Bengaluru, Feb 3 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is working overtime to provide an eco-system for global investments and rapid socio-economic growth across the state to bring it back into reckoning as a frontline destination for industrial development and retaining Bengaluru as India’s tech hub.
“We are investing a lot to build support infrastructure for providing an eco-system that Bengaluru has (for the IT sector) in other cities to accelerate growth and create jobs across the state,” Siddaramaiah, 67, told IANS in an interview here ahead of the state’s global investors meet (GIM) that began here on Wednesday.
Admitting that a decade-long (2004-13) political instability dragged the state in building infrastructure to attract investments in cities other than Bengaluru, the chief minister said the state had a new industrial policy, infrastructure policy, aerospace policy, electronics hardware and a start-up policy for uniform growth and development in the four regions across the state.
The regions are old Mysore area, coastal districts, old Bombay province and Hyderabad-Karnataka area in the northern part.
“We want to replicate the success of Bengaluru in other cities and backward regions by providing the right eco-system for manufacturing, services and allied sectors with incentives and other benefits,” Siddaramaiah asserted.
Two coalition governments by Congress with Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) from May 2004 to February 2006, and JD-S with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from February 2006 to October 2007, led to early elections to the state assembly in May 2008 and formation of the first BJP government in the state.
Resignations by BJP’s first chief minister in the southern state (B.S. Yeddyurappa) in August 2011 and by his successor D.V. Sadananda Gowda in July 2012 led to the formation of three BJP governments in five years.
The ruling Congress returned to power securing majority (122 seats) in the state elections to the 225-member legislative assembly in May 2013.
“Though Karnataka was the first state in the country to hold a global investors meeting in 2000, the state had not harnessed its full potential or capitalised on investment opportunities despite having plenty of natural and human resources. We started promoting the state again over the past two years,” he reiterated.
Noting that lack of investments and absence of social infrastructure in other regions led to explosive growth of Bengaluru despite crumbling infrastructure, Sidddaramaiah said the state government had taken many steps to decongest the cosmopolitan city and expand its civic amenities to improve the quality of life.
“As the city has a talent-based eco-system for innovation and design in software products and IT services, Bengaluru has been attracting global investments and people from across the country, creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs. We are investing to create more to provide better infrastructure and restore its reputation as a vibrant garden city,” he noted.
The city’s salubrious climate, its sobriquet of being a pensioner’s paradise once and a pub capital later have led to influx of more people from outside the state and undoing of its support infrastructure, resulting in crowding, traffic snarls, increasing air and noise pollution and reckless growth.
“We are offering many infrastructure projects to the private sector under the PPP (public-private partnership) model in and around the city to build, operate and transfer them for public utility and ease of mobility,” Siddaramaiah pointed out.
Directing the departments concerned and state-run agencies to clear approvals on fast track mode and through single-window system for transparency, Siddaramaiah has demonstrated a sense of urgency to check flight of capital and retain investors for staying put and expanding their capacity or operations beyond this city.
“Besides attracting investments in three broad sectors and infrastructure, we are aggressively promoting our state as a favourite destination for domestic and international tourists and leisure travellers as we have rich flora and fauna, world famous heritage (Hampi) sites, monuments, scenic beaches, palaces, rock temples, wildlife and our tasty cuisine,” Siddaramaiah added.
(Fakir Balaji can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)