For the last few months, the Siddharamaiah  government  in Karnataka has been busy working on a war footing . No effort has been spared to ensure that Invest Karnataka 2016, the showcase event of the Government of Karnataka achieves its objectives. Ministers, officers have been keeping a close watch to ensure that every single detail or query required by investors is made available. The chief minister himself  has ensured that the three day Global Investor Meet from 3 – 5 February 2016 is being looked into personally by him and his ministers.

The Invest Karnataka event is being seen as an opportunity to unveil a forward vision for sustained inclusive development for all.

Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Guardian, Chief Minister Siddharamaiah said, “We have set up the infrastructure, we have rolled out a red carpet, we have started meeting the Industry captains to show that we are keen about getting fresh investment into the state. Our government is open to all sections of society and is keen to use the investment to generate employment and ensure development across the state”

Karnataka is a preferred destination state in India as evident from the fact that it is already a US $ 116 Billion economy  (Graphix attached ). The state Gross Domestic Product is growing at a healthy 7 per cent  which is slightly higher than with the national average.

The state which has seen investment flows in various sectors, is proud home of several Technology majors like Infosys , Wipro  , TCS , ITC Infotech. Apart from that practically every fortune 500 company has a marked presence in the city. The last two decades have seen several other giants like Toyota-Kirloskar Motors , Volvo , Airbus , Boeing and many others who have set base here to make it a manufacturing hub.

After around seven year of political instability , the last election saw the emergence of a stable Government led  by Siddharamaiah. The emergence of a stable government has made the investment climate more conducive. Industries Minister R V Deshpande, spearheading the Invest Karnataka 2016 team told Sunday Guardian,” We have been actively promoting industry led growth in the State. During the last 2 years, we have approved more than 450 projects bringing investments of Rs 1.21 Lakh Crores and generating 2.44 Lakh job opportunities.”

“If it’s India it is Bengaluru” is an adage coined by the Global Community of investors and world leaders.  Invest Karnataka doesn’t aim to stop just at Bengaluru but envisions  the global focus of Brand Bengaluru for the entire state as a whole. This is to be achieved by sensitizing investments for business transformation in various regions employing technology, innovation and sustainability as key factors for development. It is set to roll out an unprecedented opportunity of 5 lakh crores as defined investment potential in this edition; this is well highlighted with focused theme conferences, niche industry conclaves & strategic industry driven platforms with open networking summits for active international participation.

But analysts feel that a lot more needs to be done and can be done in the state which is blessed with diversity. The government’s approach has been that  Karnataka needs more industry and business in the State. As per the New Industrial Policy announced last year, the state is aiming at an annual growth rate of 12 per cent and looking to attract investments of Rs 5 Lakh Crore. The government believes that this scale of investment alone will have the potential to providing employment to 15 Lakh persons in the next 5 year period.

With an eye to this ambitious future , Invest Karnataka 2016 looks forward to showcasingsectors with high growth potential these include Aerospace, Bio-Technology & Pharmaceuticals, Information Technology, Agriculture & Food processing, Heavy construction machinery & equipment, Tourism & Textiles .

The state which has got to its credit two Smart CitiesDavangere and Belgavi in the first list of the Union Government is also looking to proposals for developing the same.

The government’s  thrust on renewable energy especially Solar is poised for a big thrust. The government has earmarked 20 MW of solar energy targets for every taluk. With some districts in North Karnataka and Kolar near Bengaluru blessed with abundant sunshine for over 300 days in a year , harnessing the same is considered as a priority sector.  

While IT sectorhas been the mainstay of investments as far as Exports and employment generation are concerned in Karnataka. The IT services sector Karnataka makes it the IT hub of India and home to the fourth largest technology cluster in the world. Karnataka has 47 IT/ITeS SEZs, three software technology parks and dedicated IT investment regions. Exports of IT and electronic products from the state reached US$ 32.19 billion in 2014-15 and is poised to breach the US$ 40 billion mark in the next couple of years. Exports of IT and electronic products account for 40 per cent share in India’s IT and electronic products exports and 62 per cent share in Karnataka’s overall exports last year ,2014-15.

The state also takes pride in the fact that over 5 lakh of the total 25 lac IT professionals in the country are from Karnataka. The same showcases abundant knowledge power of the state.

