Time to show potential of rest of Karnataka: Expert

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KEY STORY

  • Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who recently visited Davos, inked deals with many companies and bagged investment commitments worth Rs 65,000 crore. But entrepreneurs and CEOs have been expressing their displeasure over the basic infrastructure problems of the capital city — Bengaluru. Will this dampen the spirit of investors?
  • In an interview with The New Sunday Express, Aravind Melligeri, Chairman and CEO of Aequs, a diversified contract manufacturing company, said business activities should be spread beyond Bengaluru.
    What is the confidence level in the industry on investments coming into the state in the face of incidents of polarisation occurring across Karnataka?
    Karnataka has always maintained a positive outlook on inviting and encouraging investors. The present situation remains optimistic as the government continues to support growth through progressive policies. The state’s stance is forward-looking and its policies have led to the development of technology, R&D capabilities and an easy access to workforce, which has attracted investors. The long-term outlook remains positive. With the state promoting investments in industries such as defence and technology, Karnataka will continue to be looked at positively by investors.
    The state government announced investment proposals of Rs 65,000 crore with at least Rs 52,000 crore committed. How do you think this will spur economic activity across the state?
    The investments committed will spur and amplify economic activity while ensuring that the state maintains its position as a great place to do business. If the investments fructify, they will surely increase industrial activity. As companies set up new facilities across the state, it will give rise to the implementation of newer, advanced technologies, while R&D centres will future-proof technological growth. However, it is important that the government ensures that these investments become a reality.
    The CM says competition for investments is at a global level and not among the states. What does Karnataka need to do to stay competitive at the global level?
    Karnataka has significant human capital, both skilled and unskilled, and investor-friendly environment. It can easily compete with countries like Vietnam, which is of a similar size as that of Karnataka in terms of available human capital.
    There is a push for investments beyond Bengaluru. What needs to be done to spruce up infrastructure across the state beyond the state capital?
    The potential is definitely beyond Bengaluru. Apart from the fact that Bengaluru was reaching saturation, it is also true that there are resources in the hinterland that the industry needs to utilise. The time is now ripe to capitalise on this and showcase the capabilities that the rest of the state rightly possesses. The mission to go beyond Bengaluru and develop industrial clusters across Tier II and III cities will require huge investments, more specifically to develop infrastructure.
    What is needed to be done in Bengaluru on the infrastructure front?
    Bengaluru has reached saturation and continues to be plagued by infrastructure woes. No matter how much investment you pump in, it may not keep pace with the influx of people and development. Decongesting is the only solution. This means business activity now has to spread beyond the boundaries of the city.
    What do you think about reservation in the private sector? Do you think it should be introduced?
    Skill development centres to train any available unskilled labour that is willing to work, coupled with the creation of job opportunities in the hinterland, should take away any need for reservations.

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