Karnataka has a very good industrial climate, according to Tallam R. Dwarakanath, President of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Dwarakanath spoke to The Sunday Guardian in an exclusive interview. “We are one of the pioneering states to start industrialization,” he said.

“Ours is an ITBT hub and also the start-up capital of the country. We have a very good industrial climate ideally backed by our state government. Global investors started coming to our state in 2000.  The then minister of industry R.V.

Deshpande is also the current. We had several road shows and the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) participated in these shows. In all the metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad, we had a good response because our past performance itself speaks for our support for industrialization,” Dwarakanath said.

“I participated in Delhi’s interactive B2B meeting with our ministers where several companies like Rolls Royce, Cargill came forward to participate in the agriculture sector in which they are going to invest heavily. Apart from that, there will be growth in the corridors coming up between Bengaluru and Mumbai and Bengaluru and Chennai, as they cover half of our state. It will help in the faster movement of business logistics. Opportunities for those places will have good marketing facilities and there will be growth too. Apart from that, six of our cities — Davengere, Tumklur, Hubli, Dharwad, Belgaum, Shimaga and Mangalore — have been declared under the Smart Cities project,” Dwarakanath said.

“Availability of human resources at par international standards is a key factor. However, our government has to tackle certain issues regarding power and infrastructure, especially in Bengaluru.  Infrastructure is one of the biggest problems. Our government has come up with an Industrial Policy and tourism policy which will help in the growth of the state,” he said.

“Once the Metro network gets completed, the traffic problem will be taken care of to a certain extent. In fact, FKCCI is working with the state government for the “Invest Karnataka” summit. It is not only participating in different road shows, but also trying to bring in investors.  The total quantum of investments will be finalised in a few days. Some of the office members of FKCCI traveled to the United States and France to attract investors,” he said.

“We have several orgainsatons in the US. N. Parthasarathi, our secretary general, was the ambassador in various countries like South Korea. Regarding the VAT problem for foreign investors like Amazon, we will interact with them. One of our management committee members is in an advisory role in the commercial tax department,” he said.

“So far, we have conducted 140 workshops on commercial tax in our own premises. In the afternoons on the first Saturday of every month, we have a helpdesk to sort out commercial tax problems.  In fact, we have been able to sort out one particular problem in the mobile sector regarding commercial tax. Like Amazon and other corporate, we are also in touch with the government; so there should be some solution,” he said.

“My message to investors is that we have a good industrial climate and nowadays they are making all the necessary clearances online. Without any human interference, there can be no bureaucracy. In our website, we have put all the details regarding lands available and investors can choose and purchase as per their priority.”

“Near Thumkar, 13,000 acres of land is being developed and some of the international companies have come and started their operations in Vasanthanarsapura. Solar power is also one of the important areas of focus for us as it has got good potential. SunEdison from the US has spoken to us,” Dwarakanath said.

‘Bengaluru is a truly cosmopolitan city’
Bengaluru: According to N. Parthasarathi, secretary general, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, any challenge is a opportunity. “People saw the power problem, so I am saying invest in the power sector.

Karnataka is a state which provides tremendous support for opportunites. At the same time, the government and bureaucrats are industry and investor friendly. Most important, I do not know if you can call any state in the country a truly cosmopolitan city. In Bengaluru, more than half the population is from outside the state,” Parthasarathi said.

“If you go back in history to 1930 when there was global recession, Vishveshwaria said either start an industry or perish. The foundation for industry was thus laid and the trend has continued till date, making Karnataka one of the most progressive states you can come across,” he said.

“Each sector provides an opportunity and it is a question of how best you can utilise it. The industry minister is someone who has got a great track record and proven capabilities. This is the first state to have a start up policy and till recently, perhaps the only state with a start up policy,” Parthasarathi said.

“Moreover, you have a Chief Minister who understands how best to take the state forward. To sum it up, Karnataka has the correct ecosystem for investors to come, invest and live happily,” he said.

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