A report prepared by JSW Group and Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) India has stated that Odisha has the potential to become a trillion-dollar economy if the state focuses on industrial infrastructure, port-led development and key financial reforms. At present, the size of Odisha’s economy is Rs 5,40,812 crore ($79 billion).
Odisha, the aluminium capital of South Asia, accounts for over 54 per cent of the country’s production and is also India’s highest producer of steel and stainless steel. It has key ports such as Paradip, Dhamra and Gopalpur. But the report, titled “Economic Possibilities for Odisha — towards a one trillion dollar economy”, also states that notwithstanding Odisha’s mineral wealth and long coastline, the state only contributes about 2 per cent of the national exports.
Under infrastructure development, the report calls for metal and downstream parks, townships, clusters by the government. Calling Odisha “a hidden gem,” the report says Odisha is uniquely poised towards taking a giant leap for growth of metal-based industries, similar to Hebei (a province in China). It calls for the development of dedicated infrastructure for high-value addition downstream sub-sectors in areas such as defence and automobile. The report calls for facilitation of slurry pipelines for ore transportation.
“The railway density (in Odisha) is among the lowest, which needs higher attention”, the report states. It calls for railway systems connecting mineral hinterlands to industrial clusters and ports.
For exports, the capacity of seaports and development of inland waterways is required. The report also calls for integrated logistics infrastructure in the interests of efficiency and cost competitiveness. The report also states that Odisha has not been able to attract many foreign direct investment-led projects, as compared to other industrial states of India. Citing data from the RBI, the report states FDI inflow into Odisha was just 0.14 per cent among key regions of India.
Under financial reforms, the report calls for technology-led financial inclusion “with a mission mode of outreach”. The report says only 34 per cent of the state’s rural areas have formal financial services i.e, 4,462 out of the 6,799-gram panchayats in the state have no access to formal banking services.
According to a tweet by the Chief Minister’s Office, Naveen Patnaik said that mineral-based industries in Odisha along with sectors like MSME, agriculture, women entrepreneurship will play important roles in making the state a one trillion dollar economy.