For several years in a row, Karnataka has achieved the top spot as the country’s most attractive investment destination. The latest figures add a feather to the cap of the state as it establishes its growth yet again despite the slowdown recorded in several sectors across the country. Directorate of Industrial Policy  and Promotion’s SIA Index up to September 2017 (latest  report) shows that Karnataka’s supremacy  continues  with investment intentions worth Rs 1,47,625 crore accounting for 44.43% of the total investment intentions in the country, with the figure inching close to the Rs 1,54,131 crore that the state recorded last year . 

Karnataka’s Industries Minister R.V. Deshpande, a man with a progressive vision and passion for attracting investments, attributes the success of the state to the spirit of the people of the state and the work culture that has been imbibed in the state. 

Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, R.V. Deshpande said, “Karnataka presents a huge potential and a robust ecosystem for global and domestic players to invest and innovate. Keeping pace with the times, the state has been meticulously working towards attracting investments in various sectors with business-friendly policies, single window clearances for investments and introducing ‘SAKALA’ for giving quality and timely services to entrepreneurs.”

In fact, the success is attributable to the New Industrial Policy 2014-19 that R.V. Deshpande initiated after taking charge as the Industries Minister in the present Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government.  

People have remained the key focus of the New Industrial Policy. Employment generation has been a key thrust area and it is this element which has seen investment pouring into the state for several years in a row.  The Policy envisages building a prosperous Karnataka through sustainable, balanced industrial growth and creating more employment opportunities. The people-friendly approach of the government is visible from the fact that special provisions have been made for SC/ST, backward classes, minorities, the physically challenged, ex-servicemen and women entrepreneurs. They are offered increased incentives/concessions and also with the support of the KSSIDC, have acquired 317 acres of land for development of industrial plots/sheds for supporting small industry. To support entrepreneurs, special schemes for skill development, capital assistance, subsidy for land allotment, etc. are offered.  “In most cases, Karnataka is able to offer skilled and semi-skilled resources across the length and breadth of the state. In case there is need, we coordinate with the Skill Development Mission of the state to train and develop such resources,” Deshpande said.

The fact that the state has attracted over 1.16 lakh MSMEs, with an investment of Rs 22.175 crore, is testimony to the conducive atmosphere in the state. The same has succeeded in generating employment opportunities for 10.3 lakh persons. Many of these MSMEs work as vendors for global companies based in Karnataka. With India inching up in the Ease of Doing Business index, Karnataka’s contribution has been a role model for many Indian states to follow. R.V. Deshpande told The Sunday Guardian, “The state government has been extremely proactive in improving the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ climate in the state by introducing numerous initiatives. The state has thus relayed all the right signals, causing the investor community—domestic and global—to believe that the ‘moment of emergence’ has indeed arrived for the Karnataka economy.” 

As Karnataka marches ahead and looks to consolidate its position as the indomitable leader in attracting capital and talent, the support that the existing industry and MSMEs get from fresh investments is a  success story in itself. “Many of the existing ancilliary and small units which came up a few decades ago, today are able to provide support to the new engineering industry. Those who were designing and developing auto components today have the skills to manufacture aircraft engine components. Where else in India would you get the talent pool and eco-sphere,” J. Crasta , former president, FKCCI , the small scale industry body, said.

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