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.
Make Bengaluru liveable for youngsters: Murthy
Bengaluru, Feb 3 (IANS) Asserting that the country’s youngsters wanted to begin their career in this tech hub, Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy on Wednesday urged the Karnataka government to make the city liveable by improving its infrastructure, especially, roads, education, healthcare and commuting.
“My request to the state chief minister (Siddaramaiah) and industries minister (R.V. Deshpande) is to help us make Bengaluru more liveable for all, especially youngsters, by improving its infrastructure and quality of life,” Murthy said at the inaugural session of the global investors meet (GIM) at the Bangalore Palace grounds here.
Though the global software major hires thousands of young techies to work at its development centres in cities like Bhubaneswar, Thiruvananthapuram, Indore and Nagpur, Murthy said the reality is majority of them wanted to be in Bengaluru for its ambience, weather, cosmopolitan outlook and entrepreneurship.
“As most of our youngsters want to work in Bengaluru, the state government should make commuting easy with better connectivity, provide healthcare facilities and access to modern education for professionals and their children,” Murthy said on the occasion.
Noting that Bengaluru contributed 38 percent of the IT industry’s growth to the national GDP, the Infosys chairman emeritus said it (the contribution) translated into $35 billion, including $28 billion in exports.
“As Karnataka state has done a great job for the IT industry so far, expectations are even more from the state government. I believe if a proper environment is provided, the IT industry has potential to add great value to the state by flourishing,” Murthy said.
The outsourcing major has three development centres in the state in Bengaluru, Mysuru and Mangaluru and building a similar facility at Hubbali-Dharwad, about 400 km from here.
“We have worked so hard to convince our youngsters to start their career in extraordinary cities like Mysuru and Mangaluru as well as other cities. But they all youngsters want to be in Bengaluru,” Murthy reiterated.
Expressing gratitude to the state government for enabling his company to become what it is now ($8.7 billion revenue), Murthy said when even foreign banks refused to give its co-founders loan, state-run KSFC and KSIIDC had given Rs.50 lakh loan to invest in the company in 1986.
“When multinational banks, including Citibank and Bank of America, refused to give us a loan of Rs.50 lakh, it was the Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation (KSIIDC) and Karnataka State Finance Corporation (KSFC) which approved the loan in a week,” Murthy recalled.