Bhubaneswar: Inaugurating the first edition of the Business Eminence Awards function here Saturday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Saturday lauded the efforts of the business leaders in maintaining a positive business climate even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme jointly organised by Orissa POST and its sister Odia daily Dharitri aimed to celebrate the spirit of indigenous entrepreneurship and appreciate the efforts of business persons in Odisha in creating wealth for the state overcoming all odds, especially the COVID pandemic.
Altogether 42 social and economic leaders from the state were honored on the occasion.
In his inaugural speech, delivered through virtual mode, the Chief Minister talked about the hand-holding support provided by the state government to all business sectors during the last one year. “I am happy that Dharitri and Orissa POST have taken the initiative to honour eminent entrepreneurs and business leaders of Odisha. These leaders not only managed to drive their businesses forward during the pandemic but kept a positive outlook during a grim situation,” he said.
He further said, “Though the post-pandemic situation has put the global economy into tailspin, sparing none in the process, the inspiring success stories of local business persons have contributed to the growth of a conducive business climate in the state.”
Hailing the stimulating performances of the winners of the Business Eminence Award, Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan, who was the chief guest at the event, urged the local business houses to focus on adding value to the diverse minerals mined in the state. “This will help to create more wealth for the state and stimulate growth across the province.”
“Odisha is endowed with an assortment of minerals and we currently account for 16 per cent of the entire metal production in the country. However, as far as value addition is concerned, we are way behind other states. The state government as well as our entrepreneurs needs to focus on this. We need to ensure more wealth creation for the lower and middle classes,” he said.
“Unless we improve the lot of the lower middle class and create more wealth, the economy of the state will not rise. Role of education, service industry and others will play vital roles in achieving this,” the minister said.
Delivering the key note address, Vishal Dev, Special Secretary of Tourism Department, discussed how the state, which was once treated as backward, transformed itself into the “most preferred investment destination” during the last two decades.
“Around 2000, Odisha was considered a background state but over the last two decades we have emerged as one of the best governed states. We are leading in several sectors, including disaster management. We are a power surplus state and now emerging as the sports capital of the country,” he said.
Welcoming the guests and awardees, Editor of Dharitri and Orissa POST Tathagata Satpathy said that the Business Eminence Awards aim to recognise the efforts of business persons who didn’t lower their guards during the pandemic, but emerged as role models for many in the state and outside.
Talking about the concept behind the awards, Satpathy said, “This is a very critical phase in global history. COVID has been a great leveler. It taught us all different lessons and forced us to look inwards. It made us conscious of our commonalities. While many in the world failed and collapsed, the awardees are the brave warriors who not only overcame the difficulties, but succeeded and grew. We consider them as social and economic leaders of the state.”
Adyasha Satpathy, CEO of the two publications, delivered the vote of thanks.