He is much revered by the industry as someone who understands both the government and industrial perspectives to development. MN Vidyashankar, Additional Chief Secretary, Commerce & Industries, Government of Karnataka, responded to Shashidhar Nanjundaiah's questions on the new industrial environment in the state.
What are the industry focus areas for the state government this year?
Karnataka is a preferred destination and has attracted investment into the state in energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, IT/BT, tourism, automobile, machine tools, readymade garments, textiles and sugar. The state plans to hold Global Investors Meet (GIM) 2014 in October 2014. The focus sectors for this event are likely to be energy, manufacturing, automobile, agro food & horticulture, education, knowledge economy, machine tools, chemical & petrochemical, IT/BT, aerospace, engineering, animation & gaming, and so on.
Karnataka has been a champion of PPP. Last year was not a good year for PPP projects nationwide. Will there be a change in strategy?
Karnataka has been actively involved in the development of infrastructure through PPP: Kempegowda International Airport and MSEZ are examples. The state has received tremendous response in this sector from private investors, and so we will continue to encourage private participation in infrastructure development.
What specific measures are you taking to enable investment?
The state is encouraging the private investment in power, especially in wind and solar. Since Dabhol-Bangalore gas pipeline is commissioned, several investors are exploring the possibility of developing gas based power plants in the state along the pipeline. The state aims to become power surplus by 2017. The government is also taking steps to improve highways, including eight-lane Bidar-Chamarajnagar and Mysore-Bangalore roads, and improvement of the Mangalore-Bangalore Road.
The state has constituted review committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary to the state government to review the implementation status of the projects in the state. This will mean better infrastructure to the investors.
Land is seen as a major concern in Karnataka-thanks to the much-publicised mining and land grabbing scams in recent years. How are you dealing with this problem?
The state government has taken several initiatives for the development of industrial infrastructure. The state has developed industrial areas in Narasapura, Vemgal, Gauribidanur, Dobbspet, Mammigatti, Gamangatti, Kittur, Yadgir, Tandya and Canara; a National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) is approved by the Centre in Tumkur; similar NIMZs are proposed in Gulbarga, Kolar and Dharwad; exclusive sector specific industrial areas for aerospace, automotive, chemical, engineering machine tools, textile, plastics and related industries. The machine tool park is proposed to establish with a private participation in Vasanthnarasapura Industrial area, Tumkur.
Karnataka government is promoting the development of several SEZs across Karnataka. So far 58 SEZs are approved in the state in pharma, bio-tech, food processing and agro based industry, textile, IT/BT, and aerospace. To arrest land grabbing, KIADB lands will be allotted on lease basis only henceforth, instead of lease-cum-sale basis.
Provision of physical and soft infrastructure is critical to attracting industry to a state. How do you rate Karnataka in this regard?
The state is the leading provider in health care with world class facilities and super speciality hospitals, Medical tourism enriched with abundant option in Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Unani. Karnataka is a knowledge hub, with nearly 200 engineering colleges, 114 medical colleges, 22 universities and 13 international schools. Karnataka is home to many resorts, spas, golf clubs, derby, wildlife parks, heritage sites and historic temples, adventure sports, modern multiplexes.
In the state various organisations are involved in the development of infrastructure: the Public Works Department, Infrastructure Development Department, Karnataka State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation, the transport corporations, Directorate of Urban Land Transport, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.
For a state that leads the IT industry in India, approvals and single-window clearances have not exactly been top-class. What steps is your government taking to strengthen this process? The state has launched "e-Udyami", a completely online based one-stop shop for all prospective investors. The idea behind the portal is to allow all investors, independent of their location to invest in Karnataka and monitor the status of projects implementation without any hassles. Increased transparency, time saving and increased efficiency are only a few of the many benefits investors can expect from the Portal.
The portal is a online-based one-stop shop for prospective investors to apply online application for various investment related clearances/approvals required from various line Departments.
The government is streamlining the process of single window clearances. It has nominated department-wise and agency-wise nodal officers to follow up projects for implementation. This will ensure the faster conversion of the projects into reality. Karnataka Udyog Mitra (KUM) is a single contact point for all investors who are looking at setting up enterprises in Karnataka. As a nodal agency, its role is to facilitate investments & execute initiatives to enable a smooth transition, from receiving an investment proposal to the eventual implementation of the project.
Enabler of growth
The Department of Industries and Commerce, Karnataka, is responsible for development of the industrial sector through its developing, facilitating and policy framing roles. Apart from district-wise plans, the Department has developed or facilitated export promotion industrial parks, International Technology Park Ltd, Electronic City-an independent satellite town near Bangalore, food and agro-technology parks, agro export zones, SEZs, Bengaluru International Airport, and more.
In recent years, Karnataka has approved prestigious projects in the recent years, including those from Honda Motorcycles, Mahindra Aerostructure, Scania, Triumph Motorcycles, Bando India, NPR Autoparts, Musashi, Tyco Electronics, Aisin Automotive, Cargill India, Keihin Fie, Medreich, Lincoln Helios, GE India, Schneider Electric, Hemes Engineers, Ascendas, NetApp, Bosch, SKOL Breweries, Akzo Nobel, Arcelor Mittal, Lafarge, Shell Techology, Nestle India, Starrag Heckert, Amada, Autoliv India, Reid & Taylor, Tata Power, Apex Auto, ASK, Infosys, Wipro, Asian Paints, Gleason Works, Himalaya Drug Company, Kenna Metal India Ltd., Tech Mahindra Ltd., Cognizant Technology, Kirloskar Toyoda Textile Machinery Pvt Ltd., and others.