If you wanted to start a business in India, what city would you pick? Global institutions say Bhubaneswar, the Capital city of Orissa. A report by Chandragupta Amritkar.
Bhubaneswar is fast becoming a pre-ferred industrial hub and an ideal place to start your software development centre. The recent World Bank and International Finance Corporation's 'Doing Business in India 2009' report states that Bhubaneswar, the Capital city of Orissa is the third best place in India, where doing business is much easier ahead of any of the metros and cities.
If you wanted to start a business in India, what city would you pick? The report says: Ludhiana, Hyderabad, and Bhubaneswar would be good choices. Why? These were ranked as the top three cities in India for ease of doing business. There is also a substantial variation among the cities as regards the cost of starting a business:
"In Bhubaneshwar, entrepreneurs spend less than 40% of per capita income to open a business; for those in Mumbai, the cost is almost double." According to the report, it is easiest to export and import goods through Bhubaneswar.
The State of Orissa is rich in natural resources - minerals, marine, forest and agricultural land, with 480 km long coast line along the Bay of Bengal. Infrastructure facilities in the State offer tremendous opportunities for national and overseas investment in the export-oriented industries. Orissa is well connected by all modern means of transport - surface, air and water. The State has rail and road network providing linkage to the various strategic points with more than 22364 km of rail route and 55000 km of roadways.
"Our biggest advantage, over most other states, is the stability of the government and a visionary Chief Minister. We provide a conducive business environment for the investors both from India and abroad. Apart from this, we have excellent infrastructure, strong institutional support and single window facilitation. We ensure a proactive and stable policy environment for developing key economic sectors and ensure availability of trained and cost effective manpower for both IT and non-IT sectors. The cost of living is modest here. Negligible commuting time improves quality of life at home besides enhancing productivity at work," said Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, Commissioner Cum Secretary, Department of IT, Government of Orissa.
Availability of qualified people from a number of Engineering Colleges, Polytechnics and Management Institutes in the State provide a rich human resources base for rapid industrialization of the State. A K Panda, Head, State IT Promotion Cell, OCAC, said, "Bhubaneswar is fast becoming a home for engineering, management and medical education. We already have the prestigious ones like IIT, IIIT, NISER, XIM, AIIMS, KIMS and many more at Bhubaneswar. There are at least 70 engineering, MCA, management and medical schools in and around the city." He further stated "The Vedanta group is also setting up a world class university in Puri that would have an annual intake of 100,000 students in 95 disciplines."
Orissa has vast reservoirs of natural resources to spur industrial growth and development. Its fertile land, water resources, mineral wealth, long coastline and forest resources are great assets. Oriyas are a peace loving and disciplined people who can be motivated to work hard for the states economic resurgence.
Orissa also has a substantial industrial base, comprising a number of large, medium and small-scale enterprises in steel, aluminium, chrome, power, textile, handicraft and a host of other sectors. The thrust is on agro processing, electronics and software, aluminium industries, gems and jewellery, automobile, basic drugs and pharmaceuticals, petro-chemicals and export oriented units.
The Department of Industries of Government of Orissa is providing numerous incentives to new industries such as land at a good price, sales tax exemption, entry tax exemption, concessions in power tariff, etc. Orissa offers tremendous investment opportunities in the areas of mineral based industries agro processing, value addition of forest products, tourism, fisheries, IT and ITES and power generation. etc.
Investments in the Manufacturing Sector
Over the years, Orissa has witnessed a strong inflow of Investments in the Manufacturing sector. As per India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) there are 45 projects for capacity over 56 MT per annum of steel (22 plants partly commissioned) underway in the state representing more than US$ 45 billion in investment. Four new aluminium projects with more than four MT per annum capacity worth US$ 10 billion are under implementation. In the Services sector, Telecom and IT have attracted maximum investments. In the area of construction, road infrastructure as well as housing projects and commercial complexes have seen maximum inflow. Orissa is home to one titanium project with an investment of US$ 250 million. The major investors in the metal sector are POSCO, Arcelor Mittal, Tata Steel, Bhusan Group, Jindal Group, Essar Steel, Hindalco, Vedanta, Aditya Aluminium, L&T-Dubal, etc. In the chemicals and petrochemicals sector, the state has a 15-mtpa mega petrochemical complex by Indian Oil Corporation with and investment of US$ 6 billion. Between January 2000 to June 2007, US$ 81.6 million of foreign direct investments has flown into the state.
The IT Scene
Many may not be aware that the potential of Bhubaneswar as an ideal ICT destination was foreseen by the Indian government way back in 1991. In those days, Bhubaneswar was selected along with Bangalore and Pune for establishment of STPI (Software Technology Parks of India) facilities. STPI was set up to promote export of IT Software and IT Services from India by providing conducive environment, world class infrastructure and facilities besides required policy support.
STP Scheme has attracted many units and entrepreneurs in the area of software and services exports. Since inception, STPI-Bhubaneswar has come a long way in promoting IT industries in this region and currently boasts of 112 units. Today, all kinds of IT units including MNCs and SMEs are operational under STPI- Bhubaneswar.
Apart from STPI-Bhubaneswar, two more STPIs have come up in the state - STPI Rourkela and STPI-Berhampur.
Infosys, which was the first IT major to set up its operations in Bhubaneswar way back in 1997, is satisfied with its 12 year stint in the State. There are quite a few units promoted by local first generation entrepreneur which are doing very well. One of these is AABSyS, a company that works with GIS companies in US & Europe as their outsourcing partners. AABSyS offers high quality and cost effective GIS services and CAD Services.
The sprawling Infocity IT park has both a SEZ and a non-SEZ part over 350 acres of land. The non-SEZ part houses companies like Infosys, ESS, Aabsys, Tatwa, Maasys and Imgenex, etc. The notified SEZ part, formally called Infocity IT SEZ, has TCS, Wipro, MindTree Consulting, Genpact, STG Chips, Perfectus and many more. A 9-hole golf course is right in the heart of Infocity. The three IT SEZs in the pipeline are DLF Info Park, Infovalley and the Mindspace IT Park. Infovally, 15 kms from Bhubaneswar, is spread over 400 acres and will be one of the largest IT SEZ in this region.
(The writer is with Global Features and can be contacted at chandraguptaa@ hotmail.com)
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