate manufacturing zones in Tumkuru reflect our interest to get investments in here”.
While IT sector continues to be the mainstay of investment in the state, the aerospace sector promises to get some fresh thrust. The proposal of Reliance Defence Systems of Reliance ADAG group promises to develop indigenous capabilities through Karnataka in helicopters and aviation sector. Promising to invest over Rs 2000 crores, Anil Ambani said, “our project will fulfil the dream of making India more self-reliant in defence manufacturing”
The Chief Minister Siddaramaiah assured that a higher degree of transparency will be observed in getting the investments and also speedy clearances will be offered in an effective manner. “The fact that we have already earmarked nearly 13000 acres of land and that projects can come up on these will mean that more jobs can be created.”
The event is seeing delegations from 57 countries, and over 7000 delegates including MSME’s at the event who will interact with the Government officials to sign MoUs for fresh investment.
The man behind the show, R V Deshpande, summing up his address to the investors said, “I wish to strike a realistic note. I don’t want to create a hype and then see no conversion like some recent events. But be realistic and practical in developing Karnataka.”