Karnataka Udyog Mitra the one window service of the Karnataka has worked 24 X7 basis to ensure that the Invest Karnataka 2016 accomplishes its mission. The man behind the show wears many hats and one of them is Chairman Karnataka Udyog Mitra, Gaurav Gupta. The Sunday Guardian correspondent Vijay Grover caught up with him in middle of his busy schedules to know what the state has to showcase .
TSG : A lot of effort has gone into this entire preparataions for IK 2016 , how challenging was it to showcase this event during the tours and get investors keen to come here ?
Gaurav Gupta: Karnataka is well known across the world and many prospective investors know more about India . They are identifying regions in India where there is development , there is a talent pool and positive industrial climate and I think Karnataka has come to be identified as a progressive industrialized state. Particularly Karnataka is known for the Information Technology industry research and development and design. Frankly speaking It wasn't very difficult to market Karnataka. The only element we added is we need to talk about it more as compared to what it is being talked about already. That is primarily because if we are not heard then people may think although karntaka has potential maybe people are not interested for fresh investment. So here we have a show that lets us talk about our resources and enthusiasm, helps us reach out to people. And reaching out to the industries and investors is what we have taken on our hands as planned. We are overwhelmed by the response from all quarters and just look forward to help build the right connections.
2) Information Technology continues to be main stay for a long time, what are the other sectors you are looking at investment in the coming years?
Ans: Apart from IT, Karnataka has been a strong player in aerospace because of the HAL and the system that got created around it. Machine tool, as you mentioned is very important sector, The automobile is very important for us because we have already have Toyota, Honda, Volvo who have been based here for a longtime. In Textiles karnattaka is very strong, earlier it was silk now other materials are also available.. There are people who have 100% export setups likewise Karnataka has very strong R&D sector with some pemier centres being based here in Bengaluru. Thelargest steel plant in the country, is based in Karnataka . While we also have strong tourism potential we need to do more in marketing the state, we need to make people aware that there is beyond what they know . People know about Mysore but guess they don't know about much about hampi or other regions.
One major area is Electronics manufacturing is what we want to give a thrust primarily because it compliments the IT sector. We have recently tied up with companies from Taiwan for this sector. Karnataka is very strong in biotech and pharmaceuticals, companies like Biocon have been exporting
TSG : The chief minister has been highlighting that Industry needs to provide value add for agriculture economy, is there any specific plan that you have for the agriculture economy?
GG : Karnataka is privileged that the Agriculture economy is very strong like sugar based industries, we manufacture everything from sugar to alcohol to cellulose in over 13 districts. Floriculture is an important sector where we are exporting already. Karnataka which produces some of the finest grapes now has several wineries which are producing some of the best Indian brands. In horticulture , Karnataka stands tall and we are encouraging food processing units to invest in the state. We grow exotic vegetable varieties and also gherkins for exports. Traditionally the pulses grown in North Karnataka or the tender coconuts of Mandya district are famous across the country. Coorg and several other districts produce some of the finest coffees which are exported in substantial quantities.
The chief minister ‘s vision is to integrate industry to invest in agriculture to give higher value to farming community. We are working hard to get proposals to come in because the government wants small industries and small investors also to benefit.
TSG : when you went around travelling for the road shows inviting investors which was the sector that got a lot of interest and what were some of the concerns of few people regarding this.
GG : In the IT sector we have a leadership position it will expand because of the subsidies they have and the feedback they've got from their partners based in Karnataka . We found big attraction from aerospace sector because of the projected growth in aviation market. Karnataka already has assembly lines for several aircrafts and there is projected increase in manufacturing of aeroplanes. It’s an upcoming sector and govt of India is giving out licenses.
TSG : You have done things differently for Invest Karnataka 2016 , what are some of the USP’s of IK 2016?
GG: The team has ensured that technology makes the entire process simple. Right from queries , registration as delegates, putting up interests in various sectors have been opened online. Most of the delegates have already been given an opportunity to research before they reach Bengaluru. We have set up interlinx network to facilitate meetings and we are overwhelmed by the response . We are trying to facilitate investments, signing of MoU’s and completion of formalities at the earliest with highest levels of transparency and timeliness.