How do you see the growth of industries in Odisha?
Odisha is now recognised as one of the most attractive investment destinations given an enabling environment and supportive policies. While it is blessed with immense natural resources, the focus on value addition has brought about a sea change in terms of the growth prospects for industries. This apart, the focus on diversification that is to bring about investments in other sectors is a good step. So, from that prospective, industrial growth in Odisha has been very strong especially in the last decade or so, when it has grown more than the national average reflecting a strong commitment to industrialisation.
Being the first from Odisha to become the FICCI President, what is in store for the state?
It is a matter of great pride for me to be the first Odia to head national-level institution like FICCI. I have always maintained that it is not a personal achievement but a reflection of Odisha’s growing strength as a industrialised state. And, I certainly see it as a reflection of all that the state has achieved. Insofar as my role is concerned, while focus is certainly national, I have always said that Odisha will be at the forefront for FICCI in terms of action plan for this year.
Your take on this year’s Union Budget?
This is a strong and growthoriented budget which is bold and progressive and on behalf of FICCI we have strongly pitched for public infrastructure and capital expenditure which was reflected in the Budget with 33 per cent increase in the outlay to Rs 10 lakh crore – a historic number representing 3.3% of GDP – and if you add grant-in-aid to the states, the figure goes up to around 4.5 per cent of GDP.
Has the industry recovered from the pandemic gloom?
The government has done a commendable job in terms of heavy lifting during pandemic but now it is time for the private sector to step in which is what will be achieved. I believe this would be possible through this budget with this strong and large outlay bringing about a crowding in private investment and capital expenditure. Indian industry has certainly recovered from the pandemic gloom. I believe most of the sectors are now back on the track and even the service sector, which had been very badly impacted due to the lockdowns and shutdowns that was necessary then, has also recovered. In fact, you have to look at India’s export at this point of time where the merchandise export has started slowing down a little bit on account of global headwinds. The service sector is registering very strong growth but if you look at various sectors, I think it is fair to say that we have now overcome the pandemic and can look forward to sustained growth from now on.
Your view on state’s New Industrial Policy?
This is a very progressive policy and it aims at diversifying the industrial base from the traditional minerals and materials into other sectors which are thrust and priority sectors. Odisha has a lot of potential and a progressive industrial policy which will help in bringing more investments to the state, thereby generating more jobs.
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