The state has been the biggest aviation hub in the country. With assembly lines for fighter aircrafts like Indian designed and developed LCA , and indigenous helicopters like Dhruv Advanced  Light Helicopter apart from many others at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited the Bengaluru city takes pride for being the biggest aircraft manufacturing city in the country. The thrust to the sector has come from the growing interest being shown by the Global Aviation majors who have  showed more interest after Boeing , one of the world’s leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft.through its wholly owned subsidiary, Boeing International Corporation India Private Limited (BICIPL), established its first R&D centre in India – the Boeing Research & Technology Centre, in  Bengaluru, Karnatak in 2009.

The Boeingcentre is one of the five Boeing advanced research centres outside of the US. The centre is the focal point for all Boeing technology activities in India and develops high end technology solutions particularly in the areas of aero structures and avionics.

The state is aware that advanced technology businesses which propose to set up businesses in Karnataka will require professionals with exposure to international universities. While there are many returning to India from various countries to set up entrepreneurial ventures , the Industry captains are looking at expansion of the knowledge bank. Karnataka is bestowed with some of the pioneer research institutes historically with the IISc being considered the most distinguished. Investment by AzimPremji into the AzimPremji University is being seen as a start of a new wave of investments into the advanced education sector

Infosys Co-Founder N R Narayanamurthyhas given a call for stepping up investment in the knowledge areas.”Unfortunately 99% of those who go abroad for higher studies do not return back. I hope that India and America will collaborate to set up world class universities which will foster research to integrate with the Industry here so that India and Karnataka can benefit in the long term” said N R Narayanamurthy addressing the delegates of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce.

Work in the direction has begun with 12 biotechnology finishing schools coming up in the state and are scheduled for development under the Millennium Biotech Policy.

Nine Indian firms submitted investment proposals worth US$94.2-million (INR 4520 million) to establish manufacturing units in state’s aerospace-cum-aviation sector . Dynamic Technologies is establishing US$97million (INR 4,660 million) Greenfield manufacturing facility at Aerospace Special Economic Zone near  Bengaluru International Airport.

IT major Wipro which has developed expertise in design development is establishing an aerospace SEZ in proposed Aerospace Park. Not just in software, even in assembly and manufacturing of small passenger aircrafts Mahindra Aerospace has set up a plant to manufacture 4, 10 & 20 seater aircraft at their  facility at Narasapur, Kolar. The sector got a fillip recently when the Prime minister laid the foundation stone for  HAL new  Helicopter division to assemble helicopters in tie up with Reliance Defencesystems.

Karnataka is one of the fastest growing states in India. Between 2004-05 and 2014-15, the gross state domestic product (GSDP) of the state grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.04 per cent. The state contributed 5.68 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India in 2014-15.

The natural resources, policy incentives and infrastructure in the state favour investments in the IT/ITeS, biotechnology, engineering, electronics, automotive, textiles, agri and food-processing sectors. Karnataka’s favourable policies have encouraged industries to set up their research and development (R&D) centres in the state. The state has about 401 R&D centres, the most in India. Around 400 of the Fortune Global 500 companies outsource their IT services to firms in Bengaluru.

Silk has been traditionally the fabric from Karnataka , Mysore Silk is considered the finest variety  available. But apart from that the state also has emerged as a major hub hub for textile sector.Under the New Textile Policy 2013-18, the government plans to invest US$ 1,650 million in the textile sector. The policy offers various incentives for investments in the textile sector; these include credit linked capital subsidy, entry tax reimbursement and power subsidy.

A 300-acre SEZ has been created in Belgaum to develop a precision engineering and manufacturing supply chain ecosystem, which would be a great driver for manufacturing industries.

The Government of Karnataka had approved the establishment of food parks in six districts – Bengaluru rural, Tumkur, Shimoga, Davangere, Bijapur and Belgaum. These parks are in advanced stages of implementation.  Explaining the vision of Siddharamaiahgovernment ,Gaurav Gupta told the Sunday Guardian ,” The Chief Minister Siddharamaiah is keen to ensure that the farmers of the state get their fair share in revenue. A reason why invest Karnataka is also eagerly encouraging investments in agro sector.

The state has abundant variety of crops and further investment in logistics, cold-chain and food-processing will ensure a more cohesive growth of rural Karnataka” . Karnataka which has significant investments in sugar industry , Coffee Plantations and processing. The floriculture industry of the estate makes it the largest exporter of fresh flowers to Europe and other Global destinations.

As the delegations from across the world descend at Bengaluru, the Garden city has been decked up with freshly layered roads and coats of paints to welcome the delegates. The young and old of the city are looking forward to join the government in giving a warm welcome and while keeping their entrepreneurial spirit alive  hope that Invest Karnataka 2016 will help many a dreams to come true.

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